Weed And Seed Grass

Want to know how to get rid of lawn weeds? Rid your grass of dandelions, moss, clover and more with these tips Houzz — новый взгляд на дизайн дома. Более 21 миллиона фотографий интерьеров, предметов дизайна и свежих идей, а также профессиональные дизайнеры прямо в сети. Tall fescue, Festuca arundinacea, is a popular turfgrass grown in the mountains and upper piedmont areas of South Carolina. Weeds should be controlled…

How to get rid of lawn weeds: revamp your turf without killing the grass

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Do you need to know how to get rid of lawn weeds in your garden? After all, we all want to keep our prized patch of turf looking its best. So, knowing how to eradicate pesky intruders, without ruining the grass itself, is definitely worthwhile.

Even if your lawn ideas have been neglected and are looking worse-for-wear, there’s no reason to give up all hope for a verdant stretch of green. There are also other, more natural means to try before dousing the lot in weed killer and hoping for the best.

But why do lawns get weeds in the first place? Well, as the team at Stihl (opens in new tab) explains, weeds are caused by a wide range of factors. These include lack of water, cutting too low, compacted soil, and even by using low-quality or contaminated grass seeds. It’s worth remembering that grass needs to be healthy and strong to deter the likes of moss, clover, and dandelions, so looking after it properly will do it the world of good.

So, without further ado, find out how to get rid of lawn weeds with these simple steps. Your grass will be looking tip-top in no time.

7 tips on how to get rid of lawn weeds

1. Pick a good-quality grass seed

The first step to learning how to get rid of lawn weeds is to know the right seed mix to use

If you want to deter weeds from growing in your grass, the very first step of growing a lawn is crucial. And by that, we’re talking about the seed mix that it’s grown from.

Using a seed mix that’s full of weeds is obviously not the best start for any lawn. This is why it’s worth investing in the highest quality blend that you can afford. As the RHS (opens in new tab) says, cheaper mixes are often contaminated with weeds, or are even made up of course-textured ryegrass, which is actually meant for agricultural use.

Learn how to plant grass seed with our guide. Of course, this tip applies for when filling in bare patches too.

2. Dethatch your lawn once or twice a year

Want to know how to get rid of lawn weeds? Dethatching, or scarification, is an effective approach

The experts at Stihl say that whilst there are many chemical products available to help remove unwanted plants from lawns, many people don’t realize that using a scarifier will also keep them at bay.

This process of scarification, or dethatching, will disrupt the weeds’ growth, Stihl explains. Wait until you’ve done the first few mows of spring, and temperatures are at least 10 degrees Celsius (50°F). You can repeat the process in autumn, before the temperature drops too low.

You can do this with a scarifying rake, but go gently as not to remove too much of your turf. For larger lawns, you can try a petrol-powered tool such as the STIHL RL 540 (opens in new tab) . Its seven double-sized blades have been specially designed to gently lift out any growth-inhibiting moss, thatch and flat-growing weeds to stimulate the turf, explains Stihl.

Whichever method you choose, the perforation of the soil’s surface will also allow light, moisture and essential nutrients to be more easily absorbed by the grass roots’ network, Stihl says. This results in ‘lush, green growth and a healthier-looking lawn.’

Take a look at our guide on how to scarify a lawn to learn more.

3. Dig up weeds by hand

A small trowel will come in use for digging up weeds

Some weeds, such as dandelions, broad-leaved docks, and plantain, have long taproots. Pulling off the leaves unfortunately isn’t enough to do the job – you’ll need to dig up the full root to stop them from regrowing.

Use a small trowel to do so, and then, after removing larger weeds, level out the hole with compost before adding a sprinkling of fresh grass seed and a dose of water. You can also remove daisies and small clumps of clover by hand in this way (their shorter roots make them easier to pull up). However, for less formal gardens, you may wish to leave these flowery additions.

Remember that some weeds are more invasive than others, and can grow quickly from tiny fragments of root, to form new networks of rhizome. Couch grass is a particularly tricksy example and should be dealt with carefully. In extreme cases of couch grass infestation, a lawn may need to be stripped entirely for the weeds’ roots to be completely removed, as says the RHS. Afterwards, the area can be re-turfed.

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We have more weed control tips and tricks for your garden in our feature, as well as a Japanese knotweed guide.

4. Keep on top of mowing

Want to know how to get rid of lawn weeds? Frequent mowing, to the right length, will help

Knowing how to mow a lawn properly is a skill that most grass-owning-gardeners need to know.

One of the most important things to remember is to not cut it too short, or when it’s frosted or wet, all of which can damage the turf. But mowing it in the right conditions, to the right height, will encourage strong, healthy grass. This will be better-equipped to out-grow weeds.

If your lawn is already speckled with the likes of creeping thistle or common ragwort, then regular mowing is also a good way to get rid of them.

Be sure to add a clippings bag or box to your best lawn mower before you start mowing. That way, you’ll be less likely to spread the seeds around, which would only lead to further weed growth. Removing all the seeds and cutting back the plant again and again in this way will weaken the weeds and prevent them from setting new seeds. Eventually (patience is key to this one), your lawn will have much less weeds overall.

5. Strengthen the grass with balanced fertilizing and aeration

Establishing a healthy lawn is a crucial step for getting rid of weeds

The growth of weeds can signal a lack of nutrients in your lawn. For example, lesser trefoil and clover will thrive in poorer conditions, whereas grass will become weak. So, if you want less weeds, then it’s a good idea to give your lawn some TLC. Remove as many weeds as possible first, and then apply a healthy dose of a suitable lawn fertilizer, following the instructions on the packet. The best time to do this is generally in late spring, and then again in autumn.

However, for the best results, aerate your lawn a day or so before you fertilize it. Aerating the soil will ensure that the nutrients can make their way deep down into the roots of the grass, increasing uptake. Some people choose to overseed their lawn after aerating too, which helps to establish dense, lush growth.

Aerating is simple – just wiggle a garden fork back and forth in the ground in straight lines up and down your plot, or use a specific aerator tool. This process also helps to break up compact soil and improve drainage, which again, is good for lawn health (and helps prevent the likes of moss and knotgrass from growing).

Looking for more advice? Our spring lawn care tips feature has plenty.

6. Check your lawn’s pH

Dandelions will thrive in acidic soil

The presence of some weeds can signal that the pH in your soil needs to be addressed. For healthy lawns, aim for a level between 6.0 and 7.0.

You can buy testing kits to find out the conditions of your lawn. If the reading is way below 7.0, then chances are your soil is too acidic for your grass to flourish. What’s more, weeds such as moss and dandelions thrive on acidic soils, so it’s worth considering adding lime to your lawn to help neutralize it.

Above 7.0 and your lawn may be too alkaline, which again is not optimal for nutrient uptake. This can be rebalanced with the use of garden sulphur.

7. Use chemical measures, as a last resort

If your lawn feels completely overrun by weeds and nothing seems to be working, then you may wish to turn to herbicides as a very last resort. Such chemicals are no good for wildlife garden ideas, but can do the job quickly and effectively if used correctly. They usually fall into two categories – pre-emergent (which target germinating seeds – generally crabgrass and dandelions) and post-emergent (which target existing weeds).

Pick your weed killer very carefully, making sure to select one that is suitable for lawns. Some will kill every plant they make contact with, including your grass.

‘Selective’ herbicides will only target specific weeds, so are worth looking out for. There are also triple-action lawn treatments (opens in new tab) available, that aim to feed your lawn whilst killing moss and targeting weeds. Whichever you choose, application instructions vary so make sure you’re certain on the correct approach for your chosen product before you begin, by reading the label thoroughly.

Will vinegar kill grass or just weeds?

When thinking about getting rid of lawn weeds, you may have heard of the old trick of using vinegar. Yes, many people have success with using it to kill weeds. However, it’s a non-selective means and will destroy any plant it comes into contact with. Because of this, it’s not a good idea to spray vinegar over your lawn weeds, for risk of damaging the actual turf.

Weed And Seed Grass

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Managing Weeds in Fescue Lawns

Tall fescue, Festuca arundinacea, is a popular turfgrass grown in the mountains and upper piedmont areas of South Carolina. Weeds should be controlled through an integrated approach to keep the lawn looking its best. This involves knowledge of weed characteristics and the cultural requirements of the turf.

Annual bluegrass (Poa annua) seeds germinate in the fall, and this grassy weed makes white seed heads in the early spring.
Joey Williamson, ©2015 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Disadvantages of Weeds

The main reason homeowners want to rid their lawns of weeds is that they are aesthetically disruptive. In other words, weeds are ugly and interrupt an otherwise uniform appearing lawn. Additionally, weeds are fierce competitors that will strongly compete with the turf for sunlight, nutrients, and moisture. Lastly, weeds have a tendency to spread rapidly. A few left uncontrolled can quickly become a serious problem.

Types of Weeds

Grassy vs. Broadleaf: Grassy weeds are true grasses, which emerge from seed as a single leaf. The leaf blades are longer than they are wide and have parallel veins. Crabgrass is an example of a grassy weed.

Broadleaf weeds emerge from seed with two leaves. Leaves have netlike veins, and many, like dandelion or clover, have showy flowers.

Common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) seeds blow in the wind and allow this perennial weed to become a frequent invader of home lawns.
Joey Williamson, ©2015 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Annual vs. Perennial: Annuals germinate, grow, and die within a twelve-month period. Summer annuals, such as goosegrass, germinate in the spring, grow through the summer, set seed, and die at the onset of cold weather. Winter annuals, such as chickweed, germinate in the fall, grow through the winter, set seed, and die as temperatures rise in early summer.

Perennials grow for two or more years. They reproduce from vegetative parts such as tubers, bulbs, rhizomes, or stolons, though some also spread by seed. Examples are dallisgrass, wild garlic, and clover.

Proper Management

Weed control begins with proper management practices, which encourage a dense, healthy turf. Healthy turf shades the soil so that less sunlight reaches the weed seeds, which need light to germinate. A thick turf also minimizes the space available for weeds to become established.

Proper management practices include mowing, watering, fertilizing, and liming. These are mentioned briefly here but are covered in detail in corresponding HGIC fact sheets. See HGIC 1205, Mowing Lawns, HGIC 1207, Watering Lawns, and HGIC 1201, Fertilizing Lawns.

Tall fescue should be mowed at heights between 2½ and 3½ inches and mowed frequently enough so that no more than ⅓ of the blade is removed. For turfgrass in partial shade, the mowing heights may be raised slightly. Proper mowing heights will encourage a dense, healthy stand.

When fescue shows signs of drought stress, water the lawn deeply so that the entire root zone is moist. This typically requires 1 inch of irrigation water per week. During hot, dry periods, this may be every five to seven days. One inch of irrigation water will moisten the soil down to 6 inches deep and encourage a healthy, extensive root system. Watering lawns three or more times per week will create moist surface soil conditions, and this will promote weed seed germination and growth. Look for areas that stay excessively wet and make corrections so that water drains or is directed elsewhere. For more information, refer to HGIC 1207, Watering Lawns.

Fertilize and lime at the proper time and according to a soil test. When a soil test indicates lime is needed, it is applied to help maintain a soil pH where nutrients are readily available to the turf. In general, spring nitrogen fertilization should cease in March.

Core aeration helps relieve the soil compaction that prevents optimum root growth and favors many weeds. Core aeration is superior to spike aeration. To read more about lawn aeration, please see HGIC 1200, Aerating Lawns.

Control with Herbicides

Even when all cultural practices are employed, some weeds can still appear. If the number of weeds reaches an unacceptable level and pulling by hand is out of the question, one may need to apply herbicides. At this point, it is important to know what weed you are trying to control. Local Extension offices, the Clemson Home & Garden Information Center, the Clemson Plant & Pest Diagnostic Clinic, and state Extension publications can aid in identification.

Preemergence Herbicides: Preemergence herbicides are applied to the soil prior to weed seed germination. They provide good control for many annual grassy weeds and are the best weapon against crabgrass and annual bluegrass. They also control some broadleaf weeds. Most are in a granular formulation, but some are applied as a liquid spray.

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Most granular and liquid preemergence herbicides should be watered into the soil with about ½ inch of irrigation water immediately following application. This activates the herbicide, which is absorbed by the young roots of weeds as they begin to grow.

In the spring, preemergence herbicides should be applied when air temperatures reach 65 to 70 °F for four consecutive days. On average, this is March 15-30 for the piedmont and mountains. In the fall, to control winter annuals, apply preemergence herbicides when nighttime lows reach 55 to 60 °F for four consecutive days. On average, this is September 1 to 15 for the piedmont and mountains.

Preemergence herbicides are generally effective for six to 12 weeks, depending on the product. For season-long control, make a second application eight or nine weeks after the first. Before using, please read the entire label and follow it precisely. See Table 1 for examples of herbicides and products.

Postemergence Herbicides: Postemergence herbicides target visible weeds. They are used primarily against broadleaf weeds, perennial grasses, and sedges. The chemicals 2,4-D, dicamba, mecoprop (MCPP), MCPA, carfentrazone, and triclopyr are broadleaf herbicides. They have been combined in many products that control many broadleaf weeds. Always check the product label to be sure that it can be used safely on a tall fescue lawn, that it will control the specific weeds in the lawn, and that it will be used at the correct rate. With many products, repeat applications in 10 to 14 days may be necessary for difficult to control weeds. For triclopyr, a repeat application may be needed in 4 weeks on some weeds.

In fescue lawns, grassy weeds such as crabgrass, goosegrass, and dallisgrass can also be controlled with postemergence herbicides. Products containing fenoxaprop and quinclorac are recommended.

There are few herbicides that will suppress bermudagrass without harming fescue. For home lawns, the active ingredient fenoxaprop is available. This is best applied as soon as the bermudagrass turns green in the spring and repeated monthly. Stop treatments when temperatures consistently reach 90 °F and do not apply to drought-stressed fescue. The addition of a nonionic surfactant at 2 teaspoons per gallon of water will improve control.

Yellow nutsedge and purple nutsedge are difficult to control perennials. Halosulfuron is effective against both and is safe to use on fescue but will need to be repeated in 3 to 4 weeks for complete control. Some products require the addition of a nonionic surfactant at 2 teaspoons per gallon of water. Sulfentrazone is faster acting on nutsedges but will also require a second application. See Table 2 for examples of herbicides and products to control broadleaf weeds, grasses, and sedges.

Guidelines for Using Postemergence Herbicides

When choosing an herbicide, make sure that it will control the weed and that it is recommended for the specific turfgrass in the lawn. Before using, read the entire label and follow it precisely for rate and timing. The following tips will help you achieve optimum control.

  • Most broadleaf weeds are best treated in the spring or fall when air temperatures are between 65 and 85 degrees F. During hotter temperatures, turf damage is more likely to occur.
  • At the time of treatment, soil moisture should be adequate. When stressed by drought, weed control is poor, and turf damage may occur.
  • Do not mow immediately prior to or after application. Mowing lessens the amount of weed leaf surface area that the herbicide contacts.
  • With spray applications, treat weeds when no rain is expected for at least 24 hours.
  • Avoid treating on windy days because herbicide spray drift can injure ornamental plants.
  • Best results occur when weeds are young.
  • For acceptable control, repeat applications may be required. The product label will tell when to retreat the weeds.

Precautions for New Lawns

It should also be noted that there are precautions for new lawns with regard to preemergence use. A new lawn must have time to become well-established, as preemergence herbicides can inhibit lawn grass root growth. Always read the label thoroughly for specifics regarding seeding. On fescue lawns, preemergence herbicides should not be applied in the fall if the lawn is to be over-seeded. If over-seeded by October, any preemergence herbicide application would have to be delayed until spring (March) for summer weed control. To keep a tall fescue lawn thick and more weed-free, consider over-seeding one fall and alternating that with a preemergence herbicide application the next fall. In sodded areas, preemergence herbicides should be used only on well-established turfgrass tall fescue.

For bermudagrass lawns to be over-seeded with annual ryegrass, delay seeding until 6 to 16 weeks after the preemergence herbicide application (depending upon the rate of application and the herbicide used).

Postemergence herbicides can be applied to newly seeded lawns at ½ the rate, but only after the lawn has been mowed four times. If overseeding after applying postemergence herbicide treatment, wait three to four weeks, depending on the product used. Postemergence herbicides should not be applied if summer temperatures are greater than 90 °F.

Table 1. Preemergence Granular Herbicides for Lawns.

Table 2. Postemergence Herbicides for Tall Fescue Lawns.