VIDEO: How to Kill Weeds in Your Lawn: Pro Tips for Central & Southern Maryland
Of all the things that can be problematic to Central and Southern Maryland lawns, weeds have got to be the worst.
A weed shows up in your lawn almost without warning as enemy No. 1. It can be tall and spiny and strange-looking, so it naturally stands out in the wrong way. And, what’s worse, many weeds travel in clumps with their friends so they seem to almost double and triple overnight. In fact, thousands of weed seeds can survive in the soil for years before they germinate and grow.
While anyone can handle a little problem here or there, weeds are instantly repulsive. And your first thought is always, “How Can I Kill These Weeds in My Lawn!?”
However, every weed is unique and some are best controlled before they emerge, while others are best controlled after. And yet others will stay at bay if you focus on boosting the lawn’s overall health. Plus, there are new products coming out all the time that can help with the troublesome weeds that do break through.
And that’s where these pro tips will come in most handy when it comes to getting rid of weeds in your lawn.
Get Rid of Weeds: Know What Kind of Weed You’re Dealing With
Weeds are advantageous. They like to pop up whenever they get the chance. You don’t want those weeds emerging throughout the growing season, taking away from the overall beauty and enjoyment of your lawn.
Understanding how to kill weeds in lawns means knowing which weeds are able to be controlled before they emerge and which weeds need a different approach.
Different Weed Types, Different Strategies
Some Central and Southern Maryland weeds are annual, while others are perennial. And there are different groups of weeds in those two categories that germinate at different times of the year. Some weed control strategies can even be applied to multiple types of weeds from different categories.
Grassy summer annual weeds like crabgrass germinate in early to mid-spring when soil temperatures reach 55 degrees, typically mid-March. These weeds continue to germinate all summer and then die out with the first frost. Grassy winter annual weeds like annual bluegrass germinate in late summer to early September. Killing grassy annual weeds means promoting a healthy lawn and using pre-emergent herbicides at the right times of year, depending on the weed.
As opposed to annual weeds, perennial weeds come back each year. Getting rid of some of these weed types can be more difficult. such as grassy perennial weeds like killinga and nutsedge.
Broadleaf perennial weeds like dandelion and clover germinate in spring and summer and are not controlled by pre-emergent herbicides. They favor lawns that don’t receive regular or adequate fertilization.
How to Kill Grassy Weeds in Lawns
Crabgrass, goosegrass and yellow foxtail are grassy weeds that are on the most wanted list for being troublesome in Central and Southern Maryland. You definitely want to get rid of these weeds.
Crabgrass is the monster of all lawn weeds. It takes extreme advantage of thin or stressed lawns where it can wiggle its way in and then flourish. Lawns without enough water, adequate nutrition or drainage are prime targets.
And once crabgrass gets in, it becomes aggressive. When thick crabgrass patches form, they choke out desirable grass. Then when crabgrass dies out, it leaves thin, bare areas that just fill in with more weeds later on. Each plant can actually produce over 75,000 seeds, so the problem can continue to escalate year after year.
Goosegrass is a summer annual weed that grows well in compacted and poorly draining soil and looks a lot like crabgrass. In fact, these two weeds are often mistaken for one another. Goosegrass usually pops up in areas of the lawn that have been mowed too short. This weed also prefers compacted soil, so aeration could help get rid of this weed.
Foxtail is smaller than crabgrass and goosegrass and can be found in both moist and dry soils. Its wide, flat leaves also look a bit like crabgrass until its seed heads form in the summer.
All three of these grassy summer annual weeds germinate in spring and summer and are killed by autumn’s frost. As they grow, they produce seed heads, which result in next year’s weeds.
Get rid of these weeds with pre-emergent weed control. These grassy weeds are aggressive, so stopping as many of them as possible before they start is your best defense.
First, create a thick, healthy lawn that these weed seeds can’t get through. Proper fertilization, mowing and overseeding will produce a lawn that is less susceptible to weed infestations.
To prevent these weed seeds from germinating, pre-emergent herbicides are most effective when they are applied in the spring.
Then there is that other category of weeds known as grassy perennial weeds–ones that have similarities to grassy annual weeds but come back every year, so getting rid of these weeds is important.
For a coarse-bladed, thicker grass that’s a prolific seeder like crabgrass but doesn’t spread out as much, meet dallisgrass. It grows in clumps and sticks out in a lawn because of its bunchy appearance. It tends to be a very deep-rooted weed.
Then comes nutsedge, a grassy perennial weed that sprouts in groups of three. It grows in dry soils and shoots up fast, so you’ll notice it sticking up higher than your lawn. Within three to four days, it can be several inches taller than good grass. Nutsedge likes wet soil.
A healthy lawn is your best defense against these grassy perennial weeds, and that includes soil testing to check soil fertility, proper mowing height and frequency, fertilizing at the recommended times and fall overseeding to thicken up the lawn. When these grassy perennial weeds do emerge, post-emergent weed controls can help.
How to Kill Broadleaf Weeds in Lawns
There are a variety of weeds in the broadleaf weed category.
Some of these weeds are annual meaning they germinate and only grow through one year. However, they produce many seeds, multiplying weeds in the next year. Certain species, like chickweed and henbit, germinate from late fall through winter. Others don’t germinate until the summer, making an unsightly mess in summer and fall. Getting rid of these lawn weeds means recognizing them in the lawn and targeting them with the proper post-emergent products. Some of these weeds may be moderately controlled with pre-emergents but most need treatment after they emerge.
Other weeds are classified as perennial weeds. Their foliage may disappear at particular times of the year but they will reappear later. Dandelion and clover are some of the weeds in this category. Some of these weeds are easier to control than others, and each has their favorite lawn conditions to flourish in. Clover, for instance, prefers lawns grown with infrequent applications of fertilizer.
In addition to encouraging a healthy lawn, getting rid of these weeds is best done with a post-emergent herbicide applied when the weed is actively growing.
How to Kill Weeds in Lawns: A Healthy Lawn is the Best Defense
Weeds are opportunistic. They spot a lawn that lacks nutrients, isn’t draining properly, is thin and stressed and they attack without hesitation.
A healthy lawn is one that is mowed to a 3- to 4-inch height, watered appropriately (not too much and not too little) and has the proper balance of nutrients through regular fertilization. Annual aeration can also help the lawn breath. Follow that up with overseeding and bare spots will disappear.
Your mission is to create an optimum environment for grass to grow over weeds. A thick, thriving lawn has the power to repel weeds.
Ready to Get Rid of Weeds?
You want a lawn care program that focuses on year-round turf health. Since nothing crowds out weed growth like thick grass, this can help you get rid of all weeds.
If you feel like you’re in an endless backyard battle against lawn weeds, then it might be time to partner with a pro. Finding a lawn care professional in Central and Southern Maryland that can deliver a customized approach to boost overall lawn health and get rid of lawn weeds can make a difference.
Your choice of the right plan for your lawn can mean sweeter summer memories for you. Now that you understand how killing weeds in your lawn works, you just need to put your plan into action.
Choosing Natural Green for complete, proactive lawn care services that include proper fertilization, as well as both pre-emergent and post-emergent treatments throughout the growing season, makes you the smartest neighbor on the block. It’s the best way to keep your lawn weed-free.
Is the constant effort to get rid of weeds keeping you from having a lawn you can be proud of? We’d love to learn more. Get started today with a free quote. Together, we’ll prepare a customized plan that leads you to the best choice for you and your lawn.
Why is a Spring Pre-Emergent So Important?
Hall | Stewart Lawn + Landscape has started applying the early Spring Pre-Emergent to lawns making sure all our clients have taken this critical step in the prevention of weeds this year.
Year-round we field a lot of questions about the best way to have a weed-free, healthy lawn. But, guess when we get most questions about weeds? You are right… after a lawn is covered with weeds – when it is hard to gain control without causing damage to the turf. The right time to have a conversation about weeds is before they germinate. Prevention of weeds is much easier and healthier than controlling them later.
Let’s cover a few key questions about weed prevention:
Why is the early spring pre-emergent so critical?
Summer annual weeds come up every year. An annual weed grows, reseeds, and dies all in one year. There are both grassy and broadleaf annual weeds. A quality pre-emergent herbicide will prevent many types of weeds.
The most aggressive annual grassy weed is crabgrass. If you had a single crabgrass plant in your lawn last year, or your neighbor’s lawn had crabgrass, or your neighbor’s neighbors had crabgrass, there is a 100% chance you will have crabgrass this summer if you DO NOT apply a pre-emergent to your lawn this spring.
A weed free lawn this summer starts with a pre-emergent application before the end of February.
Why am I so sure you will have crabgrass if you skip the early spring pre-emergent application?
A single crabgrass plant produces thousands of seeds. Because crabgrass is so prolific, even the nicest lawn in your neighborhood last summer can be full of crabgrass this summer if a pre-emergent is not applied this year.
Because crabgrass is an annual grassy weed, without a spring pre-emergent even the best lawns will have crabgrass this summer.
Because crabgrass is fast growing and spreads quickly, it can have a dominant presence in your lawn by May without a spring pre-emergent.
Mid summer lawn that did not have any pre-emergent in the spring.
What is the best timing for the first lawn care application?
With thousands of seeds lying dormant in the soil, as soon as conditions are right, germination will begin. Germination of crabgrass occurs typically in early to mid-March in central Oklahoma. The key determination is soil temperature. When soil temperatures consistently reach 55 degrees, germination occurs. Currently, soil temperatures in the Oklahoma City area are in the low 40s. Between now and early March, soil temperatures will go up and down, gradually creeping up until they reach that right temperature for summer weed germination. Lawns that receive the early spring pre-emergent application sometime between now and the end of February have the best chance of being weed-free this year.
Will one pre-emergent application per year be enough?
Crabgrass is one of the first annual weeds to germination each spring, but it does not germinate all at once. Germination of seed will continue throughout the summer. Other summer annual grassy weeds such as goosegrass, foxtail, and sandbur will germinate soon after crabgrass. Knotweed and spurge are summer annual broadleaf weeds that will germinate even later. Summer annuals germinate from mid-March through early summer. Pre-emergent herbicides will not provide coverage for the entire summer growing season. A pre-emergent works by creating a blanket over the soil to prevent seeds from germinating. Rain, irrigation, foot traffic, all combine to gradually break down the herbicide. Therefore, full summer control is only obtainable if you repeat the application again between March and early May, 6-12 weeks after the first application.
Does a pre-emergent need to be applied as a liquid or can it be spread as a granular?
Pre-emergent herbicides come in both forms and either is effective as long as the product is applied evenly creating a continuous weed barrier. Watering the product into the root zone is important. Always follow instructions left on your door anytime an application is made to your lawn.
For the do-it-yourselfer, it is important to study and follow the label. Know your grass type and make sure the product you are applying is approved for your lawn. Don’t over apply. Pre-emergent herbicides work by drying out weed seeds. Too much pre-emergent will stunt root growth and slow spring green-up. And, for the DIYer, only buy what you need per application to limit the amount of product you have left lying around the garage.
Why are pre-emergent sprays green?
Actually, they are not . Some lawn care companies add dye to their herbicide to use as a marking pattern. We are not a proponent of using a dye. Most pre-emergent herbicides have a light coloring that aids the lawn care professional in applying the product evenly to the surface. We find dyes messy; they give the natural landscape an artificial look and add an unnecessary chemical to your landscape.
Most importantly, for the best lawn in 2022, you must apply a
pre-emergent to your lawn before the end of February.
If you subscribe to a Hall | Stewart Lawn Care Program, we have started applying the early spring application and you can count on receiving your application before any chance of summer weed germination begins.
If you are not currently subscribing to a Hall | Stewart Lawn Care Program, give us a call (405)367-3873 or click here and we will provide you with a Free Professional Lawn Evaluation .