Preventing Weeds in the Lawn
Nothing beats the dark green expanse of turf grass to set off our flower beds and provide a green oasis in our yards. But when weeds in the lawn reach a higher proportion than we'd like to see, (a lawn totally free of weeds is not practical), and the lawn begins to decline, what's the answer?
The key to successful weed control is also the key to successful turf management. By creating an unfavorable environment for weeds to grow, you create a more favorable environment for turf grass to grow. The steps taken to control the weeds are the very same steps necessary to establish and maintain a healthy and vigorous lawn.
It's not that complicated. Here's what you can do:
Regular applications of high calcium lime will keep the pH( an indication of acid or alkaline makeup) in the proper range, between 6 and 7. Many of our more prevalent weeds thrive only in a more acidic soil. Wild Strawberry, Ground Ivy, and other vining weeds do well only when the pH is low. Make it hard for them to grow by raising the pH. Lime can be applied any time of year. This may be the most effective, and least expensive, step towards having the lawn you've always wanted.
In the Washington metro area, 2 or 3 applications of fertilizer, preferably in the fall, will keep your turf grass strong and healthy. It's been shown that a dense, full lawn can actually crowd out invading weeds. They can't compete! But don't just feed the grass. Feed the soil! That's right. By using an organic, slow release fertilizer, such as ‘Bradfield Organics Luscious Lawn & Garden’ or 'Ringer Lawn Restore' you increase the fertility of the soil, in turn feeding the grass. This also helps build a strong root system, and you'll see fewer weeds.
Thin areas or bare spots are an invitation for weeds to grow. Seeding or over seeding (preferably in the fall) is necessary to maintain a dense, full lawn. We recommend one of our own APF custom grass seed blends.
Water weekly, and deeply to promote strong root development. Turf grass should receive 1" of rain or water per week.
During the summer months, change the mowing height to 3". Taller grass helps shade out sun loving weeds, keeps the roots cooler, and less apt to dry out.
As a pre-emergent weed control, Corn Gluten has proven very effective against weed seeds, when applied early in Spring, before weed seeds germinate.