Weed Control

THE IMPORTANCE OF WEED MANAGEMENT

Weeds occur in every lawn, but they seldom become a real problem in well-managed, vigorously growing lawn. Proper site preparation and grass selection before planting are essential to give a new lawn a healthy start. Once a lawn is established, poor maintenance practices that weaken it–such as improper irrigation, fertilization, or mowing—are the primary factors likely to predispose it to weed invasion. Activities that lead to compaction also contribute significantly to turfgrass stress, making it easier for weeds to invade. An smart weed management program can reduce most weed populations to tolerable levels and prevent large, unsightly weed patches. Total eradication of weeds is not a realistic or necessary goal for most lawns and park turfgrass; however, with good management practices a lawn can be practically weed-free without the use of chemicals.

WEED TYPES

Crabgrass “digitaria sanguinalis”

Crabgrass gets its name because it sprawls from a central root low across the ground. It can become a problem quickly during the summer because it is able to grow vigorously in hot, dry conditions. Before dying in the fall, a single weed can distribute thousands of seeds that will be ready to germinate the following spring.

Hand Pull – If you see crabgrass in its early stages, it is best just pull it by hand.

Mow at The Proper Height – You can discourage crabgrass by mowing at the proper height for your grass type. Higher mowing, over 4” usually at one of the top two setting on your mower, encourages lawn grasses to shade soil which helps prevent the germination of crabgrass seeds. A thick, full lawn seldom contains much crabgrass. You can also use a rake to raise it and mow closely to cut-prevent seed preparation.

Deep Water Your Lawn – Weeds are better adapted to adverse growing conditions than most lawn grasses. Shallow and infrequent watering will only weaken the roots of your grass, while allowing the crabgrass to thrive and take over. Water lawns deeply and less frequently. When you water, wet the soil to a depth of 4-6 inches. This usually requires the equivalent of ½-1 inch of rainfall.

Dandilion “Taraxacum”

Dandelions are a broadleaf perennial that can grow in any soil and are most numerous in full sunlight. In the early spring, new sprouts will emerge from the taproot, which can be 2 to 3 feet deep in the soil. They grow yellow flowers that mature and turn into white puffballs that contain seeds that spread with the wind to other lawns. Even though they disappear in the fall, the taproot survives deep in the soil to start the cycle again in the spring.

Dandilion population has a direct correlation with your soil PH. If the soil is balanced they will not flourish and dissipate over a period of years. Avenger (which is citrus oil) is a non selective USDA organic spray will kill them. Be carefull it is non-selective so it will also kill any grass area it is sprayed on.

Nimblewill

Nimblewill, Muhlenbergia schreberi, is a warm-season perennial grass, which forms dense mats one or more feet in diameter in sun or shade. Patches look fuzzy, somewhat like a scouring pad, with a dull, blue-green tinge making them quite noticeable against the greener lawn grasses. Its stoloniferous growth pattern makes it resemble creeping bentgrass and Bermuda grass. Because it is a warm-season grass, patches of nimblewill appear as brown, dead spots early in the year and can be confused with actual dead spots.

We reccomend using an organic herbicide as a total kill in the late summer then renovating the patches with seed and compost to deal with Nimblewill.

Nutsedge

Although nutsedges resemble grasses and often are referred to as “nutgrass,” they aren’t grasses but are true sedges. Their leaves are thicker and stiffer than most grasses and are arranged in sets of three at their base; grass leaves grow across from each other in sets of two. Nutsedge stems are solid, and in cross section they are triangular; grass stems are hollow and round, and in cross section they are almost flat or oval.

Nutsedges are a problem in lawns because they grow faster, have a more upright growth habit, and are a lighter green color than most grass species, resulting in a nonuniform turf. In gardens and landscapes, nutsedges will emerge through bark or rock mulches in shrub plantings and vegetable and flower beds throughout the growing season.

Tubers are key to nutsedge survival. If you can limit production of tubers, you’ll eventually control the nutsedge itself. To limit tuber production, remove small nutsedge plants before they have 5 to 6 leaves; in summer this is about every 2 to 3 weeks. Up to this stage, the plant hasn’t formed new tubers yet. Removing as much of the plant as possible will force the tuber to produce a new plant, drawing its energy reserves from tuber production to the production of new leaves.

Continually removing shoots eventually depletes the energy reserves in the tuber, because the nutsedge will have to use 60% of its reserves to develop the first plant and 20% for the second. However, mature tubers can resprout more than 3 times. Even though these newer sprouts start out weaker than the previous ones, plants can develop from them and produce new tubers unless you remove them.

The best way to remove small plants is to pull them up by hand or to hand hoe. If you hoe, be sure to dig down at least 8 to 14 inches to remove the entire plant. Using a tiller to destroy mature plants only will spread the infestation, because it will move the tubers around in the soil. However, repeated tillings of small areas before the plants have 6 leaves will reduce populations. If you find nutsedge in small patches in your turf, dig out the patch down to at least 8 inches deep, refill, and then seed or sod the patch.

Plantain

Plantain, one of the most widespread “weeds” in the world, is a first-choice remedy for many skin ailments. This weed is a messenger and your lawns friend. Plantain generally grows where soil is compacted from foot traffic,construction etc. It has a carrot like root system that penetrates compacted soil. This creates drainage and leaves behind organic matter in the fall when the plant dies its carrot root becomes organic matter to be broken down by Microbes and turned into food.

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