Weeds are the bane of every home owner with a lawn. Having weeds on your lawn is also an indication that the lawn is an unhealthy one. There are numerous kinds of lawn weeds and identifying them correctly is the first step towards a weed-free lawn. Many people wrongly assume that the use of synthetic herbicides and use of chemical weed killers are the only way of tackling weeds. This could not be any further from the truth. In fact, use of chemical substances can end up doing more harm to your lawn than the weeds themselves.
Growing a lush lawn is the best countermeasure to weeds because it is when the lawn has bare patches that weeds find space to grow. Weeds can also be classified as annuals and perennials. The latter are more difficult to control as they can live for several years and spread both by seed as well as underground. Most states in the country have a noxious weed control board which can help with weed problems as well as other gardening and yard related matters.
In some states, regulations mandate that some particular weeds be eradicated completely. For instance, in Washington state non-native species of weeds classified under Class A must be done away with completely. There are some simple ways of keeping weeds at bay and you can do this on your own with ease.
Every grass species has a recommended range of mowing height. Sticking to this is absolutely necessary to thwart the growth of weeds. Mowing too low can weaken the turf.
1.When and How to Fertilize?
The amount of fertilizer used should be just right since too little fertilizer can lead to bare patches on the lawn which then helps the weeds thrive. Too much fertilizer can, in fact, help the growth of certain weeds like Bermuda grass and crab grass. Controlled release fertilizers are the best option as they will continue to provide slow, steady nutrition. The frequency of fertilization will depend on the region where you reside. For instance, lawns in the northern region of the country need only one or at the most two fertilizations annually. However, for lawns in the southern regions fertilization may have to be at least three times each year.
2.How Much Water?
The same rules as fertilization apply when watering too—too much or too little can prove conducive to weed growth. The recommended amount of water for lawns is about one inch every week.
3.Mowing and Weeding
Every grass species has a recommended range of mowing height. Sticking to this is absolutely necessary to thwart the growth of weeds. Mowing too low can weaken the turf. It also lets in light which in turn can help crab grass seed to sprout. Hence, keeping the mower at a high setting during summer is a must. If your lawn already has a few weeds sprouting, pulling them out by hand is the best way to get rid of them. Pulling out weeds when they are very young can prove extremely effective in weed control. Weeding is best done when the soil is wet because during this time minimum effort is needed and it is easier to pull out all the roots as well.
Mulching helps to keep the soil cool and moist, especially organic mulch which can promote the growth of friendly insects that are detrimental to weeds. Laying down mulch helps smother the weeds and prevents daylight from helping them germinate. Mulch may have to be replenished often to ensure that it stays deep enough.
5.Using Landscape Fabric
Yet another option is using landscape fabric all over the lawn. The advantage is that this lets air, water, and nutrients penetrate the soil while blocking weed growth. It also acts as a barrier to air borne seeds. The black shiny side has to be installed face up and may also have to be weighed down to prevent it from flying in the wind. Landscape fabric pins, also known as garden staples, can be used to hold the fabric in place. Mulch can be laid on top of this and it will also help increase the lifespan of the fabric.
One of these solutions or a combination of two or more of these will help you deal effectively with the weed menace. Whichever method you adopt, you will need to be persistent in its implementation for long-lasting results and a lush green lawn at all times and throughout the year.