Lawns may still be sleeping in winter, but weeds will appear soon if you don’t take action now. Remove weeds and their seeds from your lawn before they drop to the ground, take root and set the stage for years of weed woes.
Fight back by mowing, hand-picking or, best of all, spreading a pre-emergent herbicide. A general rule of thumb is to apply pre-emergent as soon as forsythia or quince start to bloom before the soil temperature reaches 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use a soil thermometer to test the temperature a half inch below the surface.
Note: Do not apply pre-emergent if you’re planning on seeding your lawn this spring. It will stop grass seed from growing for two to six months.
Control Weeds in Winter:
- Based on the recommended height for your type of grass, mow your lawn closely to stress and damage the weeds. Many weeds will be stressed or even die if they are mowed at the close heights used for warm-weather grasses.
- Fill drop spreader with pre-emergent and adjust spreader to the delivery rate indicated on the package. Apply to dry grass in a zig-zag pattern. Water immediately but don’t overwater, which causes runoff.
- Remove weeds by hand after a good rainfall when the soil is easier to manipulate.
- For lawns containing cool-weather grasses such as perennial ryegrass, fine fescue or Kentucky bluegrass, or if your area has had an unusually mild winter that causes summer grasses to start emerging, use a combination weed and feed product.
- Address persistent weeds by spraying individually with a weed herbicide.
- Water deeply. Shallow and infrequent watering will only weaken grass roots, allowing weeds to thrive and take over. When watering, wet the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches or a half-inch to one inch of rainfall.
- Overseed. A deep, thick lawn keeps weeds out.
Always check the directions on the product you are using to make sure that the type of grass growing in your lawn will not be harmed by the pre-emergent. Ask your Garden Center associate for assistance.