Wondering how to get rid of a lawn full of weeds? If you're tired of fighting weeds year after year, I've got you covered. Try these weed-removal tips. How to Restore a Lawn Full of Weeds If your lawn is patchy and full of weeds, it will never be the envy of the neighborhood. What you’re after is a lush, green lawn with even grass and no If you've been thinking, "My lawn is all weeds!", try the best way to get rid of weeds permanently. We'll share tips on how to kill them in the lawn without killing the grass and how to get rid of them naturally.
How to Get Rid of a Lawn Full of Weeds
Having a bright green beautiful lawn is something many people strive for, but weeds can quickly turn a beautiful green lawn into an uneven, ugly field. If you’re wondering how to get rid of a lawn full of weeds, I’ll cover your options in this article.
There are many ways to control weeds in order to keep your lawn looking nice and fresh.
Some methods involve stopping pests from feeding on your healthy grass, while others use fertilizer, natural techniques or chemicals to control weeds.
Learning how to identify which type of weed you will need to deal with, and what problem your lawn has is the first step to obliterating weeds from your lawn entirely.
Common Types of Lawn Weeds
Just to have a bit of background knowledge, it is good to be able to identify the three main weed types, Broadleaf, Grassy and Grass-type.
Broadleaf have big flat leaves that do not look like grass or needles.
One famous broadleaf weed would be a dandelion, but black medic is another broadleaf weed you may encounter as well.
Grassy weeds can be deceiving because of their similar look to actual grass.
They grow in the same manner as grass as well.
Foxtails and crabgrass are two common types of grassy weeds.
Finally there are grass-like weeds which, again, are similar to real grass and grassy weeds as well.
The difference between grass-like and grassy weeds are that grass-like weeds can look more like a tube, and are not flat.
Wild onion and wild garlic are two well known grass-like weeds.
How to Get Rid of a Lawn Full of Weeds: Important Questions
Chemical or Natural Treatments?
The automatic choice for many people when trying to kill weeds is to grab some chemical weed killer and pour it all over the lawn.
The bad part about this is that you are spraying chemicals in the ground, the water, and the air.
This is dangerous not only for the ground, but also for pets and people!
Eventually this can also create a weak environment for the lawn to thrive, and you may kill the grass you want in addition to killing the weeds you don’t want in your lawn.
The Impact of a Healthy Lawn
A healthy lawn begets a healthy lawn, and the more time you put into creating an environment in your yard where grass is able to thrive, the fewer problems you’ll have with lawn weeds.
A very thick well maintained lawn will leave no gaps in the canopy where weeds can take root.
When the grass is thick, it will take in all of the sunlight and nutrients, which will block the weeds from thriving.
If you are environmentally conscious and care about the health of yourself and pets, not using chemicals is usually the better option, but I’ll cover both choices here so you can make the best choice for your family and your lawn.
Lawn Weed Removal & Maintenance
If your weed problem is either just getting started, or you recently cleared out all the weeds and have a few coming back, it is important to maintain the weeds as they first come up.
Keeping your lawn well-watered, properly fertilized, and at a proper length are all ways to keep weeds at bay.
Specifically for dandelions, it is important to keep an eye out and pull them out before they seed.
These weeds famously will show you they are in their seeding period when their yellow flower changes into 15,000 seeds in a pouf on top.
Make sure to pull the plant out by the root and remove all root pieces from the grown if possible.
Pro-Active Lawn Care & Maintenance
Lawn maintenance is an important part of getting rid of weeds.
Mowing your grass is something that many think is a good preventative measure of weeds, but it can actually allow the weeds to have somewhere to obtain sunlight and grow even more.
Mowing and allowing grass to grow 2-4 inches is a good general guideline.
Fertilizing is also important, but over-fertilization can be a lawn killer and weed promoter.
Fertilizing definitely depends “on your lawn type, as well as the length of your growing season”(thisoldhouse.com).
Most lawns shouldn’t need more than two applications of fertilizer each year.
Make sure to do research on your soil type and area that you live in.
Too much fertilizer will create a space for weeds to thrive, while not enough will not allow your lawn to grow strong enough to keep them out.
Natural Methods for Weed Removal in Your Lawn
Many people nowadays are looking to natural methods to cure weed issues rather than using chemicals.
There is a natural remedy made with vinegar, salt and regular dishwashing liquid.
Vinegar has been known to be a natural weed killer by killing the plant above ground.
It needs to be a strong vinegar, at least 10-20% acetic acid. Place this into a spray bottle.
Next, take any regular dishwashing liquid and place a few drops into the vinegar.
This acts as a way to break up the vinegar so it can be absorbed more easily.
This should be placed directly onto weeds in areas that you would like the soil to remain usable even after removing these weeds.
If there is an area in which you would like to kill everything no matter what the case, then take a slightly different approach.
You should take a gallon of the same vinegar, and place in 2 cups of table salt or any other type of salt that can be bought at any grocery store.
Mix extremely well and add about a teaspoon or a few drops of the same dishwashing liquid.
Either pour or spray this onto the area of weeds and plants you would like to kill, and you should never have any issues with weeds growing here ever again as the salt will essentially “sterilize” the soil.
Herbicides for Weed Removal in Lawns
If your entire lawn is completely overtaken with weeds and nothing has seemed to work in terms of pulling up weeds, fertilizing, keeping the grass at 2-4 inches, and watering properly, the final resort is herbicides.
Beware of roundup, as it is not only toxic to other plants, but extremely toxic for humans and pets.
According to thisoldhouse.com, “Some herbicides work only within a certain temperature range; others work only when applied at a specific time of year.”
So always make sure to always follow the instructions carefully, and confirm that the grass you are growing can grow well utilizing that particular herbicide.
Excellent Video Demonstration of Mixing and Using the Herbicide Tenacity
Amazon Links to The Herbicides Mentioned in This Video:
Weed Killer Recipe in the Video:
- 2 Gallons of Water in 2 Gallon Pump Sprayer
- 1 Teaspoon of Tenacity
- 3 Teaspoons of Surfactant
- 4 Teaspoons of Blue Dye
Everyone wants to have a nice lawn.
Even though it might feel like we are watering, mowing and fertilizing properly, sometimes we have to take another look to see if we are doing it according to what type of soil, grass and environment our lawn lives in.
Weed problems can be exhausting and can feel extremely frustrating but with a bit of work, and a lot of love, weed issues will be a problem of the past.
If this article has helped you learn how to get rid of a lawn full of weeds (or if you still have questions) let me know by leaving a comment.
How to Restore a Lawn Full of Weeds
If your lawn is patchy and full of weeds, it will never be the envy of the neighborhood. What you’re after is a lush, green lawn with even grass and no dandelions poking their way through. That may sound hard to achieve, but it isn’t too difficult if you follow these steps.
If you only have a few pesky weeds punctuating your lawn, you may be able to dig them up by hand—paying careful attention to make sure you get them roots and all. But if your lawn is overrun with weeds, you may need to start from scratch. Here’s our how-to guide on restoring a lawn full of weeds.
Once your lawn is nice and green, we recommend hiring a professional lawn care company to help you maintain it to keep it weed-free. Our top recommendation goes to industry leader TruGreen.
Restoring a Lawn Full of Weeds in 10 Steps
Step 1: Identify the Weeds You Have
In order to make a successful game plan, you’ll need to know just what kind of weeds you’re dealing with. Weed treatments are designed to target specific weeds, so what may work on your broadleaf weeds may leave your grass-like weeds A-OK.
Weeds come in multiple categories, either broadleaf, grass-like, or grassy.
- Appearance: Broad, flat leaves
- Common types: Clover, ground ivy, dandelions, chickweed
- Appearance: Similar to grass, with hollow leaves in a triangular or tube shape
- Common types: Nutsedge, wild garlic, wild onion
- Appearance: Resembles grass, grows one leaf at a time
- Common types: Foxtail, annual bluegrass, quackgrass, crabgrass
Weeds can be broken down further into categories based on their life cycle—annual, biennial, or perennial.
- Annual: Produces seeds during one season only
- Biennial: Produces seeds during two back-to-back seasons
- Perennial: Produces seeds over many seasons
Step 2: Select a Proper Herbicide
Next, it’s time to select the proper weed treatment based on both weed classification and the stage in their life cycle. Pre-emergent herbicides tackle weed issues before they spring up. Post-emergent herbicides target established weeds.
Keep in mind that herbicides can kill whatever plant life they come into contact with—even if the label says otherwise—so handle with care. If your aim is to re-establish your lawn, as we recommend, killing your existing, thinning grass isn’t a big deal, since you will need to start fresh anyway.
Step 3: Apply the Treatment
For this step, it’s crucial that you follow the directions to the letter. Make sure you apply the proper product at the proper time. It’s a good idea to check out the forecast beforehand, since you don’t want any storms to wash away your herbicide.
*First application. See quote for terms and conditions.
Step 4: Wait It Out
How soon you can plant seed depends on the type of weed treatment you choose. Pre-emergent herbicides will prevent grass seeds from growing just as much as weed seeds, so it would be no good to sow seeds immediately after.
Depending on the type of weed treatment you choose, you may need to wait for up to four weeks. You can ask your local garden center for information about when it’s safe to plant.
Step 5: Rake and Till
Once the weeds—and grass, if applicable—turn brown, it’s time to bust out your rake. Rake up as much of the weeds as you can. Use your tilling fork to pull any extra weeds out and till the soil to prepare it for your amendments and seed.
Step 6: Dethatch and Aerate
Aerating your lawn can help break up thatch, the layer of decomposing organic matter between your lawn’s soil and grass blades. Thatch can be beneficial, since it can make your lawn more resilient and provide insulation from extreme temperatures and changes in soil moisture. But if it gets over a half-inch in thickness, it can cause root damage, including root rot.
Your raking and tilling from the previous step can help with dethatching, but you can also use a dethatching rake if the layer is too excessive.
Aeration improves your grassroots’ access to air, nutrients, and water. Use a spike or core aerator to break up the soil. If you use a core aerator, be sure to make two to three passes in different directions. Allow the plugs of soil you remove to decompose on top of your soil layer rather than remove them.
Step 7: Amend the Soil
Now, you can apply your soil amendment to ready your soil for the grass seed or sod.
Step 8: Lay Down Seed or Sod
You have a choice ahead of you. Do you want to lay down seed or sod? There are pros and cons to each.
- Pros: Less expensive, more variety
- Cons: Takes longer to germinate, can only lay at certain times of year depending on grass type
- Pros: Instant grass, can lay any time of year, requires little maintenance
- Cons: More costly, less variety in grass can mean less healthy lawn overall
To prepare the soil after either method, make sure you till it down to roughly 6 to 8 inches.
First, you need to choose the right type of seed for your lawn. That will depend on the region you live in—one that needs cool-season grasses, warm-season grasses, or a transition zone that allows more flexibility. After you determine which category you need, you can select specific grasses that may have attributes you’re after, like heat- or drought-resistance.
To seed your lawn, lay down approximately 1 inch of topsoil, then use a spreader to apply the seed to the soil.
We recommend using two different types of spreaders. For the majority of the work, you should use a broadcast spreader because they distribute seed evenly, allowing for thorough coverage. But you’ll want to use a drop spreader around the edges of garden beds to make sure you don’t inadvertently drop seed into them.
Always set the spreader to half the recommended drop rate and spread the seed in one direction, then one or two more in different directions to make sure the coverage is nice and even. You don’t want your lawn to have weird patterns or stripes.
Applying the right amount of seed is key. As a general rule of thumb, apply roughly 15 seeds per each square inch, then rake over the seed.
Top the seed with top dressing no greater than ¼ inch thick.
Then, it’s time to add starter fertilizer. Your best bet is to use a starter fertilizer high in phosphorus. However, due to concerns about water pollution, many states prohibit the use of phosphorus in fertilizers. Some states may allow phosphorus in fertilizers for establishing new lawns. If so, you’ll find fertilizers labeled “new lawn” or “starter fertilizer.”
Step 9: Water Your Lawn
Deep, infrequent watering can help establish your lawn by allowing it to grow deep roots, which can compete against weeds. Try to water your lawn about twice a week, in the morning before the heat of the day sets in. Lawns typically need about 1.5 inches of water per week, but that could vary based on the climate you live in and the type of grass seed you chose.
Step 10: Maintain Your Lawn
Proper maintenance is critical if you want your newly established lawn to stay weed-free. Mow at either the highest or second-highest setting. Vigorous grass won’t be choked out by weeds. Fertilize your lawn as needed to help it thrive.
How to Get Rid of a Lawn Full of Weeds
All year long, we look forward to sinking our feet into lush, radiant green grass. But nobody wants stringy ivy, coarse clovers or fuzzy dandelions grazing your toes instead!
And once you’ve spotted one, you’re sure to see more! Weeds seem to keep multiplying until they’re a huge, unattractive problem.
Luckily, you can bring your lawn back to life by ridding it of weeds and boosting your turf’s health. Here’s how to get rid of weeds in your grass for good.
My lawn is all weeds. What should I do?
Taming a lawn full of weeds might feel daunting, but it’s all about keeping your turf as healthy as can be.
What’s the best way to get rid of weeds permanently?
Even though we consider weeds a nuisance, they’re plants–just like grass, flowers or shrubs! That means they’ll grow just as thick and rampant as our favorite herbs if we let them.
So, the best way to get rid of weeds is to make your lawn an environment where it’s difficult for them to thrive.
Low-mowed grass, compacted soil and water-deprived turf all encourage weeds. Reversing these problems and maintaining a healthy lawn is the best way to permanently say goodbye to weeds.
Any tricks for killing weeds in the lawn without killing grass?
Pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides are designed just for this. Both are made especially for weeds. So, the pre-emergent for crabgrass or post-emergent for dandelions were created just for those plants. They won’t hurt your lawn (if applied correctly).
If you’re looking for natural ways to kill weeds, scroll on. And if you go that route, your lawn will be just fine.
How to Get Rid of a Lawn Full of Weeds
If weeds are starting to overturn your turf, here are four steps to stop them in their tracks:
- Examine your lawn to figure out what weeds you’re dealing with. Since treatments are made to target specific weeds, you’ll need to figure out what’s plaguing your lawn before buying products.
- Choose a treatment made both for the type of weeds and the stage they’re in. If you plan to target weeds in spring before the growing season, you’ll need a pre-emergent. For established weeds, get a post-emergent.
- Kill the weeds by carefully following the directions for both how much product to apply and when to use. Read the bag at least three times before starting to be safe!
- Keep up with a proper lawn maintenance schedule to help keep your lawn weed-free.
and aerate if necessary.
- Give your turf one last short mow and fertilization treatment before winter .
- Come spring, start fresh with pre-emergent and hand pick any lingering weeds.
- Mow your lawn regularly in spring and summer, being careful not to remove more than a third of grass at a time.
Can I get rid of weeds in a lawn naturally?
Yes! But it may take more time and effort. Spraying vinegar directly on weeds is a natural way to get rid of them. It dries out the plant leaves and kills what’s above the ground.
Also, pick vinegar that contains more than the standard 5 percent acetic acid. Head to a home improvement store instead of the supermarket to find vinegar with 10 to 20 percent acetic acid.
If you spray that, you can kill 80 to 100 percent of weeds’ top growth, found USDA research.
This method works best for a few weeds spread throughout the lawn. For larger spreads, it’s best to go with a safe, effective herbicide.