How To Understand Basic Weed Management

Do you often pass by lawns in your neighborhood while driving home from work and see gorgeous lawns that have been beautifully manicured and then pull up to your yard that seems like an abyss of weeds? No that never happens to us, right? A weed is defined as a plant growing where it is not wanted. We see these quit often sometimes ask how the heck did it even get there. Well there are many different scenarios that could have happened, for example, you can visit your neighbor’s lawn that has weed seeds and track them back through your lawn which is a great place to make a home for a weed. Possibly your lawn maintenance crew forgot to clean their mower in between the last lawn they mowed and your lawn, leaving the seedlings in your lawn. Or even the birds traveling from yard to yard. Its hard to say exactly how weeds come to make a home in your lawn but we can give you some tips on how to prevent them from growing and how to get rid of the ones that are already there.


Weed Types

Before you can make a plan to escort the weeds to exile, we need to know their growth habits. There are a few different families of weeds that they can belong to and they can also live amongst each other harmoniously.

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Broadleaf weeds have wide leaves with very large noticeable veins, and often have a very elaborate flower. Broadleaves have two seed leaves when the weed seed germinates. Some examples of broadleaf weeds are dandelions, clover, oxalis, spurge, wild garlic, wild onion and plantain.


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Grassy weeds have a hollow, round stem with joints and have parallel veins in their leaves. Unlikely broadleaf weeds, grassy weeds only have one seed leaf present when seedlings emerge for the soil. Some examples are crabgrass, goosegrass, crowfootgrass, annual bluegrass, torpedograss, and so on.

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Sedges have a solid stem that is triangular shaped and favor a moist habitat. Some examples are yellow and purple nutsedge, globe sedge, Texas sedge, annual sedge, and water sedge.


Proper Mangement

Now that we have a little more understanding of different types of weeds, what do we do about them? Not all weeds grow at the same time, so it is something that needs to paid attention to year-round, not just the growing season of your lawn. Depending on the type of weed will also determine what type of product to use, either a pre-emergent (controls the weed seeds before they germinate) or a post-emergent (controls the weed plant during growth).  One of the best defense mechanisms is to ensure that you exercise proper turf management practices that encourage a healthy and dense lawn. A healthy lawn stands up tall and shades the sunlight from the soil which does not allow the seedlings to germinate since every living organism needs sunlight to live. A thick turf also chokes out the weeds that are growing and minimizes the space for the weeds to grow.

Weed Control Methods

Hand Pulling – If there are only a few weeds present, its better for the lawn and environment to pull the weeds by hand instead of using a chemical but be sure to get all the way down to the root of the weeds.

Smothering – Smothering the weeds with nonliving materials like rocks, landscape fabric, mulch, are great for excluding the sunlight that promotes growth.

Herbicides – There are very many kinds of herbicides that can be used when controlling weeds. Two kinds are systemic ( absorbed through the plants roots and carried through the plants vascular system, kind of like their bloodstream) and contact (only kill the part of the plant that it touches, often will have to use multiple applications as it does not go underground to the plants roots)

Once you have an understand of the basics of weeds like their types and growing habits it is not as hard as you thought it was to have a weed free lawn.

Cassie Caldwell