Lawn Weeds: How to Destroy and Prevent Them

There’s more to caring for a lawn than simply mowing and watering on hot summer days. If you want a beautiful lawn worthy of the finest golf course, take the necessary steps to destroy existing weeds and prevent and control new growth. You can have the beautiful weed-free lawn you’ve always wanted, and you don’t have to hire a lawn care professional.

Keep in mind that one form of weed elimination and prevention won’t eradicate and eliminate all weeds in a lawn. Various types of weeds reproduce and spread in various ways, and the ways in which weeds are destroyed and controlled depend upon their variety.

Types of Weeds

There are annual, biennial, and perennial varieties of weeds, and they are easily distinguished from well sought-after attractive lawn grass. Become familiar with types of weeds in your particular location in a better effort to destroy and prevent future growth.

Perennial weeds are the most difficult to eradicate and control since the have deep root systems that spread beneath the soil, and they also reproduce by seed. If not destroyed early they are more difficult to remove and control. When a small part of the root system survives, so does the weed. Examples of perennial broadleaf weeds include dandelion, white clover, plantain, and ivy.

Biennial weeds survive in lawns for two seasons before shedding their seeds and dying. The first season produces only foliage, and the second season generates flowers and produces seeds that continue the cycle. Examples of biennial weeds are bull thistle, wild carrot, and common mullein. These are often placed in the same category as perennial weeds because the methods of eradication are very similar.

Annual weeds spread exclusively by seed, and they live for only one season, but they can still wreak havoc on a lawn. Examples include crabgrass, knotweed, chickweed, and yellow foxtail. When not eradicated and controlled, annual weeds can take over a lawn in no time flat.

Hand Weeding

It’s best to avoid using herbicides whenever possible. Although weeding can be hard on the back, small yards may be weeded by hand if the problem isn’t completely out of control. Pulling weeds isn’t necessarily the easiest solution, but it’s the most environmentally friendly.

Dandelions should be pulled before they go to seed since they will otherwise reseed the lawn and produce many more dandelions. One dandelion alone is capable of producing thousands of seeds, and the seeds can survive for a number of years. Be sure to get the entire root when attempting to pull dandelions or it’s just a matter of time before they grow back.

When the ground is damp, either after a rain or early morning when the grass is covered with dew, remove dandelions and other difficult deep-rooted weeds with a weed fork. This handy tool is a must for gardeners and landscapers since it makes easy work out of an otherwise difficult task.

Pre-Emergence Herbicide

Pre-emergence herbicides destroy weeds before or shortly after they emerge from the soil, and they are an effective way to destroy and control specific types of weeds if applied at the proper times. Check product labels for specific area recommendations for best results.

Pre-emergence herbicides rely on moisture to draw active ingredients beneath the surface of the soil where they can work to destroy emerging weeds. If the active ingredients aren’t able to soak into the soil, the ultraviolet rays of the sun will ruin their effectiveness or they will vaporize.

If rain isn’t in the forecast within two days of applying pre-emergence herbicide, water the lawn to equal rainfall of approximately ½ inch. Place a rain gauge in the yard while watering to estimate the amount of water applied.

Post-Emergence Herbicide

If weeds have taken over your lawn, apply post-emergence herbicide in accordance to product label specifications for your particular climate and location. More than one application will be necessary to kill weeds emerging at different rates of speed.
Both liquid and granular post-emergence herbicides are available.

Granular herbicide is usually the most expensive option since it takes more to equal the amount of active ingredients in liquid products. Granular products are however the easiest to apply. Read product labels to choose the best product to destroy weeds in your lawn.

Weed & Feed

Weed and feed, as the name implies, performs double duty. It not only kills weeds, but it also provides valuable nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to make the lawn healthy and green. Weed and feed products are available in pre-emergence and post-emergence varieties.

Timing is everything when applying weed and feed. If it’s applied too late or too early, valuable time and money are wasted because it won’t be effective. Always consult product label instructions for specific directions and indications on applying weed and feed in your particular location.

Natural Weed Prevention

The most effective and environmentally friendly way to prevent weeds from returning is by maintaining a healthy lawn. Bare spots are in invitation for weeds to move in and take over, so eliminate bare patches before weeds arrive.

In addition to eliminating bare spots, maintaining a lush lawn of the proper length is an effective way to prevent intrusive weeds that will compete for water and essential nutrients. If annual and biennial weeds are mowed before producing seeds, they won’t be able to multiply.

Although regular mowing will keep weeds at bay, don’t make the mistake of cutting the grass too short. Set the mower blade at the higher end of the level recommended for your particular location. Weeds will be choked out, and most will be cut before they have a chance to germinate and spread.

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