You value your beautiful green lawn. Maybe it’s the envy of neighbors and passersby. You take steps to keep it watered, fed, and free from weeds. Yet, weed control strategies to keep them free from unwanted plants don’t always work. How do you know if your strategy is the best one for your landscaping needs?
How Does Weed Control Work?
Weeds will vie for space in your lawn or garden as a means of their survival and propagation. Many people consider stopping them before they spread as the best way to control weeds. However, that isn’t always possible. A successful weed control strategy will address the current health of your lawn and use appropriate methods to eliminate current weeds and prevent new ones from taking up residence in your yard.
What Components Are Part of a Successful Weed Control Strategy?
There are a lot of moving parts needed to keep weeds at bay. Whether you are looking for a healthy and green lawn or landscaping features free of unwanted plants, developing a comprehensive strategy to control weeds will help. Here are some of the most common components used in weed control efforts.
A Healthy Lawn
Believe it or not, a healthy lawn is better able to resist invading weeds than a malnourished or diseased one. When you think of it as a living, growing organism, it makes sense. It is simply a matter of a growing number of plants competing for a limited amount of available soil.
Weeds take advantage of weakened or compromised lawns and plants. They will spread seeds or roots and try to take over your yard if they are able. Keeping your lawn healthy leaves little or no room for weeds to make their move.
For those who do not want to let weed seeds sprout at all, a preventative treatment can help. Generally applied in the early spring, before seeds start to germinate, weed preventer is an effective method of controlling weeds in many lawns.
There are also specially designed weed preventers for flower and vegetable gardens. Be careful if you have plans to reseed your lawn. Weed preventers can keep your new lawn seeds from sprouting, too.
If you have waited too long and you now have weeds popping up in your yard, specially designed sprays can be applied to them. You want to be sure to protect surrounding foliage so that you don’t harm the plants you want to keep.
The good, old-fashioned method of pulling weeds is still an option. However, be prepared for a stiff back if your lawn is overrun with dandelions. Invasive grasses that spread through runners can be difficult to manage this way.
6 Signs It’s Time to Change Your Strategy
Now that you better understand some of the strategies used to control weeds, you can start to assess your lawn’s health. These are some warning signs that your current weed control strategy is not working to keep weeds at bay.
1. There Are Weeds in Your Lawn
If there are more than a few weeds popping up in your lawn on a regular basis, your current plan is probably not as effective as it could be. This should be obvious, but not everyone will recognize weeds in their lawn. A good rule to remember is that just because it is green and has blades does not mean it is the same grass you are trying to grow.
Some of the most invasive weeds seen in lawns are types of grass. They just aren’t the type you want to grow in your lawn. Often low-growing and branched, with thick leaves, these grasses spread underground. They can travel long distances under ground covers and landscape features to find a nice piece of soil across the yard. Some will poke up through cracks in walkways or between stepping stones.
2. Brown Spots Among the Grass
Brown spots throughout your lawn are signs of trouble. They may be an indicator of fungus or underground insects. Fungus and pests love an unhealthy lawn, and they will quickly move in if they sense weakness.
Take steps to identify what is causing your brown spots. Your local cooperative extension office is a good resource for common problems in your local area. If you still can figure it out, have a lawn care professional come out to inspect the damage. Once you know what it is, you can begin treating it.
3. Your Gardens Are Dying
While dying gardens can be a sign of a whole host of problems, they may also be the result of improper weed control methods. Care must be taken to control over-spray when treating weeds that are already present and established. If you aren’t careful, desirable,, and sometimes expensive, landscape plants can be harmed.
If you notice that your flowers, shrubs, or vegetables are sporting brown spots or dead patches after weed treatments, you should reevaluate your methods. Make sure weeds are only being sprayed when the wind is calm. Early morning hours are usually the best choice. Plastic sheeting can also be used to temporarily cover plants you want to protect.
4. You Are Concerned About Environmental Impact
There is growing concern about the environmental impact of landscaping chemicals. If you become anxious every time the lawn is sprayed, you might need to develop a new strategy that uses more environmentally friendly weed control options.
Before you panic, that doesn’t mean you have to let your lawn get overrun with weeds. There are plenty of eco-friendly options on the market today. Talk to a lawn care professional who can help you achieve a beautiful, healthy lawn without adding to environmental degradation.
5. Your Pond Is Devoid of Life
Your weed killers may have spread to the pond. Many of the products that control weeds in the soil will also kill aquatic weeds. If you have fish in your backyard pond, they can also be harmed. Try to avoid using weed killers or preventatives near water sources to avoid destroying this habitat.
6. Your Family or Pets Have Allergies
Do you worry about your kids and pets playing on the lawn after it has been treated? Maybe they have developed rashes from the chemicals that are in some commercial weed killers on the market. Luckily, there are new lawn care products that are both effective and safe for children and pets.
One such product is iron-based FIESTA. It is completely safe for kids and pets to walk on the grass once the spray dries. And by using minerals, it avoids the risks associated with adding potentially dangerous chemicals to your soil.
Help Is Available
Lawns are part of homeownership. A healthy and lush front lawn can increase your curb appeal and maybe even the value of your home. A soft, vibrant backyard offers safe places for families and pets to play. Finding the right lawn care strategy will help you achieve that lawn in your own yard without compromising your values.
If you notice any of these trouble signs in your lawn, contact the experienced and knowledgeable professionals at Weed-A-Way. We can help you diagnose where your current methods are falling short and then help you get back on track to having a yard and lawn that the neighbors will envy.