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prevent weed seeds from emerging in spring

If there is healthy grass, weeds will have less room to grow in the lawn. To promote a healthy lawn, reseed bald patches and fertilize if a soil suffers from nutrient deficiencies. By maintaining a healthy lawn, fewer weeds will arise. Nutri-Turf has the ideal balance of nutrients for all grass types and will keep the lawn lush.

There are always weed seeds that lie dormant in the soil. The seeds are waiting for the sunshine to start to germinate or be awoken from a long slumber. To avoid awakening the weed seeds, don’t disturb the soil. Disturbing the soil includes tilling and cultivating. But that seems somewhat impossible when trying to plant new flowers, plants or grass. When planting flowers or plants, sow the seeds above the ground in a small mound of topsoil or compost.

The tricky part is determining when to apply a pre-emergent because it must be applied before the weed seeds have time to germinate underground. The best way to know when to apply a pre-emergent is to make note of the date when you see the first weeds in the yard or garden. Then, mark your calendar 3 weeks before that date for next spring and apply the pre-emergent then.

4. Keep your plants close

An effective way to prevent weeds is by using a pre-emergent herbicide that will stop weed seeds from ever germinating but won’t kill existing plants and grasses.

Planting closely together will provide more shade to the soil below, which will prevent weed seeds from getting sunlight and allow less room for weeds to grow. You can usually reduce the recommended planting space on the packaging by about 25 percent. However, most spacing recommendations are based on the prediction that adjoining plants will not touch at their mature size, so follow the guidelines if you are planting plants that are prone to foliar diseases.

You can also start from scratch by using a non-selective herbicide. This will kill whatever it sprays. It is also recommended to use organic options to prevent harmful synthetic build up in the soil. A great option is Mirimichi Green Weed Control. It is organic, OMRI listed and will show results in 24 hours.

Spreading an organic barrier around plants will submerge weed seeds and prevent light from starting germination all while keeping your plants cool. Organic barriers are best such as mulches. Mulches can host crickets and carabid beetles, which will feed on weed seeds. To create the organic barrier, spread mulch 2 to 4 inches deep around your plant bed.

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea): This annual weed grows in low mats with reddish stems and oval-shaped succulent leaves. It becomes a more severe problem in the humid, hot days of later summer, but you may see early plants appear in spring. It is a fairly easy plant to prevent by application of a granular pre-emergent herbicide, and it is readily killed by spot treating with a post-emergent broadleaf herbicide. And it is quite easy to break off the plant at ground level, which will prevent it from flowering and setting seeds. This may be the best choice of all, as purslane is an exceedingly healthful plant that rivals spinach for sheer nutritional value. It can be eaten raw in salads or sauteed as a side dish. Naturally, it should not be harvested for eating if you have applied any herbicide in the area.

Beyond this, chemical herbicides come in two general categories: pre-emergent and post-emergent. A pre-emergent herbicide is a weed killer applied prior to the germination of the weed seed and the subsequent emergence of the weed seedling from the soil. Pre-emergent herbicides are sometimes applied in the late fall in warm-weather regions, but in cold-weather regions, they are usually applied in the early spring before the turf grasses have begun to actively grow. One advantage of pre-emergent weed killers is that they can prevent mid and late-summer weeds, such as plantains, before they even appear.

Post-emergence herbicides are a different class entirely. They are applied as weeds begin to appear in the lawn, as they must come into contact with actively growing leaves in order to do their work. These herbicides are generally applied at various intervals in late spring through summer, as weeds enter their periods of most intense growth.

Non-Chemical Alternatives

Dandelion (Taraxacum spp.): One homeowner’s lawn weed is another’s wildflower, and nowhere is this more true than with the colorful dandelion, an icon of late spring. Many a homeowner fumes over neighbors who allow this prolific annual plant to thrive, as a single flower head allowed to go to seed can blow many thousands of seeds around the neighborhood. This common weed/wildflower can be prevented by some pre-emergent herbicides, though the application needs to be quite thick. More appropriately, it can be spot treated with a post-emergent herbicide or very careful spot application of a broad-spectrum glyphosate-based plant killer. Try to kill this weed before it flowers and sets seeds.

Homeowners devoted to environmentally sound gardening practices are always on the lookout for organic, non-chemical means of dealing with lawn weeds. For pre-emergent lawn weed control, the only truly organic strategy is to use corn gluten meal.

Most post-emergent chemicals are considered selective herbicides, in that they are formulated to kill only certain classes of lawn plants while leaving desirable turf grasses untouched. There is another class of herbicides known as non-selective, which will kill any growing plant. The best-known of these is Round-Up, but there are other similar products, Nearly all of them contain a chemical known as glyphosate, well-known as a general plant killer. Glyphosate-based herbicides are sometimes carefully applied to spot-treat individual weeds that resist other methods, but the only time you would consider using major applications on a lawn is if you want to kill it off entirely prior to creating a new lawn through seeding or sodding. Plenty of people have ruined lawns by broadly applying glyphosate by mistake.

Wild Violets (Viola spp.) : This is another plant that more organically-minded gardeners may view as a wildflower, choosing to encourage rather than fight it. And it’s true the heart-shaped leaves and purple or white flowers can be quite attractive as a ground-cover. For areas where traditional turf grass won’t thrive, a ground cover dominated by wild violets is not a bad choice. But if you do decide to combat wild violets, they are best approached with a spot treatment of broadleaf herbicide. Fall is the best time for major treatment, but violets that pop up in the spring should be treated as you spot them. These clump-forming weeds are also easy to remove by hand if the ground is nice and moist. Some people have good luck coating the leaves with ordinary dish soap, which starves the plant of oxygen.