Augusta, GA Lessons from the Lawn
Don't Get Stuck in the Weeds
All it takes is one pesky, unsightly weed to take away from the look of a well kept lawn. Sure, a dandelion is fun to let your child pick up and blow into the wind, but every little piece that gets blown away is another dandelion just waiting to take over your lawn. A lawn full of dandelions isn't exactly a pretty site to behold. Now if the dandelion was the only weed you had to worry about, then you wouldn't have much to worry about at all, but we all know a dandelion is just one of hundreds of different weeds that could be in your lawn.
A weed is considered any plant that takes away, or disrupts, the uniformity of your lawn. Weeds are often very opportunistic in that certain types of weeds survive in places where turf grass is weakest. Certain types of weeds that are very drought resistant will take hold in an area where there is poor watering and once they take root they will invade other parts of the lawn. Some weeds will actually grow tall in order to choke out turf grass by keeping it in constant shade. A different type of grass can even be considered a weed. If this is the case then what hope does anyone have of keeping their lawn weed free? Well in today's post, we are going to look at some of the worst weeds that we struggle with here in Augusta and how you can help keep them out of your lawn.
One of the most common and most difficult weeds to deal with in a lawn is crabgrass. This is a very strong type of weed that is more akin to turf grass that a traditional weed. It has a very dense root system and its seeds will lie in wait through the winter and wait for early spring to germinate and grow. This is a common type of weed found in new sod or in areas that have been recently covered in new sod. This is a difficult weed to control and once it is in your lawn in it is difficult to get rid of, The best way to deal with crabgrass is to prevent its growth with the use of pre-emergent herbicides. These can either be applied in a liquid form or bought in a pellet form and spread over your lawn, much like fertilizer. There are herbicides that "claim" to kill crabgrass but most over-the-counter herbicides aren't strong enough to kill crabgrass or they require you to buy bottle after bottle and to continually put out on your lawn, which will only weaken your turf grass and will allow the crabgrass to get stronger. Crabgrass can grow very quickly and can be a lawn's worst nightmare. If you see this growing in your lawn, be sure to start a regular lawn maintenance program and you may want to consider a pre-emergent treatment in either fall or early late winter.
The next culprit that we at Augusta Lawn Care and Maintenance see frequently is dallisgrass. This weed is like crabgrass because it closely resembles the structure of turf grass. It can grow very tall and grow very deep, strong roots. Dallisgrass can take over a lawn in a couple of years if left unchecked. It tends to grow in very dense clumps that set their roots deep in the soil. They have very long and wide leaf blades and can grow quite tall, tall enough to put your turf grass into the shade which only help the dallisgrass to grow. Because it grows into such a large plant it's able to steal nutrients from surrounding turf grass and before long there's little turf grass left. It grows quite quickly as well. There's little that can deal with this kind of weed so if you see it starting to grow in your lawn the best thing to do is to pull it out of the ground. Be warned though, this weed has deep, tough roots and it can live up to two years even after the weed is pulled from the ground. Another tip is to mow regularly. If you can stop the seeds from producing then you stand a chance to beat this weed.
We've been looking at some of the worst kinds of weeds you can deal with in lawn maintenance. Crabgrass and Dallisgrass are among the toughest weeds to get out of a lawn. Since we're on the subject of tough weeds (we will just deal with the other ones another day) lets's talk about one more weed that is a total headache; sedge. Sedge is actually the name of a whole family of weeds. There is yellow sedge, purple sedge, annual sedge, and the one we see here in Augusta most, nutsedge. Nutsedge has seed stems that it produces at the top of the plant that resemble tiny burrs. They are actually commonly mistaken for weeds we call sand spurs, but the seed heads they produce are actually easy to squish between your fingers. Anyways, the fact that they have seed heads isn't what makes them so tough. They also have tubers which grow in the soil and can produce a new plant in as little as seven days. If you are able to pull the weed out, then they are still likely to come back. The good thing about nutsedge is that it can't stand cold weather. They thrive in hot, wet environments, which is why you usually see them in the areas of your lawn that receive the most water. The best treatment for these weeds is to keep mowing your lawn. Mowing your lawn at least once a week is the best preventative of any kind of weed.
There are many different ways to control weeds. Sometimes it means putting out new sod and eliminating the open areas in your lawn. Sometimes it means a particular herbicide, which we will get into in later posts. But the tried and true best way to keep the weeds down is regular lawn maintenance. It's difficult to always make sure that the lawn is mowed at least once a week but the longer a lawn goes without being mowed the more likely it is that weeds are going to take root and cause you headaches.
Weed Control Beyond Regular Lawn Maintenance
Now for those of you saying, "I see weed control products at the store all the time for these weeds" let me mention a few things. ORTHO has a lot of different products. In fact, they have basically cornered the market on home pest and weed control. Other notable brands are Scotts and Pennington. They products they offer will help deal with most weeds. Having worked with one of these companies myself for many years, I know that the products they offer do provide results. The problem is that these over the counter products are much like over the counter medicine; they will only help control weeds to a certain extent and usually won't help if the weed has had plenty of time to grow, and will require you to buy more product than necessary to handle an area the size of your lawn. Trust me, you don't want to have to buy hundreds of spray bottles to cover your lawn in chemicals.
If your lawn is covered in weeds like Dallisgrass and Crabgrass then these over the counter products wont help much. There are concentrated versions of these products which can be used in larger spray bottles that you mix yourself. These can be useful in smaller yards, especially if you reside in a townhome or if your lawn is around one to two thousand square feet. Anything over that and these methods start to lose their effectiveness. In our next post, we will talk about some of the chemicals that are used in professional weed treatments and how you can actually become licensed to buy and spray the chemicals that the professionals use.
The best defense against weeds is knowledge and patience. Unless you're willing to spray your lawn with certain herbicides and pre-emergent chemicals to completely rid your lawn of weeds, sometimes it pays to trust your regular lawn maintenance program and, at times, get the gloves and pull some weeds. You can have a weed-free lawn, and with a little help from your team here at Augusta Lawn Care and Maintenance, it'll stay that way.
Until next time, friends!
- Your Local Lawn Professional
Until next time, friends!
- Your Local Lawn Professional