A close-up photo of tall green grass with small flowers. Photo by Utsman Media on Unsplash.

Spring is a wonderful time of year when blossoms peek up through the cracks of thawing soil and small sprouts of green grass make their return to open spaces. All is peaceful and lovely — until the inevitable weed appears in your lawn! It seems no matter how much you prepare or how much effort you put into watering, the green of the grass is always overshadowed by an ugly invasion of unwanted weeds.

How can this aggravating eyesore be prevented? Fear not, because landscape and lawn care experts have the solution, based on years of personal experience spent mitigating weed invasions and enhancing the verdancy of lawns. In this article, Restoration Landscape Co. gives you insight into their tried-and-true best practices for weed control. 

Tip #1: Identify the Culprit

First things first: you must identify what kind of weed species you’re dealing with. There are dozens of variations of these invasive plants, but they generally fall into one of three categories: broadleaves, grasses, and sedges. Depending on the category of the weed you’re trying to manage, you’ll need to adjust your treatment protocol accordingly. 

Broadleaf varieties of weeds may be either perennial or annual, and these bad boys tend to make an appearance in the presence of compacted soil with low nitrogen and poor fertilization. Species names include white clover, creeping woodsorrel, knotweed, and the quintessential dandelion. 

Weeds classified as grasses, like broadleaves, may recur every year or only once in a single year. Regardless of the frequency of their visits, weed grasses tend to manifest as a result of over-watered and compacted soil. Some species, such as crabgrass and bermudagrass, can also be exacerbated by mowing the lawn too short. 

Lastly, sedges are the most difficult weeds to remove from a lawn. Without proper irrigation and lawn maintenance, they will return almost infallibly year after year. Many homeowners may respond to this nuisance by trying to improve water flow to healthy grasses, but this often is done incorrectly and causes poor drainage, exacerbating the subpar irrigation and allowing the invasive sedges to thrive. 

Tip #2: Fertilize As Soon As Possible

As soon as six weeks after planting or resodding a lawn, you should commence a recurring fertilization program. During the early years of a lawn’s development, this process will need to be executed at least four times per year. Once the grass has grown out of its infancy and is relatively self-sufficient, you can reduce the number of fertilization sessions to two per year.

Tip #3: Perfect Your Mowing Method

Many homeowners may not know this because they don’t have a formal background in landscaping or horticulture, but certain species of turfgrass can only be mowed to a certain length before their health and verdancy begins to suffer. Depending on the kind of grass you have in your lawn, one of two things tends to happen: 1) a lawn mowed too short will create a breeding ground for unwanted weeds, or 2) a lawn not cut frequently enough will soon harbor thatch in its overgrown blades. 

Assess resource guides or talk to your local landscaping company to determine what kind of species your turfgrass is and what the best routine for mowing it should be. Simply making this upfront investment in lawn care will save you time, money, and a whole lot of weed-pulling in the future.

Tip #4: Irrigation Prevents Irritation

Although most homeowners with a lawn make an effort to water it on a regular basis, some might not consider whether the slope and structure of their property’s landscape is suited for proper drainage and overall irrigation. When excessive moisture or dryness emerges in any one area of turfgrass, it allows weeds to invade and weaken the fundamental base of the lawn. Furthermore, most lawns that have been established for a number of years do not require daily watering.

Frequent watering sessions are typically only necessary in the early stages of the yard’s development; after this period, light and infrequent watering is one of the best things you can do for grass health and weed control. Lawns planted in clay soil need to be watered even less frequently than, say, a patch of turfgrass atop sandy terrain, because clay is much more effective at retaining moisture than its beachy counterpart. 

What happens if you don’t take care to cultivate your lawn’s water distribution? Well, poorly irrigated and overwatered lawns are notorious for inviting some not-so-welcome friends, including bluegrass, crabgrass, and the nearly impervious nutsedge. You can prevent these irritating invaders by working with a lawn care company or landscaping professional to maximize the efficiency of water flow and moisture retention in your turfgrass.

Tip #5: Aerate and Cultivate

As mentioned earlier, one of the largest driving forces behind weed invasions stems from compact soil underneath a lawn. This can be managed by carrying out twice-yearly aerations, which will also improve the health of your turfgrass. This process removes small pellets of soil from the rooting zone of the grass, exposing the vital underground structures to much-needed oxygen, nutrients, and sunshine. To help you remember the importance of aeration, consider this: If you wouldn’t go six months without exfoliating your face, you certainly wouldn’t want to neglect your yard in the same way. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief overview of best practices for weed control in your home’s yard. If, after reading this blog, you still have questions or concerns on how to best care for your lawn and other plants on your property, please contact Restoration Landscape Co. in Athens today!