Keeping weeds from ruining the look of your lawn is a full-time chore that doesn’t end when it gets cold. Learn the best practices to keep weeds under control for each quarter of the year. In this article we’ll focus on which of the plants in your yard are weeds you’ll need to look at, how to control those weeds, and tips to controlling them each and every season.
Unfortunately, trying to control weeds all year long is something that every gardener needs to deal with.
Why do weeds bother us so much? Simple. You didn’t plant them there, and you don’t want them there. You want to be in control of the health and beauty of your lawn and garden, and weeds shatter that illusion. Weeds can be infuriating!
The dictionary defines a weed as “a wild plant growing where it is not wanted and competing with cultivated plants.” That sums up why weeds cause us so much frustration.
Moreover, weeds are a year-round problem that requires year-round attention to keep them in check. Different weeds have different life cycles. Depending on the type of weeds, you’ll need to use either post-emergent or pre-emergent treatments to control them.
Here are some examples of weeds and their life cycles:
- Summer Annuals: Weeds that bloom in summers, such as Knotweed, Crabgrass and Prostrate Spurge.
- Winter Annuals: Weeds that show up in late fall to bloom in winters, such as Common Chickweed, Shepherd’s Purse and Annual Bluegrass.
- Biennial Weeds: These weeds live for two years; they germinate and grow without flowering in year one. In year two, they flower and spread seeds. Some examples include Primrose, Burdock, and Common Mullein.
- Perennial Weeds: Simple perennials have one vertical root system and include Dandelions, Plantains, and Curly Dock, while spreading perennials have horizontal roots and include Ground Ivy, White Clover and Yellow Nutsedge.
As you can see, there is more to controlling weeds all year long than simply pulling them out of the ground.
So what can be done to keep weeds from overtaking your property?
Read on to learn how to combat weeds during each season with Turf Managers’ tips to control weeds all year long.
Spring Tips for Controlling Weeds
Like any other plant, weeds spread their seeds during the spring to grow throughout the rest of the year. To prevent them from germinating, you’ll want to apply a pre-emergent herbicide.
Herbicides work best in warmer months and require absorption from the soil to activate. Absorption can only take place if the ground is wet. Without any rain, the herbicide will sit on top of the earth rather than being drawn into the weed. Spring has the advantage of being both warm and wet.
Applying a selective or targeted pre-emergent herbicide in the spring can stop annual grassy weeds such as crabgrass from popping up in summer. Selective herbicides target weeds, while non-selective herbicides could harm the surrounding grass. Always read the label and follow the instructions before applying any herbicides.
Here are some tips to follow when applying herbicides in spring (or to control weeds all year long):
- Wait for No Rain: You don’t want the herbicides to be washed away or diluted before they get a chance to work, so ensure no rain is coming for at least six hours after application
- Apply on a Day With Mild Weather: Weed killers work best when avoiding scorching and cold temperatures
- No Wind Is Best: Wind can blow weed killer away from the intended areas
Weeds have a nasty habit of popping up when you least expect them, ruining your yard, being difficult to eradicate, and then coming back next year. If you have a weed problem and want a no-hassle way to get rid of them, book the services of the weed experts at Turf Managers.
Summer Weed Control
Inevitably, some weeds will get through the herbicidal prevention you applied in the spring. You’ll now have to tackle any annual or perennial weeds that have now sprung up with the rain and warmer temperatures.
A post-emergent herbicide is recommended for the summer months to combat the weeds that have fought their way through. Depending on the weed, use a selective or non-selective herbicide. You’ll probably want to use a selective herbicide not to damage the rest of your lawn. Look for a product labeled “safe for lawns,” which will target weeds directly and not leave dead grass patches.
Here are some tips to control weeds throughout summer:
- Deep Watering: Deep watering is where you water your lawn infrequently and thoroughly — a thicker lawn means less room for weeds
- Provide Nutrients: Feeding your lawn regularly — every 6-8 weeks in the growing season — will thicken your lawn and fill up bare spots, leaving less room for weed growth
- Mow on a High Setting: Mowing on higher settings will allow the grass to grow thicker, again providing sunlight for weed seeds to germinate
Fall Weed Control
After the spring, fall is the next best time for weed control. Weeds are more easily killed when vulnerable, like right before they hibernate or die in winter. Also, some weeds (like winter perennials) begin to grow in late summer and fall. Weed killers thrive on sudden weather changes like those in fall when the temperatures go from warm to cooler.
Weedkiller products that contain herbicides work best in the warmer months with rainwater, like spring and fall. Summer is the next best since it’s warm but has less rain. Ensure it’s not so cold that the water is freezing in the soil and preventing absorption. Spraying in a month like October (depending on the harshness of the climate where you live) will ensure a demanding environment for weeds to survive in winter.
Even Controlling Weeds in the Winter
Not all weed killer products contain herbicides. Herbicide-free weed killers can control weeds all year, even in winter. Some weeds begin to grow under the surface in late summer and sprout in the fall, becoming fully present in the cold winter months.
Here are some tips to control weeds in the winter:
- Apply pre-emergent to annual winter weeds
- Spot treat any visible weeds
- Apply a mulch layer to starve weed seeds from sunlight
- Limit digging and tilling, which promotes seed spreading
Final Thoughts on How To Control Weeds All Year
Weeds can be a nuisance to your lawn and garden, no matter what time of year it is. They are always fighting for sunlight and food, and if not adequately controlled, they can overtake your yard.
Using these tips on how to control weeds all year long, you should be able to get a grasp on the tiny, everyday weeds that spring up. For a comprehensive clean-up and preventative plan for all your weed problems, contact the professionals at Turf Managers. With over 25 years of experience removing and preventing weeds in yards around Nashville, our experts can solve all your weed problems for the whole year. Click the link below to book Turf Managers’ services.