Alright guys. Getting rid of weeds 101. Here is how your do it! You have to look at your invaders, figure out how they are different from your turf grass, and attack the differences. Some of the differences we have that we can exploit can be found Below.
- Dicot vs Monocot. Grasses are monocots. Your broadleaf weeds are Dicots. Although Preemergent will help with your winter weeds, it isn’t necessary for the broadleaf invaders because we can use post emergent products that are designed to take care of 200 – 300 weeds in your yard. Weed and Feeds that you buy at your Box Store have post emergent in them and will be effective against your broad leaf weeds. That is the strategy. – Grasses are not Dicots, so use a product that only kills dicots. That is a bunch of different types of weeds! We can also use Post Emergent Products like Roundups that wipe out both. Products like roundup can be useful for wiping out everything and starting over or or treating bermuda while dormant. Zoysia and St Augustine don’t truly go dormant, so the old trick of using roundup when the grass goes dormant only works with your Bermuda.
2) Annual vs Perennial
Your annual plants bloom, make seed, and then perish all in one calendar year. Your perennials survive the winter and live many years such as a tree. The good thing about established grass is you don’t have to rely on it to seed to keep your yard healthy. After all it is a perennial. You can just keep feeding what is there and keep a beautiful lawn. This is where Pre-Emergent comes in. This strategy uses products that interfere with the early root development in YOUNG plants. That means your established turf is unaffected while anything new that tries to emerge is stopped in it’s tracks. This will work on both monocots and dicots. Crab grass, dallisgrass, bahia grass, fox tail, nut grass, etc are all monocots that can be a huge nuissance in your yard. Post Emergent won’t touch them as they are just grasses just as your turf. You need to PREVENT them from taking root in your yard or you will be stuck with for the entire summer unless you pluck them by hand, or find a selective herbicide which can be super expensive. For example, you can get rid of nutgrass without affecting your turf, but at a product cost of $15 per 1000 sq feet, and that doesn’t include labor. Pre-emergent is the way to go and much more affordable!
Your nuissance grasses like crab grass like to germinate when the soil is cool. I like to put it down when Temps start to hit the 70’s in Fall and the 50’s in Spring. A good treatment plan should utilize PREEMERGENT in fall and spring. If you do this, your yard is gong to be much easier to manage come early summer. It may not get everything, but it is going to get most of it, and then you do one round of post emergent for a beautiful summer yard! Sometimes it is difficult to identify the difference in the nuissance grasses, but the seed head tells all. Below see the seed head of Dallisgrass on the left and Crabgrass on the right.
Our summer grasses go Dormant in the winter, while some of our nuissance grasses are still vibrant. Now we can zap them! When your bermuda goes dormant, you can spot treat the problem spots with grass killer such as Roundup. It won’t hurt your Bermuda because it is asleep. Remember St Augustine and Zoysia don’t really go dormant, so keep Round up and products like Round up away! That trick only works on your Bermuda. PreEmergent along with spot treating adult nuissance grasses is how you get yourself a yard full of only desirable grasses in the summer! And especially for Bermuda when treated in in the winter!
4. Real Estate
IN order for weeds to germinate, they need a spot to do so. A thick turf helps control weeds. There is a lot of opportunity in a thin turf for invaders to occupy. And this is why we fertilize! We don’t fertilize brown grass! This is also why I prefer to mulch the grass clippings in vs bagging. Mulching a) is a natural fertilizer and b) occupies space between the blades. Mulching helps weeds in your lawn just as it does weeds in your flower bed. Mulch don’t bag!
Remember dormant grass doesn’t eat. We wait for grass to turn green before applying fertilizer. I see lots of customers put down weed and feed on dormant grass. It isn’t a horrible idea. Just remember you are not feeding your grass as it isn’t eating yet. So if you put weed and feed down to early, you will get benefit out of the weed, but not the feed. And this is why I like to do them separately. I spray Post Emergent to get rid of any weeds the preemergent misses, and then feed the grass with Fertilizer about two to three weeks later. If I have a customer that gets me late in the game, I have used the weed and feed combo with success. Just remember. If you are going to use a combination Weed and Feed, wait for green grass to get the best results.
So there you go. Fighting weeds 101. Preemergent to interfere with root growth during low temperature times – Fall and Spring. Post Emergent products to deal with any broad leaf weeds (dicotyledons) that survive preemergent treatments. Fertilizer to make a thick turf. Mulching to occupy real estate between grass blades. And that is how you do it folks. And I can help you get that perfect yard everybody wants!