Lawns that have broadleaf weeds are difficult to keep weed free without a little effort. Knowing what weeds you have in your lawn will help to keep the weeds out for good.
Listed below are some common perennial broadleaf weeds, weed identification along with weed pictures, as well as, information on control.
A "perennial" is defined as a plant that will live for two or more years. This means that perennials will not have to come back each year by seed.
No lawn is immune to weed problems and they will only get worse if nothing is done. However, not all weeds can grow in lawns. The weeds that become established in lawns will be the types that can handle continuous defoliation through repeated mowing.
Methods for Controlling Weeds
Preventative Weed Control
Preventative weed control refers to any control method that aims to prevent weeds from being established in a lawn.
Lawn Care in the spring does not nearly mean a large amount of work that you'll have to invest as compared to mowing alone throughout the summer months.
Raking will be your first task of spring lawn care. You're likely saying, "But we already raked leaves in the fall!" Sorry, but raking is for more than just removing leaves: it's for controlling thatch, too. A thatch build-up of more than 1/2 inch is considered excessive.
Thatch is the reason why it's recommended that, when you rake leaves in the fall, you make the effort to rake deeply. You can purchase a special thatch rake that has stronger tines or teeth to penetrate deeper into the grass.
If your lawn is subject to high levels of traffic year after year, it may eventually start to show signs of decline. In such cases, your lawn is probably suffering from compacted soil. For instance, the presence of moss signals compaction (among other things). You can get rid of it, but successful eradication begins with the recognition that moss shouldn't be treated as "just another weed."
Lawn aeration is the remedy for compaction. The good news is that lawn aerators can be rented at your local rental center.
But first, send a soil sample to your local county extension to determine the extent of your soil's acidity. The county extension will also be able to advise you on how much lime per square foot you'll need. Apply the lime using a fertilizer spreader.
But if your lawn has been doing fine and shows no signs of suffering from acidity, don't apply lime. Liming is only a corrective measure, not a preventive measure. A soil that is too alkaline will also cause your lawn problems, so too much lime is as bad as not enough.
Is your lawn riddled with bare patches due to dog spots, heavy traffic, or neglect? If so, you may need to apply grass seed to fill in those bare patches.
This solution is known as "overseeding lawns." Apply a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer when you overseed. Five weeks after the grass germinates, apply a quick-release nitrogen fertilizer.
Lawns can be fertilized organically by using compost and mulching mowers. Too much fertilizer in spring can lead to disease and weed problems.
Novices are often surprised to learn that not all lawn weeds are battled in the same manner. Depending upon whether a weed is an annual or perennial, you will use a pre-emergent herbicide or a post-emergent herbicide against it.
Apply Pre-emergent Herbicides
If you know that you have a problem with the annual weeds or crabgrass. Fertilization in spring should go hand in hand with the application of preemergent herbicides.
Preemergent herbicides accomplish this by forming something of a "shield" that inhibits seed germination.
Crabgrass begins its assault on lawns in spring when its seeds germinate. Overseeding should be carried out in autumn, rather than spring, based in part on the threat posed by a spring crabgrass invasion. The trouble is that most preemergent herbicides work against not only weed seeds, but grass seeds, as well!
You can appreciate the dilemma here. Overseeding is incompatible with the application of most preemergent herbicides. Yet, faced with competition from crabgrass in spring, you may find it difficult to establish your new grass. So while it's still possible to overseed in spring, it's simply easier to do so in fall. There will be no competition from crabgrass then because the fall frosts kill off crabgrass.
Apply Postemergent Herbicides
Keep an eye out for the emergence of the perennial weed, dandelion during the spring season, unless you find the presence of their cheerful yellow flowers in your lawn desirable. At the very least, you'll want to snap off their flower stems before they produce seed. If you're more ambitious, you can dig them out by the roots. Spraying dandelion weeds with post-emergent herbicides is more effective in fall than in spring. If you do choose to spray, select an herbicide for broadleaf weeds.
If you prefer weed control without chemicals and have consistently practiced organic landscaping, you can harvest these "weeds" as dandelion greens and eat them!