You’ve aerated. You’ve overseeded. You’ve fertilized.
And as the seasons begin to change and the temperature rises, you’re finally ready to sit back and bask in the lushness of your perfectly manicured lawn.
Then, you spot them: weeds. They’re tiny at first, but left untreated, weeds can quickly overtake your yard and make all your lawn care efforts worth nothing.
So, how do you stop weeds from growing in your yard?
That’s what we’ll be looking at in this article. We’ll cover preventative steps you can take to cut down weeds before they grow as well as tips you can use to eliminate weeds that have already emerged.
But first, let’s take a look at the basics.
What Are Weeds?
A weed, simply put, is a plant that’s out of place.
They’re typically hardy and tend to grow quite aggressively too.
A weed is not inherently bad or inherently good. But it’s our perception of that plant that makes it a nuisance.
Violets were considered weeds at one point. So was mint, chinese wisteria, periwinkle, and even bamboo.
But these days, lawn weeds are typically categorized as one of three different types:
- Broadleaf Weeds – This is the most recognizable type of weed, with broad and flat leaves that aren’t easily mistaken for grass. Some examples include the infamous dandelion, plantain, and chickweed.
- Grassy Weeds – This type of weed tends to resemble grass in the way it looks and grows. However, patches can still throw off the uniformity of your lawn and leach nutrients from your grass. Examples include crabgrass (of course), quackgrass, foxtail, and annual bluegrass.
- Grass-Like Weeds – Finally, this type of weed slightly resembles grass but will often have leaves that aren’t flat but rather triangular or tubelike. This category includes plants like nutsedge, wild garlic, and wild onion.
Need help with determining if a plant in your yard is a weed? No problem.
Have a look at our handy weed gallery to see the most common types of yard weeds in Tennessee.
3 Strategies to Prevent Weeds From Growing
As with most things, the best way to stop a weed from terrorizing your lawn is to prevent it from growing in the first place.
This, however, can be quite difficult. Weeds are stubborn and you can assume that every inch of your lawn is infested with seeds already.
That being said, there are a few things you can do to help prevent weeds from growing in the first place and keep your yard looking beautiful.
Use a Fertilization & Weed Control Program
The absolute best way to prevent weeds is to trust the experts and enroll in a fertilization and weed control program.
The best programs will provide year-round maintenance and apply several stages of lawn application throughout spring, summer, fall, and winter. They’ll typically include pre-emergent herbicides, seasonal fertilizers, and treatments for different types of weeds along the way.
Weeds are only able to gain a foothold in your yard when your grass isn’t as healthy as it can be. But when it’s thick and lush, weeds won’t be able to get the light, nutrients, water, and space they need to grow.
As such, a fertilization and weed control program has the dual effect of strengthening your lawn and killing the most aggravating weeds in your yard.
Many programs will also spot treat particularly dense weed patches along the way.
Piggybacking off of the last point, the best strategy for a weed-free yard is a dense and healthy yard.
The thicker your grass is, the less likely a weed will be able to get what it needs to grow.
But when it does start getting sunlight and nutrients, it can quickly overpower the grass you worked so hard to grow.
That’s why you should try to mow your lawn on a higher setting rather than a low one.
When you mow on low, it’s evening the playing field for your grass and the weeds. But when you keep your grass relatively high, weeds won’t be able to get the light they need to become a real nuisance.
Water Infrequently & Deeply
One mistake homeowners tend to make is they water their grass quite often.
The problem, however, is that frequent, shallow watering actually causes shallow roots for your grass. And as a result, it’ll be less likely to tolerate hot and dry periods, causing thin spots and bare patches and opening up the door to weeds.
Instead, water your lawn sparingly and deeply to promote deep root growth. Most healthy lawns should get about 1 to 1.5 inches of water each week.
Post-Emergent Treatments for Weeds
When you do spot weeds starting to take over your lawn, it’s time to attack them directly.
There are a few ways to do that.
First, you can go the herbicide route.
Try to find organic herbicides to cut down on harmful chemicals in your lawn, especially if you have children or pets that play in the yard.
You should also avoid cutting down the weed before treating it with a herbicide. That way, there’s as much plant material as possible to absorb the herbicide.
And of course, be sure to follow the instructions on the label before application.
Digging Them Up
You can also go the old fashioned route and dig up your weeds by hand.
This solution is reasonable for small lawns that have little weed growth. For larger yards that are more overcome by weeds, it could be impractical.
In any case, you’ll want to weed early and often to prevent as much damage to your grass as possible.
Try not to dig too deep either. Seeds can lie dormant for years and digging too much can actually bring them to the surface and stimulate their growth.
Need Help? That’s What We’re Here For
If your lawn is being overrun by weeds or you simply want to prevent them from showing up in the first place, the professionals at Turf Managers can help.
We offer a wide range of landscape services including:
- Aeration and overseeding
- Fertilization and weed control
- Tree and shrub care
- Pest and mosquito control
- And much more
Just get in touch today and let us take care of all your lawn care needs and get your lawn treated in less than 72 hours.