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.
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.
Good Soil Maintenance
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.
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.
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.
Here are some more things you can do to get the best results from your weed-killing efforts.
If flowering does occur, don’t let plants disperse seed. One Dandelion produces an average of 15,000 seeds, which can live up to six years in soil; one Curly Dock plant produces 100-60,000 seeds, which can survive as long as 17 years. Allow one plant to cast its seed, and you’ll discover the truth of the gardening adage, “One year’s seeding means seven years’ weeding.”
Attack weeds early in their growing seasons when growth is young and small. Don’t let annual weeds flower. If you don’t have time to pull plants, just yank blooms as they appear until you can finish the job.
Specialized weeding tools do make it easier to remove weeds. Hoes wipe out young seedlings quickly, as do tined cultivators. Short knives fit between paver stones. Dandelion weeders work like a charm. Investigate weeding tools at garden centers or online to discover the right tool for your weedy situation.
If you choose to use a herbicide, be sure it’s labeled for the weed you’re attacking. Also check that the weed killer won’t harm your grass or surrounding plants you want to keep. Always read and follow label instructions carefully. To learn more about the different types herbicides, read Killing Weeds: Begin With The Basics.
Spraying herbicide plays an important role when you’re clearing vegetation from an area, are dealing with a large number of weeds or weeds you can’t eradicate any other way.
As soon as perennial weeds sprout, it’s time to take action. With tap-rooted weeds such as Dandelion, pulling young plants improves your odds of removing the entire root.