While weeding may seem like an endless task, there are effective measures to eliminate weeds and keep them from coming back.
These simple methods will prevent and control common lawn weeds such as dandelion, crabgrass and clover.
7 Ways to Keep Weeds at Bay
The first step in eliminating weeds is creating a healthy, thick lawn that crowds out future weeds. And healthy grass starts in the soil. Test your soil and replace any nutrients you find lacking. Fertilize grass seasonally.
Never cut your grass shorter than 2 1/2 inches or remove more than 1/3 the height in order to keep grass roots strong. Leave grass clippings as they break down; they add nutrients to the soil.
Here’s answers to the 5 most asked questions about lawn care.
2. Smother weeds
Mulch helps retain soil moisture, keeps soil temperatures consistent and makes the garden look tidy. But did you know it has weed-preventing properties, too? A 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch deprives weed seeds of sunlight and reduces their ability to grow.
3. Pull weeds
While it may be the most work-intensive and time-consuming method, an effective way to rid your garden of weeds is to pull them by hand or dig out with a garden hoe. For easier removal, pull weeds after a rain. Be sure to remove the weeds by their roots so they don’t grow back.
Learn more ways to whack weeds, including in your garden.
4. Avoid weeds
The best way to get ahead and stay ahead of garden weeds is to stop them when they’re seeds. If you stop weed seeds from sprouting, they never grow and you won’t have to pull them. Apply a pre-emergent herbicide only in early spring and summer.
5. Blanket weeds
A landscape fabric or plastic sheathing in new garden beds will assist in keeping weeds down for a few seasons and help control soil erosion. Cover fabric with two to three inches of mulch or stone. Keep in mind, the fabric or plastic barrier also keeps organic matter from the soil, so be sure to add appropriate fertilizers to planting holes.
6. Spot-treat weeds
When weeds escape other efforts, try the spot-treatment method. Post-emergent herbicides kill existing plants when sprayed on the leaves. Spray only the unwanted plant, as these herbicides will kill anything they come in contact with.
Organic methods such as vinegar or hot water are also shown to be effective for broadleaf weeds such as dandelions and chickweed.
7. Do double duty on weeds
Weed and feed products selectively kill broadleaf weeds while feeding your lawn. However, they can kill grass seed, young grass and St. Augustine grass, so talk to your Garden Center associate to find the product that is right for you.