Today, we will continue our lawn care for beginners series.
We have already examined how to best water and mow the grass. We also explored how fertilizing your grass is crucial for best results. Last week we looked at sowing grass seed and today we will move on to deal with the issue of weeds.
What Are Weeds?
Source: University of Arkansas
Weeds are essentially invasive garden plants. Weeds compete directly with your grass for prime growing space. If they are not properly dealt with, weeds will keep coming back.
Any plant growing where it’s not wanted could be termed a weed.
Weeds can act as a primary pest in row crops. They will compete with row plants for everything from light and water through to nutrients and space.
Types of Weeds
Weeds can be loosely divided into 3 main categories:
- Lawn Weeds
- Woody Weeds/Perennial Weeds
Annual weeds last for 1 year or a single growing season.
The bad news is that these weeds generate lots of weed seeds for the coming years. As an indication, Fat Hen weed is one of the fastest growing annuals. It can be responsible for generating over 20,000 seeds from a single plant.
Chickweed and groundsel are also examples of annual weeds.
These weeds grow incredibly vigorously. They can choke out the plants you want by their sheer numbers.
Dandelions are simple to identify with their fluffy tops and lengthy tap roots. While dandelions can be used in food like soups for the vitamins and minerals they contain, they are a nuisance in the garden.
Daisies and plantain weeds are also examples of lawn weed.
Woody Weeds/Perennial Weeds
This type of weed has large, creeping roots and tends to return year after year.
From dock leaves and bindweed through knotweed and couch grass, woody weeds need proper attention or they can wreak havoc in the garden.
How Do You Spot Weeds?
The quality of the grass can indicate that weeds are present. If the grass it patchy or growing unevenly, this could mean that weeds are to blame. Any areas that are differently colored or have an unusual texture could be ravaged by weeds.
If you let your grass grow a little longer, you might find flowers growing in the grass. Again, this is a pointer that invasive weeds need attention.
During a drought, patches of grass afflicted by weeds might stay green. They can cope better than other plants without moisture. Pay close attention and investigate whether weeds are at fault.
Control Weeds The Easy Way
When it comes to stamping out weeds, you can choose to use chemical controls or you can dig them out by hand.
Chemical Weed Control
For weeds that have become well established, chemical attack is probably a smart move. Check carefully that the weed killer you have in mind is suitable for the
The best time to apply your weed killer is when the grass is growing nicely in spring or summer.
Make absolutely certain to follow the instructions closely.
Sprays are generally more efficient and easier to use than granules. Sprays work best for any spot treatment.
Depending on the type of weeds and weed killer, you might need several applications to eradicate the weeds for good.
Non-Chemical Weed Control
You can use non-chemical means to discourage weeds from appearing in the first place. Prevention is better than cure…
A sensible feeding regime alongside scarifying your lawn and letting the air get in can keep invasive weeds at bay.
A simple fork is great for removing dandelions, daisies and plantains.
Dig away any weeds that are resistant to weed killer during the fall. You can returf your lawn if necessary.
Raking and mowing regularly is one way to see off creeping weeds before they have chance to take hold.
Garden lime spread over acidic soil is a wonderful weed deterrent.
Excessively close mowing is sure to weaken the grass and make it prone to weeds. Check out how much length you need for the type of grass you have and mow carefully without being over enthusiastic.
Tips For Dealing With Weeds
- Mulching keeps you soil cool and moist. The beetles and crickets in organic mulch are natural predators that will see off weeds. Whether you opt for wood chips or straw, pine needles or bark, a vigorous mulching routine will work wonders
- Weeding is best done after a torrential downpour. You’ll find that young weeds are much easier to deal with. Take advantage of the rain to make your weeding task easier
- Cut off the heads of weeds as an interim measure. If you deadhead perennial weeds, they will need to use precious resources and their spread will be more limited. Any little way in which you can fight back is valuable
- Think about cutting off the supply of water to weeds. Drip irrigation is one way to achieve this
- Plant closely to prevent weeds from springing up in the first place
We hope you’ve found this lawn care for beginners series to be full of useful tips and pointers.
Enjoying a lush and well-maintained lawn is one of the real pleasures of gardening. With little effort, you can keep your grass looking healthy and performing at its best.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions or feedback you might have. We’re here to help in any way we can.