Grass and flowers and bushes aren’t the only plants enjoying the changing seasons - weeds are also flourishing. Here's what to do about it.
Control & Management
Even if you’re starting to see some weeds emerging from the ground, it’s not too late. For broadleaf weeds such as clover and dandelion, spot treatments in mid to late spring can keep them from going to seed. Take care to read application instructions however and understand which chemicals you are using as some spot treatments can easily kill grass as well (weeds may be preferable to dead spots in your lawn).
Hand pulling weeds is also best done in spring. Not only is the soil more moist and easy to work with, but when perennial weeds such as dandelions are pulled young before they’re allowed to germinate, you are less likely to spread loose seeds while plucking them out of the ground. In addition, weeds which develop deep taproots are harder to pull once they are mature and root pieces left underground will grow new plants.
Weeds are nothing if not persistent; depending on the chemicals or techniques you use to rid your lawn of them in spring, you’ll want to encourage healthy grass to grow in their place. This may include using fertilizer, planting grass seed or replacing a section of sod.
Types of Weeds
There are hundreds of different weed varieties prevalent in Georgia, each with unique characteristics that can make them more challenging to remove. These unwanted plants fall into two primary categories: broadleaf weeds and grassy weeds.
- Asiatic Pennywort (Dollarweed)
- Florida Betony (Rattlesnake Weed)
- Annual Bluegrass
- Yellow Nutsedge (Yellow Nutgrass)
- Common Bermudagrass
- Fall Panicum (Witchgrass)
Crabgrass and other common weeds don't begin germinating until the soil temperature has reached 55 degrees fahrenheit for several consecutive days. If weeds have yet to break through the soil, pre-emergent herbicides can be applied to keep them from doing so. There are a variety of such weed killers which have varying levels of effectiveness based on weed type, timing and method of application. While some herbicides contain chemicals such as dithopyr and pendimethalin which will prevent all seeds from germinating (including grass seeds), others like siduron only prevent weeds from starting. Depending on the product you or your lawn service provider elect to use, grass seed may not be able to be applied for 6 - 12 weeks after herbicide treatment.
The best way to treat grassy weeds in your grass is to prevent them from taking root in the first place by following basic lawn care recommendations. Weeds are less likely to thrive in lawns where grass is healthy, thick and deeply rooted. Watering, mowing and fertilizing your lawn properly lays the foundation and pre emergent treatments such as lawn spraying can limit the likelihood of weed infestations. If you already have a weed issue, post emergent treatments are also available. Contact your lawn care provider to discuss options for your specific situation.
While you may be set when it comes to mowing and watering, lawn service professionals are a great resource for trickier jobs such as weed control and management in which chemicals may be required and mistakes costly.