Bio Green Outdoor Services, LLC Lawn Care & Sprinkler Learning Center (703) 450-0034

The most common definition of a weed is a plant that is out of place. Most weeds compete all too well with turfgrass for water, nutrients, and light. They often grow faster than the desirable grass and spread quickly. Proper control of weeds is a must to achieve a nice lawn and reduce irrigation requirements.

Most weed problems originate when turfgrass does not grow vigorously enough and is therefore unable to successfully compete with the weed(s). This is why weeds are generally thought of as a symptom of a greater problem. Therefore, proper turfgrass management is the best way to prevent weed problems. Think of weeds and the turfgrass as competitors for space in the landscape. Weeds are opportunists. When the turfgrass is not healthy, weeds gain a competitive edge. The best way to illustrate this on any weedy lawn is to go to the area of lawn on the shady side of the house and compare the weed population there to the rest of the lawn. Due to the lack of stress on the grass shaded by the house, you will most often find a much higher percentage of decent grass and fewer weeds. Nothing different has been done to control weeds in this area. There are fewer weeds because the turf grass is more competitive. The bottom line is that the best weed control is a thick, healthy lawn.

Good weed management begins with proper selection of a turfgrass seed that will do well in the conditions on-site. Then the grass must be managed in order to be competitive throughout the year. Common problems that lead to weed problems and a poor stand of grass include: a) too much shade/competition with tree roots; b) poor drainage; c) improper fertility; d) overly-acidic soils; e) consistently improper mowing heights; f) insufficient irrigation; and g) soil compaction. Each of these situations can lead to significant weed management problems.

Assuming good turf management practices, the next step to weed control is accurate identification. Weeds can be broken down into two basic categories; broadleaf (dicot) and grassy (monocot).

Dandelion

A common broadleaf weed (Dandelion)

  • Was this article helpful?
  • Yes!   No
Crabgrass

A common grassy weed (Crabgrass)

  • Was this article helpful?
  • Yes!   No

These two categories can be further broken down into whether the weed is an annual, biennial, or perennial. The knowledge to accurately identify the problem weed is necessary in order to control it. The type of weed will largely determine possible chemical controls (pre-emergent, post-emergent, type of chemical, etc.), the method of application, and timing.

The final step in any good weed control program that follows the guidelines of integrated pest management is to blend all of this knowledge into an overall strategy that minimizes chemical applications, provides effective control, and results in a beautiful lawn.

  • Was this article helpful?
  • Yes!   No

Article Tags