Identifying Clues
controlling weeds

Identifying Weed Species

To control weeds, you first need to identify the various types of weeds growing in your turf.  Weeds are either narrow-leaved and grass-like, or broad-leaved.  You also need to know the life cycles of these weeds so you can effectively time your control measures. 

Annual weeds are the most common, living for one growing season and reproducing only from seed. Annuals are controlled by disrupting their growth any time before they set seed.  Perennial weeds do not die after flowering, and many reproduce both by seed and by vegetative means.  Some perennial weeds, such as dandelions, have fleshy taproots that can produce a new plant from just a piece of root left in the ground.  Creeping weeds, such as ground ivy, spread from underground rhizomes and aboveground stolons.  Perennials are more difficult to eradicate, but they are just as vulnerable during their seedling stage as the annuals.  Click here to check out some of the more common lawn weeds.

North

Cool-season annual weeds germinate in late fall or winter, then flower and produce seeds, and finally die in the spring.  They can be especially troublesome in dormant southern lawns, and that is why some people overseed with cool-season grasses for the winter.

South

Warm-season annual weeds go through their complete life cycle from the spring to the fall of the same year.  These weeds are most problematic in northern grasses that go dormant in the summer heat.

Your Best Defense

Some gardeners consider weed control a battle.  Others consider weeds a warning that the lawn is “not well” and that they need to take steps to improve conditions.  When weeds do creep in, you need to identify the conditions or practices encouraging their growth.  To minimize weeds and other problems, provide an optimal growing environment to allow your lawn to grow vigorously.

Weeding Methods

Loosen shallow-rooted weeds using a weeding tool and then pull the weed out. You can also use boilingwater to spot-kill shallow-rooted weeds.  To prevent scalding wear heavy gloves.

To remove deep-rooted weeds use a spade and pry slightly to loosen the soil around the weed, then grasp the weed at its base and pull slowly.  It is important to pull out the entire root.  Moistened soil will also ease the chore.

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