Warm weather and cool weather weeds rear their ugly heads each season in our turf. One weed plant in your turf now has the potential to be 1000 weed plants in your turf next year. Weeds are thieves! They steal compete with your plants and turf for nutrients, water, and oxygen. Prevention is the best control for weeds. Today we’ll focus on the timely application of weed pre-emergents and some other options for battling these pesky, unwanted, invading plants.

What are Weed Pre-Emergents?

Weed pre-emergent is a granular herbicide that you apply to your turf by using a rotary or drop spreader BEFORE weeds are present. The product creates a chemical barrier in the top layer of soil which prevents the seeds of weeds from germinating and developing into a plant. Weed pre-emergents are one of the absolute best ways to prevent a weed invasion from taking over your turf. Applying this product in a timely matter is crucial. when it comes to pre-emergents, applying the product a little early is better than applying the product even one day too late.

 Reminders about weed pre-emergents:

  • Pre-emergents do NOT kill current weeds in your lawn. They only prevent weeds from germinating.
  • Pre-emergent weed products should be applied each fall and spring season. Because we have both cool-weather weeds (the weeds that you see in your lawn in February and March) and warm-weather weeds (the ones you see summer into fall), we have to be diligent about being ahead of the game with our prevention. Spring pre-emergent is generally applied at the end of February into early March (after the first or second good spring rain). Fall pre-emergent is generally applied at the end of August through early and mid September (after the first real September rain is ideal).
  • You MUST read the instructions on the pre-emergent product label. Get to know how to calibrate your spreader, calculate the area you need to apply the product, see if the product needs any subsequent applications and follow up in a timely manner if so.
  • Look for these named pre-emergents at Rainbow Gardens:
    • Dimension: treats grasssy weeds
    • Gallery: treats broadleaf weeds
    • Crew: treats both grassy and broadleaf weeds

If you don’t plan on using a pre-emergent to control the weeds in your turf, be ready for a battle. We generally don’t recommend post-emergent products because most people don’t apply them correctly and end up damaging turf, damaging surrounding plants, or ending up with a less than desirable result. So if our pre-emergent advice goes unheeded, the following options are your next best bets for a weed free, healthy lawn.

Other Options for Weed Control in Turf

Mow and Bag: A consistent schedule of mowing and bagging grass clippings can go far in the battle of weeds. Mowing and not bagging does not do you much good because there is a possibility that weeds have gone to seed and the seed will get left behind on the soil and germinate. Bagging removes the plant and seeds, eliminating the threat of the weed developing.

Keep A Watchful Eye: There is a saying that your shadow is your garden and lawns best friend. Don’t let the weeds even grow. If you neglect paying attention to your lawn and by the time you go out to observe it, you see large weeds with flowers, you’ve basically blown it for the year. Sorry but it’s true. By the time you see flowers or seeds on a weed, there is likely more that have already spread themselves around your turf. Don’t let them grow in the first place!

Put Your Back Into It: When you’ve missed out on applying your pre-emergent, get ready for some old-fashioned hand-pulling. While this method can be taxing, it is also effective. Small weeds are easier to pull than big weeds. The roots aren’t anchored in as deep and if you get to them when they are small, they also haven’t developed seeds yet.

Repel Weeds with a Healthy Lawn: Another way to lessen your chance at developing weeds in the first place is to create a healthy, lush turf with a maintenance of proper fertilization and proper watering and mowing. A healthy, dense lawn can choke weeds out and not even give them a chance to encroach. Follow our lawn fertilization schedule and get on the path to a weed-free zone.

So remember, timing is crucial. Come see us at Rainbow Gardens for the pre-emergent that fits you needs best…and don’t delay!

~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy