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If your perfect lawn is evenly coloured with an unbroken texture, you’ll want to know how to keep moss and lawn weeds at bay. Or you may have an existing problem and need to know how to get rid of weeds in your lawn and grow green grass. This blogpost is for you.

Seed head of the weed grass “annual meadow grass” – not to be confused with smooth stalked meadowgrass

What are weeds?

There are 2 types of plant on this planet. Broad leaved plants and grasses. Both have slightly different metabolisms which means that chemical controls can be made specific to one or the other. If you resort to using weedkiller on your lawn instead of removing lawn weeds by hand, make sure it’s one designed to kill ONLY broadleaved weeds.

If you have weed grasses in your lawn and you hate them, you’ve got a challenge on your hands. In a fine lawn, annual meadow grass (the most common weed grass) can look ghastly. In a utility lawn it’s less of a problem. Simply keep the lawn well fed and you’ll find that the AMG will blend with the other grasses over time. AMG doesn’t cope well with stress and if it’s hungry the leaves turn pale. That’s when they show up as lighter coloured dots on the lawn. Picking off any flowering stalks as soon as you see them and being consistent with your mowing regime will limit the spread.
We’ve blogged about Annual Meadow Grass in the past – here’s our post from December 2015

The common daisy, Bellis perennis, is often found growing in short grass. It’s a great plant for bees but not all lawn lovers welcome it.

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.

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.

Susan Johnston Carlson

Preemergence Herbicides

For those of you who are ready to fight the good fight, here’s a step-by-step guide that will help you get rid of weeds when they start growing on your lawn. (For those of you who want a jump start before weeds become a problem, read our guide on How to Prevent Weeds from Growing.)

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.

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.

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.