Healthy root establishment creates tall and dense grass blades to smother weeds. In addition, cutting your lawn to a minimum height of 2 inches helps to minimize weed growth. If you cut your lawn too short, sunlight penetrates the soil and helps weed seeds germinate. With sharp lawnmower blades, you create a crisp cut across all the blades to keep them healthy for future, vigorous growth.
But you need to carefully remove any portion of perennial weeds from the ground. Leftover root parts broken off from the main weed easily proliferate into new pesky plants. You may need to repeatedly hand-weed the turf of these perennials, especially if they had a chance to spread seed.
Grass struggling to grow from a new establishment cannot smother weeds. Because there is no grass seed that kills weeds, it may be necessary to use herbicides on weeds so that your grass has a chance to populate the planted area. Your new grass needs time to establish itself before any herbicides are applied – you could possibly kill off your new grass with too much chemical exposure.
Watering and Mowing
Applying a 2- to 3-inch grass clipping layer across your weeds does not typically smother them – weed foliage still has ample sunlight and soil resources to grow steadily. This smothering mulch technique, however, does help you prevent weed seed germination. Seeds that do not have access to sunlight cannot properly develop into hardy seedlings.
One of the best ways to smother weeds is to keep your soil healthy for thick grass growth. In general, your grass needs a soil pH value range between 6 and 7. With a slightly acidic range, some weed seeds cannot survive in these conditions. Proper fertilizing approximately three times each year keeps the soil prime for grass growth as well, according to the University of Rhode Island – sunlight cannot reach the soil where weed seeds germinate if the grass shades the soil. A fertilizer with a 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium is sufficient for most grass species.
You cannot smother weeds with a new grass establishment, whether from seed, sprigs or sod, since both species will compete for soil resources.
Some weed species are bound to invade your turf, so it is critical to remove these sprouts as soon as you find them, recommends University of Maryland. Neglecting even one weed causes stress to your grass as it steadily grows. Annual weeds do not create extensive root systems – hand-pulling them directly from the soil typically removes all traces of the plant.
Jerry’s yard is full of mature trees, which help shade his landscape. Fescue would be a great option for him, because it does well in partially shaded areas. The grass will require a bit more watering than Jerry’s current lawn, but he’ll get better results.
Paul suggests Jerry use a mixture of fescue — two types of tall fescue and also a creeping red fescue, which is extremely shade tolerant; in areas of complete shade, the red fescue will help fill in the bare spots.
Choose the Best Grass
What do you do when the greenest things in your lawn are weeds? Jerry Cunningham wonders the same thing, so Gardening by the Yard host Paul James comes to the rescue with answers. The overall approach: Choke the weeds out not with chemicals, but by creating a new lush lawn of healthy grass.
Aerating the soil brings oxygen to the soil and helps water seep farther down, which encourages more growth. Although there are aerating machines on the market, they’re noisy, smelly and a little too much for an average size lawn. Paul suggests a manual tool instead.
Tip: Paul uses this handy perforated shovel to sift the compost over an area. The shovel is also good for working in water gardens.
Use, weed and feed granules.
Or, I believe, Weed-B-gone spray kills weeds and most weedy grasses without harming desirable grass’s.
I actually started doing that as part of my exercise. Whenever I walk my dogs in the back I’ve been pulling off the flowers before they can set seed. It’s making a difference and now I can concentrate on feeding the grass.
But 2 years ago, I got one of those “let us check your lawn” ads from someone dedicated to synthetic chemicals and invited them to come over evaluate it. He admitted I had damn few weeds in my lawn and when I told him why, he just left.
Deb would be right it would be best to fertilize heavily or it would look really nasty by fall.
What weeds do you have?
It is the beginning of dandylion season here. My neighbors’ yards are full of them. Sure, I have a few. But a dozen is not hundreds. and mine are right on the border where I can’t stop some from blowing in.