Spring Weed Control
What to Think About for Spring Weed Control
Once the new year has come and gone and February is lurking with one last bout of nasty weather before spring, it’s a good idea for homeowners to begin looking forward to what the coming growing season will have in store for their lawn. It’s highly valuable to plan ahead and know what to think about for spring weed control before the opportunity to treat weeds effectively has passed.
As you’ll learn here, there are different kinds of spring weed control applied in the spring for different kinds of common weeds. Additionally, there’s a very specific criteria and timeframe for when these products should be applied to your lawn to be most effective. With proper knowledge and the support of a professional team like Picture Perfect Lawn Maintenance, you are sure to have weeds on lockdown this spring, summer, and into fall.
Weeds to Worry About in the Spring
While every lawn is different and likely to have its own special bouquet of undesired plant growth, there are several weeds that are a common event for most homeowners in the Richmond, VA area. These weeds are considered “standard” weeds and are covered in the spring weed control programs that most fertilization companies like PPLM offer, but are still the main weeds to worry about in the spring.
Broadleaf weeds are the most easily identified because, as the name would suggest, their broad leaves clearly distinguish them from the thinner blades of fescue turf that they occupy. Dandelions, clover, wild onions, henbit, chickweed, speedwell, buttonweed, oxalis, and plantains are a handful of examples of common broadleaf weeds in our area. Each of these weeds is unique in appearance and has its own ideal growing conditions that can be found in different parts of a typical lawn.
Grassy weeds can be a bit harder to spot than broadleaf weeds since they blend in a bit more with fescue, but usually seem to be a greater irritation due to their aggressive natures. Of the grassy weeds, the most common is crabgrass, which is what is covered in standard spring weed control programs. Less common but generally more difficult grassy weeds that are easily mistaken for crabgrass include goosegrass, dallisgrass, orchardgrass, and bahiagrass, all of which usually require treatment separate from a typical program.
Some of these weeds listed above are annuals, or plants that complete their life cycle and die after a calendar year. Others are perennials, which are plants that lives for several years and generally just goes dormant at certain parts of the year without completely dying. Additionally, each of these weeds has a season during which they are at their strongest, but spring is generally when we see the most overlap between the winter weeds and the summer weeds.
How to Treat and Prevent Spring Weeds
Spring is king when it comes to putting down the heaviest rounds of spring weed control for the season. While there are many products available that are able to tackle standard weeds, it’s important to know how to treat and prevent spring weeds properly to ensure the health of your lawn and the success of the spring weed control. Different products treat different weeds more effectively, but for the standard broadleaf weeds and crabgrass described above, there are two classes of spring weed control products that generally get the job done.
First, pre-emergent weed control, also referred to as pre-emergent herbicide, is used in the spring to prevent the successful germination of dormant weed seeds that will sprout once the soil temperatures get warm enough. Pre-emergent is necessary for the prevention of crabgrass, but is also beneficial in greatly reducing the occurrence of many standard broadleaf weeds in the summer as well. Pre-emergent weed control works by inhibiting an enzyme necessary in the development of a new plant, causing it to die before it emerges in a lawn. Pre-emergent herbicides don’t work on plants that are already developed, making them safe for an established fescue lawn, but this also means that they do not treat pre-existing perennial weeds like goosegrass or dandelions that already have an established root system in the lawn.
Second, post-emergent weed control, also referred to as post-emergent herbicide, is used in the spring to treat the winter and spring broadleaf weeds that have already developed in the lawn. They can also be used as needed through the summer to spot treat any weeds that have continued to break through, but are generally halted during seeding time in the fall to prevent harming new fescue growth. There are many post-emergent weed control products available, so it’s necessary to read the label of each to make sure it covers the targeted weeds and is a selective herbicide that is safe for your fescue lawn. If you’re ever wanting to put down your own post-emergent weed control products to treat weeds, it’s a great idea to contact PPLM or your fertilization company to find out what available products they would recommend.
While the standard weeds we’ve discussed like most broadleaf weeds and crabgrass are typically covered in a spring weed control program like that of PPLM, there are some unique spring weeds that are more difficult, and therefore more expensive (go figure), to treat. These “special” weeds include wild violets, nutsedge, poa annua, bermuda grass, and kyllinga. Each of these weeds has its own unique susceptibility to certain herbicides, so each turf management company has its own policies on the control of these weeds. At PPLM, each lawn is evaluated individually to track the weeds present so that as needed ancillary treatments can be elected by homeowners based on their priorities and budget. In the event that a lawn is mostly difficult to treat weeds with little fescue, a total lawn renovation is usually recommended to start over with a clean slate.
What Homeowners Can Do to Reduce the Occurrence of Spring Weeds
At PPLM, we often get asked what homeowners can do to reduce the occurrence of spring weeds and further unwanted growth throughout the year. While a strong fertilization and spring weed control program provided by a professional company is a great asset to building a thick and healthy fescue lawn, there will always be a chance of weeds breaking through. As a result, any steps that a homeowner can take to set their lawn up for low weed success can make a great difference. Because one of the biggest deterrents to weeds is thick turf that blocks weeds from developing successfully, keeping your fescue lawn healthy is key to reducing weeds in your lawn. The two biggest factors here are mow height and proper watering.
When mowing your lawn, make sure that you are mowing at a high setting, usually around four inches. Fescue is healthiest when it is tall, and this taller height is not ideal for most spring weeds which are lower growing and desire direct sunlight. Additionally, proper mowing frequency is important for your lawn’s health as well. Mowing infrequently or inconsistently is far more stressful to your lawn than a regular weekly cut due to the amount of blade being taken off at once. A stressed lawn is a weak lawn, and spring weeds will take advantage of any weakness they can find.
Where watering is concerned, a finely tuned irrigation system is a surprisingly hard thing to come by. PPLM strongly recommends that every homeowner with an irrigation system understand how the controls work and measure how much water is being put out per zone for a given period of time. Fescue desires about one and a half inches of water per week during the growing season in addition to typical rainfall. Too much rain and watering creates an oversaturated lawn that drowns your fescue and breeds wetland spring weeds. Too little rain and watering dries your fescue out and causes it to go dormant, yielding ground to all of the aggressive summer weeds like crabgrass. Your turf management company is a great asset where watering advice is concerned, so please feel free to ask any questions that you have about your irrigation system or what is recommended at different times of the year.
Spring weeds are a constant nuisance for any homeowner desiring a uniform lawn, but they don’t have to be a nightmare every year. Remember, there is no such thing as a weed free yard; your lawn is an open environment, which means that there will always be some presence of weeds. A strong fertilization and spring weed control program that covers pre-emergent herbicide and post-emergent herbicide is going to be your greatest asset in preventing and eliminating most of the weeds in your lawn. Taking the proper steps as a homeowner by mowing and watering properly will also make a great difference in the battle for your lawn. Keep looking out for certain weeds that need to be addressed, keep yourself educated on day to day lawn care to be an active participant in your lawn maintenance investment, and keep your lawn looking Picture Perfect all season!
Lawn Care Services That PPLM Provides:
● – Tailored and Detailed Fertilization Programs
● – Weed Control
● – Aeration and Overseeding
● – Mosquito Control
● – Fungus Control
● – Grub Control
● – Nutsedge Control
● – Plus More…….
We provide service to most of RVA, including: Chesterfield, Prince George, Dinwiddie, Henrico, and New Kent counties; the cities of Richmond, Colonial Heights, Matoaca, Chester, Petersburg, Hopewell, Moseley, Midlothian, Short Pump, Mechanicsville, and Quinton; and neighborhoods like Brandy Oaks, Foxcreek, Harper’s Mill, Hampton Park, Magnolia Green, The Highlands, River’s Bend, Chesdin Landing, Patriot’s Landing, RounTrey, Founders Bridge, and others!
Contact us today for the chance to make your Lawn Picture Perfect: (804) 530-2540
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