Weeds are the arch nemesis of all proud lawn owners. They are opportunistic, invasive and just plain annoying. They will compete with lawn plants for stores of water, oxygen and nutrients in the soil.
Being opportunistic in matter, weeds will take full advantage of a lawn that is in its dormant phase (during winter) and a lawn that is unhealthy and struggling. You can control weeds by maintaining a good lawn care regime of mowing, watering and fertilising which will help your lawn to be strong and healthy and therefore eliminate the opportunity for weeds to take hold and over run your lawn.
You need to deal with weeds as soon as they appear to stop the invasion, particularly during colder months when they will out-compete the grass.
When weeds appear you have a few options to choose from:
Weeds can be removed by hand, ensuring that all the roots are removed. Younger weeds will be easier to remove. This method must be undertaken before the weeds are allowed to go to seed, to stop them from spreading to another part of your lawn. While this may be the healthiest and least traumatic option for your lawn, it is a very labour intensive and time consuming exercise particularly if you are fortunate to have a large lawn.
Another option is to apply a weed control product or herbicide. Herbicides are divided into two main categories; selective and non-selective and it is imperative that you select the right one. Some non-selective herbicides can be damaging to different varieties of lawns like Buffalo grass, killing it along with the weeds. Choosing a selective herbicide requires you to first identify the type of weeds in your lawn and choosing a product that targets those types of weeds.
There are many different products available with many different active ingredients. Head to your local lawn care specialist, hardware or gardening store armed with the knowledge of the variety of lawn you have and the types of weeds present, then you will be able to get the right advice for what you are dealing with.
With all herbicides it is important to carefully read all of the attached instructions prior to use and apply only as directed. Always avoid skin contact with weed control products. The manufacturer’s instructions will also inform you of whether or not the product is safe for use ,if you have children or pets using the lawn. In some instances it may be advisable to keep them away for a period of time after application, usually 24 hours.
Weed killers are also more effective during the growing season (usually spring, summer and autumn).
Many herbicides are now available in concentrates and hose-on options, as well as granule or liquid. Choose the application you are most comfortable with to ensure the correct dosage for your lawn. Measure your lawn to make sure that you are applying the right amount.
The process for applying a weed control product:
- Fertilise your lawn a week or two before the application to encourage the weeds to grow above the level of the lawn, this makes them easier to identify and treat, remembering that weed killers are contact products.
- Don’t mow your lawn before or after the weed control application. You need to give the product time to work through the weed from the leaves to the roots.
- Water the lawn lightly before application or apply the weed killer early in the morning to take advantage of the dew present.
- Don’t water your lawn for 48 hours after application.
If you employ someone else to mow your lawn make sure that their equipment is cleaned prior to coming onto your property. Seeds of weeds can easily be introduced to your lawn by being transported from the job beforehand. Take care when bringing new turf or soil into your yard as these too may bring unwanted weeds with them.
The best weed control method is always to ensure that your lawn remains in the best possible condition all year long, giving the weeds a much lower chance of being able to move in and take over.