Kill Weeds, Not Grass For Picture-Perfect Lawn
How to get rid of weeds in lawn is a headache. You wish you could get rid of weeds as easily as taking Advil. But, now your frustration is boiling over. All you want is a beautiful weed-free lawn to enjoy.
It’s understandable. After all, it seems every time you turn around more weeds appear, damaging the look of your backyard. And it feels as if all your previous hard work is meaningless.
By the end of this article you’ll understand why and how weeds grow and how to get rid of them. Along the way you’ll learn the tools needed, weeding mistakes and tips to help you avoid those troublesome plants. Banish your troubles in a few easy steps, and you’ll be well on your way to a weed-free picture-perfect lawn.
How Weeds Work
Like disease, weeds are opportunists. They seize on the chance to colonize poor soil, bare
patches, unhealthy grass. Weed seed is capable of lying dormant in ground for years before
grabbing the moment to burst into life. And when they do, it’s all over your backyard.
By understanding how weeds grow you’ll be able to remove them more effectively. And,
hopefully, lessen the likelihood of them regrowing.
Weeds have 3 distinct types:
- Broadleaf weeds – Distinctive because of their broad, flat leaves. Broadleaf weeds include dandelion, clover, ground ivy, oxalis, chickweed, thistle.
- Grassy Weed – As the name suggests grassy weeds have bladed leaves and look like grass! Crabgrass, quackgrass (couch), annual bluegrass and foxtail are representative of grassy weeds.
- Grass-like weed – Grass-like weeds have tubular and hollow shaped leaves. Weeds include nut sedge, wild onion and wild garlic. Apart from hollow shaped leaves, this type of weed has tiny bulbs. In order to remove any traces of the weed in your lawn, you will have to dig them all out.
Here’s an article to help you decide when to get rid of weeds – lawn care tips and maintenance guide for healthy grass.
How to Remove Yard Weeds: Kill Weeds without Killing Grass
There are a number of different ways to kill weeds in grass, without killing the lawn. Deciding which method based on the characteristics of the weed will help you remove them safely. And, with a choice of natural weed killers, as well as chemical ones, you’ll be able to select which approach is best for you.
Weed Control for Lawns
1. Hand Pulling
As the name suggests, this method is literally pulling weeds out by hand. Whilst the definition sounds straight forward, care should be taken to remove all the roots. Otherwise, you will swiftly find the spot refilled with another weed!
Take time to loosen the soil around the weed and down around the main root. Then gently pry the roots and leaves out of the ground. This is a good method for removing weeds such as dandelions and other broadleaf weeds.
Ideal for weed control in lawns when you only have an occasional weed to pull. More than one or two and weeding becomes time consuming and a real chore.
2. Use a Weeder Tool
A handy tool for digging down into the lawn to remove weeds is a two pronged fork, often called a fishtail weeder. Great for helping you get rid of all those dandelion roots, along with loosening the soil below ground.
You may also consider a weeding knife to help sever those last remaing roots. Choose one with a wide blade and both serrated and smooth edges. There are some on the market with a concave shape, helpful for digging down into the soil.
3. Smother Weeds
Smothering weeds is a method best used when you have a large patch of weed-filled lawn, rather than the odd weed here and there. This is a great way to use old newspaper, or offcuts of carpet. Sunlight and oxygen are blocked from reaching the weeds, cutting off their lifeblood.
Beware though. Smothering also kills grass.
4. Pre Emergent Herbicides
As the word pre suggests, these herbicides are used before the weed seedlings even appear above ground. Applied on established lawn, chemicals stop the weed forming roots in the new plant. Without a root, the weed is unable to grow and dies off before making any appearance in your lawn.
5. Post Emergent Herbicides
Similar to the pre emergent herbicides, this weed killer is applied once the weed is growing. That is, it has emerged from the ground and is continuing to grow. There are 2 types of post emergent herbicides and can be classed as selective or non-selective:
- Systemic – The herbicide is sprayed onto the leaves and is absorbed into the weed. The chemical then travels around the whole plant, effectively killing it off.
- Contact – For most weeds death can be effected with a contact herbicide. The chemical kills the exposed parts of the weed, cutting off the root system from sunlight and oxygen.
- Selective – Will be able to target broadleaf or grass weeds without harming your lawn.
- Non-Selective – Will kill any plant it comes into contact with.
6. Weed and Feed
This is a tricky subject. Many people are of the opinion weed and feed in one go is not the best route to take. Essentially, weed and feed is an all-in-one application. This may be the best option for a time-strapped gardener. However, it may not get rid of weeds in lawn as well as other methods.
Take a look at Cresco Spreaders weed and feed guide for lawn care for up-to-date help on all things weed and feed.
7. Natural Weed Killer for Lawns
Homemade weed killers can be effective and safe. Take for instance vinegar. Mix with water, fill a handheld spray bottle and apply directly to the weed. As with any weed killer, make certain you spray in calm weather conditions, and only spray onto the weed you want killing. Weed killer of any kind does not discriminate between treasured plants and those you want to remove.
Prevention is Better Than Cure: Weed-Free Lawn Fix
Having discussed how to get rid of weeds in lawn, you may like to consider ways to prevent the weeds growing in the first place.
- Fertilize Sufficiently – Balance is the keyword here. You want to make sure your lawn is getting all the nutrients it needs without over doing it. Check out the best time to fertilize lawn for tip-top backyard care.
- Water Sparingly – Overwatering is as damaging as not watering enough. Too much water can encourage weeds, whilst too little opens up opportunity for the weeds to grow by colonizing dead areas of lawn.
- Mow Higher – Leaving your grass to grow a little higher will deprive the weeds of sunlight and oxygen. In effect, longer grass will starve weeds, helping your lawn to grow thicker and stronger. Healthy grass will always win the battle.
- Quality Grass Seed – Choose a quality grass seed when seeding or patching lawn, so you are not introducing weeds from the get-go.
- Patch Bare Soil – Weeds will colonize bare spots, so make sure to reseed as soon as you’ve removed the weed. See our guide and tips on how to plant grass seed for a thriving lawn.
- De-thatch your lawn once or twice a year – Fetching out the weeds and debris will help to bolster your lawn’s strength and health. A healthy lawn will more easily be able to combat weeds, stopping them germinating and growing.
Getting Rid of Weeds in Lawn: Mistakes to Avoid
- Not getting all the root out when digging or pulling by hand
- Getting rid of weeds into the compost pile
- Leaving weeds to flower in your lawn
- Leaving bare patches
- Beware of weeds that hitch a ride on other plants you’ve introduced into your backyard
Beautiful Weed-free Backyard Lawns: Your Pride & Joy
How to get rid of weeds in lawn is not easy. It takes time and effort to get it right. But, follow our guides and you will soon discover the task is not hopeless. Little and often will get the job done and you will be able to admire a weed-free backyard.