Weeds have, and will always continue to be around. It would be so nice if you could spray them once no longer have a problem, but unfortunately, due to their nature you are always going to get more. However, on the bright side, in addition to spraying weeds there are some natural weed-management techniques you can utilize to keep the weeds to a minimum.
Natural Weed Control
One of the little known secrets to homeowners is that if you mow your lawn to a height of 3 to 4 inches, it will help reduce the number of weeds you have each year. The taller blades of grass shade the weed seeds and help prevent them from germinating and making an unwanted appearance in your lawn. This technique is a natural form of weed control and can help reduce the need for chemical use on your lawn.
Another tip that will help is how you trim the edges of your lawn. Most homeowners and professional mowing companies will trim the edges of the lawn at a 45 degree angle which causes what is known as scalping of the lawn. This allows more direct sunlight to penetrate the soil providing weed seeds the ability to germinate and grow. To combat this problem, either you or the mowers need to turn the trimmer so it spins like a wheel and you trim the edges at a 90 degree cut. This is known as hard edging and reduces the soil exposure and thus reduces weed growth.
For some weeds, like crabgrass and other annual weeds, a preventive is needed so you can keep these weeds from ever coming up. This application is called a pre-emergent. It can be applied either as a liquid or as a granular form, but the idea is when watered down to the soil level it will create a barrier that keeps the weed seeds from sprouting and growing, thus helping your lawn be weed free. Other weeds are known as perennials; these come back year after year and you have to take a different approach to control them. When the weed has germinated and is in its youngest stages you apply weed control to kill the weeds. Trying to pull the weed can risk leaving a part of the root in the ground and that weed is going to come back, so it is best to spray and wait at least 14 to 21 days for the weed to start dying. You’ll know it is dying if you see browning of the leaf edges and the plant looks like it has just gone crazy growing. If your lawn has been sprayed by professionals and you see the dandelions grow and the stems look like they are now in seed mode, don’t worry. The weed control that is used is a growth regulator and causes the plant to grow itself to death. It makes the plant think that it needs to go to seed, but these seeds are sterile and will not cause any new weeds to grow.
Weeds Management Outside of Your Lawn
We have been talking mainly about weeds in the lawn, but let’s consider weed management as a whole. You have your lawn, flowerbeds, driveways and sideways, and even the alleyway behind your property and along fence lines. All of these areas of your property need to be considered when addressing weed management. Driveways and sidewalks get weeds in the cracks and cause unsightliness and tripping hazards. Weeds in your alley have to be kept down or dead per city ordinances. Flowerbeds can have the grass from the lawn creep into them and depending on what you have planted in your flowerbed they can creep into your lawn. Fence edging can have your neighbors’ weeds growing into you lawn, especially Canadian Thistle. Canadian thistle spreads when the roots grow. They add a new plate, rise up and then it just spreads and spreads.
To combat flowerbed weeds you can install barriers that will help keep plants where you want them. Alleys and dirt or gravel driveways can have sterilants or pre-emergents sprayed to stop weeds from germinating. Spraying a bare ground in the cracks of you driveway and sidewalks can get rid of these weeds. Finally, placing weed barrier walls along property edges can stop your neighbors weed problem from becoming yours.
Whether you choose to employ natural forms of weed control, treat with a chemical, or use a little of both, hopefully these tips have helped. By keeping your lawn healthy and applying the right chemicals at the correct time you can keep your lawn basically weed free year round.