Most lawn owners dream of a perfect lush green lawn that is even in appearance and weed free. The reality however is that our lawn will have a variety of weeds that will distract from the green even surface that we want to look at and enjoy.
We want to control weeds because they are unsightly and will compete with our desirable grasses for light, water, space and nutrients needed to thrive.
Weeds are inevitable – It’s how you control them that matters here. It takes time and effort to address weed problems in your lawn and hard surfaces around your garden.
As a professional lawn care company we visit thousands of lawns and one of the most common issues we hear about is from DIY lawn care enthusiasts who are constantly battling with the weeds in their lawns. Weed control isn’t as simple as most people assume but a great lawn care company will know what to do to kill these nuisance plants so you can have a great looking weed free lawn.
If you have attempted weed control yourself only to have poor results, you will know that it is not as easy as going to your local DIY garden centre, buying weed killers and spraying them on your lawn. Weeds are pretty tough to get rid of and there are various conditions to take into consideration when treating weeds in your lawn.
We want to give you some great advice and tips on Weed Control for your lawn.
1. SAFETY FIRST
It is important to read the product label and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and guidelines before you make your choice and start to apply any herbicide. Chemical Herbicides sold to the general public can be harmful to children, pets and the environment – IT IS IMPORTANT to use any chemicals responsibly.
By reading the instructions before you purchase any weed control product you can also be sure that you are not buying more than you need also bear in mind that many chemicals have a short shelf life.
It is advisable to protective clothing when applying herbicides, these are not always necessary but are a good precaution. If you are using containers for the application of herbicides make sure that you follow the correct disposal instructions.
2. CHOOSING THE RIGHT TYPE OF WEED CONTROL
Once you have made the decision to control weeds you must consider whether you want to use Non-chemical means or Chemical options.
Non chemical : You can dig out weeds such as the daisy, dandelion and plaintains, or try other lawn care treatments, such as Aerating and Scarifying which will encourage your lawn’s grass to be more vigorous and make it more difficult for weeds to thrive. Spiking your lawn will help reduce compaction and followed by a turf dressing (a combination of sand and compost) will benefit your lawn and give the grass a boost.
You may need to apply a Chemical lawn weed killer (Herbicides) if you are faced with many weeds in your lawn especially if they prove to be stubborn and impossible to remove by hand. Check the label on any weed killer to find out if it is appropriate to work on the identified weeds in your lawn. Not one Weed killer is effective for all Weeds!
Herbicides are chemicals that kill or alter the normal growth of weeds. These generally come in two types : Selective and Nonselective herbicide control.
Selective herbicides are those that will control the target weeds without damaging any desirable grass species. Nonselective herbicides will kill all vegetation, including any desirable grass species. This type of herbicide is used for lawn renovation or any on weeds not controlled by selective herbicides.
There are no single commercial herbicides that will provide control of all types of weeds. Some herbicides that are effective in controlling Broadleaf weeds will not, or only provide poor control for Grassy Weeds. Your Lawnscience Professional can advise you on the most effective, controlled and safe way to deal with the weed problem in your lawn.
3. EQUIPMENT USED TO APPLY WEED KILLERS
Herbicide weed killers can be applied using a variety of equipment. Most often this will be in a liquid form.
Liquid weed killers will be applied using a watering can or sprayer. When applying with a sprayer make sure that it has a clean nozzle and operates freely so it can emit the same volume of spray. If one of the nozzles is applying more or less product it could lead to stripes in the lawn with too little or too much herbicide and not work effectively
A Granular weed killer can be applied using a spreader or applied by hand – Use Caution here though and wear protective gloves.
When using a granular herbicide applicator it is important to make the application as uniform as possible. Whether it is a liquid or granular herbicide, it is important not to allow too much product to be applied as it could affect your desirable grasses and too little will result in poor weed control.
It is important to read the product label and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and guidelines before you make your choice and start to apply any herbicide
Spray weeds when they are actively growing but make sure the weather conditions are right. If you spray in very hot, dry or very cold weather they weed control will not work.
Herbicides are translocated throughout the weed plant. You will be able to see how effective your weed control is in the growing season as the weeds will begin to curl up after a weed control application.
For weeds that have tiny hairs, a waxy coating and very small leaves, you will want to apply a weed control spreader or sticker for this type of weed.
4. WEED CONTROL AT THE RIGHT TIME
Be careful not to apply lawn weed killer on your entire lawn in early Spring as there will be a variety of weeds that will not surface until later in the year. It may be necessary to spot treat with a weed killer or remove by hand. You may need to repeat an application of weed killer but this must be done prior to cold weather.
Here are some further tips on when to apply Weed Control on your lawn
• For optimum results cut your lawn at least 3 days before applying and then don’t cut again for at least another 3 days after application. This allows large leafed weeds good coverage of the treatment and allows the chemical to travel through the plant for an effective result
• Liquid weed killers should only be applied when there is no rain forecasted – at least 6 hours. Any rainfall will wash the chemical off the leaf area and reduce the effectiveness of the product used
• Granular products may require some rain or a watering in after the application – Check the label for advice
• Killing weeds in Autumn is easier than killing ‘winter hardened’ weeds in spring
• Only apply weed control when moisture is available in the soil. You can harm the grass in drought conditions. Avoid strong sunshine.
• Apply in calm weather as strong wind will blow the product away from the targeted areas
• Avoid frost or freezing conditions
Read the product’s label to make sure repeat treatments are allowed
5. MAINTAINING WEED CONTROL THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
Depending upon what weeds you are targeting in your lawn, you may want to use different herbicides with different formulations and active ingredients throughout the year. This can help with the resistance of herbicides and also provide you with more options so they can be applied during specific weather conditions.
A regular Lawn Care Treatment Programme which will be tailor made for you and your lawn will quickly improve the quality of your lawn and eradicate any weed growth. A great lawn care company will offer different Treatment Programmes for you and will often consist of 5 Treatments spread throughout the year. These Programmes will ensure that preventative as well as curative treatments are part of the maintenance and caring of your lawn.
6. LOOKING AFTER YOUR LAWN’S SOIL
When we think about looking after our lawns we tend to think of mowing, fertilising and watering, and the soil beneath our lawn sometimes gets forgotten. It’s within the soil that many of the vital chemical processes that provide nourishment for the grass plant actually happen.
Weeds love to grow in compacted soil with low fertility, and low soil pH. If you are unsure what your soil’s condition is, you can take a soil test and make any amendments needed to adjust fertility and pH. Contact your lawn care company if you want help, they can visit your lawn, inspect the condition of your lawn and carry out any tests needed. Have a Core
Aeration on your lawn once or twice a year. This will relieve any soil compaction your lawn has and will be a great benefit to your lawn by helping it grow into a healthy lawn with a strong root system – Weeds will not like this at all!
A regular Fertilisation treatment for your lawn’s soil will provide the nutrients and elements that are required to promote the healthy growth of grass plants. Together with a regular Aeration you will see great results. See more about Lawn Fertilisation and Aeration here.
7. THICKEN UP AND STRENGTHEN YOUR LAWN’S GRASS
It is a fact, the thicker and healthier your grass lawn the less problems it will have with weeds. Strong healthy grass will be too much competition for weeds as the grass will smother and crowd the weeds. A great way to improve the condition of your lawn is to regularly apply a Top Dressing, this will improve your lawn’s root zone
We know that getting a lush green, healthy and weed free lawn takes effort and time. If you need help achieving your dream lawn we can help with any questions you have on any of the tips above and we have a number of lawn care treatment programmes that we can discuss with you, to make sure your lawn looks its best all year round. Contact your local Lawnscience Professional for more information.