Lawns can be your home’s biggest bragging right or your home’s biggest value dropper. It all depends on how it looks. A crisp, well-maintained lawn that’s weed-free can easily add thousands of dollars to the value of a home. A yard that’s littered with weeds can get you fined by the local HOA and also reduce the value of your home.
If you’ve got a lawn with a serious weed problem, your main goal is to kill weeds, not grass. Of course, this is not always very easy to do. To understand the best course of action, you’re going to need to diagnose what needs to be done.
To figure out the right cure, you’re going to have to look at your lawn’s current state. Most heavily weeded lawns are that way because they are poorly watered, don’t have enough grass, or are poorly aerated.
Weeds tend to grow in unhealthy lawns, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a cure. A little prevention is worth a pound of cure, but so is knowing the basic facts about the problem.
The number of weeds you have will determine how to get rid of the weeds. If you have a couple of weeds, you might be able to pull them out and address them with herbicide. If you have a full lawn covered in weeds, lawn weed control will require a total overhaul.
Different types of weeds will need different pesticides. Some of the most common weeds you may run into fall into the following types:
- Grassy Weeds: These are grasses that you don’t want in your yard, such as crabgrass.
- Grass-Like Weeds: While not true grasses, these weeds tend to look a lot like grass. Things like wild onion and nutsedge will be in this category.
- Broad Leaf Weeds: You know how some weeds have broad, thick leaves? Dandelions and other weeds like it fit into this category.
A lot of lawns don’t really require a full overhaul. Sometimes, all you need to do is take better care of the lawn. Here’s what you can do to discourage weeds from growing in your yard for mild to moderate cases:
- Start by pulling out the weeds you see: Ensure that you pull out the entire root so that you do not end up with weeds that regrow.
- Apply a pre-emergent weed killer to your lawn, and wait for four weeks: This is going to kill any remaining weed seeds before you continue on your lawn rehab attempt.
- Use a tilling machine or rake to aerate your soil: In many cases, weeds tend to pop up when soil isn’t adequately aerated for grass growth. This is an excellent way to start working that angle and make your turf more hospitable to grass.
- Plant some more grass seeds and add a little bit of fertilizer on top: You would be surprised at how many weeds will start to vanish the moment that grass becomes easier to grow. Most weeds steal nutrients from grass. When there’s enough grass on your lawn, weed roots can’t take hold.
- Water your lawn frequently while your grass seeds germinate: A well-watered lawn is a healthy lawn, not to mention a weed-free lawn.
- Use a pre-emergent weed killer after your grass has grown in: A pre-emergent weed killer is a weed killer that attacks weeds before they sprout. So, this is a quick and easy way to strike before they grow.
Let’s say that you have a lawn that has a weed problem that is totally out of control—as in, weeds are everywhere. You will most likely need a full overhaul of your yard. Here’s how to do it:
- Start by using a weed killer on the weeds: If you can see the weeds on your lawn, you will need a post-emergent weed killer. This kills weeds, but not grass. If you can’t see the weeds but know they’re a problem, work with a pre-emergent killer instead.
- After the weeds turn brown and die, it’s time to rake and till your soil: This will remove additional weed roots and also aerate your lawn. Dispose of the weeds as necessary.
- To finish your soil conditioning, aerate and dethatch your lawn: If you need to use a dethatching rake, do so. At this point, you’re focusing on prepping your lawn for some new sod. Finish aeration using a core aerator for best results.
- Add soil amendment: You will need this to make your soil as inviting as possible for the sod.
- Lay down a new layer of sod: This will give you an instant lawn, weed-free.
Keeping a lawn weed-free is not just a one-time deal. It’s a marathon, and it’s one that you need to keep on top of for as long as possible. These tips below can make your efforts more long-lasting:
- Always keep on top of your watering and fertilizing schedule: Regularly planting grass seeds when you notice a bald patch growing can help crowd out any types of weeds you want to get rid of.
- Get the right weed killer and use it the right way: Make sure to choose a pre-emergent for preventative care and a post-emergent killer for your visible weeds. Application matters, and as long as you apply them the right way, they should kill weeds without killing your grass.
- Seed your lawn every fall, give your grass a short mow before winter hits, and hand-pick any weeds you see in spring: This seasonal schedule will help ensure that your lawn stays pristine for each season.
- Take note of which weeds seem to pester your lawn the most: Most weeds have a specific “kryptonite” that targets and kills them. Knowing the weed problem you’re dealing with makes it easier to find a better herbicide and prevent them from coming back.
- Check the type of grass you have: Believe it or not, the type of grass you have can play a role in your propensity for weeds. Make sure that your grass is suitable for your area. If it’s recommended for other terrains, this could be why your grass isn’t growing thick enough to keep weeds at bay.
There is such a tremendous amount of disappointment one can have when they see their lawn in a state of disarray. This is doubly true when you see dandelions, crabgrass, and wild garlic popping up on every corner of your yard.
As disheartening as it is, you shouldn’t give up on your lawn. No matter how bad your weed problem may be, there are ways to handle it and give you the lawn you want to love.