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grass seed fights weeds

The Good: The one major appeal is that it is fairly low maintenance. Zoysia grass also makes for a durable lawn as it is resistant to weeds, insects, and diseases that would be bad news for other types of grass. Zoysia is an extremely aggressive spreading grass that can literally choke out weeds. Zoysia is pleasant on the eyes and feet. It tends to have a soft, fine texture and is naturally low-growing.

Zoysia is a warm-season grass. Around here, in the Midwest, zoysia grass is a popular choice at golf courses, but not so much for homeowners. However, there are most definitely pros and cons of zoysia grass. The final decision ultimately comes down to what you personally value and strive for from your home lawn.

The Bad: While zoysia grass boasts a few attributes, there are many downsides. One drawback is that zoysia will not stay green year-round. zoysia grass will look its best for about three months of the year. Zoysia lawns lose the desired green hue around mid-autumn. Often, the lawn will stay brown well into Spring, which is a deal breaker for some. So, if year-round color is a must for you, you may want to think twice before choosing zoysia grass. Zoysia will not tolerate heavy traffic during these dormant periods. Another negative is the very poor shade tolerance under trees. Yards with sun and shade areas would require shade beds under trees or choosing a different type of grass seed to grow in shade.

The Ugly: The aggressive nature of zoysia can also be labeled invasive. Be prepared to deal with picky neighbors, should your zoysia lawn spread into their property. Zoysia grass is also prone to thatch problems, therefore routine annual de-thatching and aerification are required. Here in the Midwest, zoysia seed has a difficult time establishing because of our cool soil temperatures. Thus, most people who choose zoysia grass must plant it in plugs or sod during the summer months. This can get pricey. And lastly, zoysia grass sometimes takes two to three years to fill out and reach the desired density. It may be low maintenance, but if immediate results are what you want, zoysia grass may not be for you.

The Telescoping Crack Weeder ($9.95) from Lee Valley Tools removes grass and other weeds from crevices in patios and walkways. The L-shaped stainless-steel blade fits between bricks and other pavers to reach and scrape pesky plants. The aluminum handle adjusts from 28 to 45 in., which means you can weed kneeling or standing.

You also need to choose between selective and nonselective versions of systemic herbicides. Selective herbicides kill only certain weeds, while nonselective herbicides kill any green, growing plant, whether it’s a weed or not. Most broadleaf herbicides, including products like Weed-Away and Weed Warrior, are systemic and selective to kill broadleaf weeds only. They won’t kill weedy grasses.

If you use a herbicide, choose one that’s labeled as safe for the type of turf you’re growing and effective against the weeds you’ve got. The label states when and in which conditions to use the product. Some herbicides work only within a certain temperature range; others work only when applied at a specific time of year.

Pulling Weeds Permanently: Step 3

Weeding is easiest when the soil is moist. Tools like the dandelion digger help get at the root by probing deep into the soil. Once the weed is out, promptly reseed the bare spot; otherwise, new weeds will fill it in.

Susan Johnston Carlson

Catching perennial weeds early is crucial. Dandelions, for example, develop deep taproots that are hard to pull once they mature. Yank the entire plant, including the root—any root pieces left underground will grow new plants. If new sprouts grow, pull them repeatedly to eventually starve and kill the weed.

Once the weed and roots are out, smooth the soil, work in some compost, and patch the area with lawn seed. Keep the soil evenly moist until the grass is 1 inch high.