Even if you properly maintain your lawn, weeds are practically inevitable and will somehow poke their heads out from the facet of your lawn. It can get pretty frustrating because they can ruin the neat and beautiful appearance of your lawn, making it look un-kept and unmaintained. Don’t be discouraged because there are ways to combat them, and you’re not the only one experiencing this.
It can get quite tiring and discouraging when you have to spend hours, carefully uprooting weeds from your lawn but combating these weeds are more manageable when you’re sure of what you’re doing.
Weeds can be wind-borne or carried in unknowingly by people or pets. You probably won’t be able to combat weeds fully because they will always come back, but you can take preventive and active methods to curb them for as long as you keep maintaining your lawn.
Weed is a general term with no specific classification. Weeds are not a specific type of plant but instead belong to a wide variety of any invading or threatening plant that competes with and challenge the grass on your lawn for its basic necessities like water, space, sunlight and even its nutrients. Some types of weeds are; algae, basket grass, bindii, blowfly grass, burr medic, creeping buttercup, dandelions, wild grasses, daises, amongst others that compete with your grass and can be pretty tiring because they’ll keep coming back.
Weeds can be categorized into three major groups, all of which have different characteristics.
The first group is a kind of weed that looks and grows like grass, and it is called “grassy weed”. This weed has grasslike leaves that grow one by one from the soil. This includes weeds like crabgrass, bluegrass, foxtail and so on.
The second group of weed is the wide leaf weed, which generally includes any weed with a wide and flat-leaf instead of a long grassy leaf. This type of weed is the easiest to notice because they look quite different from the typical grasses. This makes them unique and relatively noticeable. Some of these weeds include plants like chickweed, clover, dandelions, oxalis, ground ivy and so on.
The third and last classification of weeds is the weeds that are very ‘grasslike’ but have leaves that grow quite differently. These weeds usually have hollow leaves that at first sight, resemble grass but are not as flat. Some of these weeds are wild garlic/onions, and so on.
HOW TO SPOT WEEDS ON YOUR LAWN
Weeds are easily noticeable, especially if you keep a clean lawn because they differ in appearance from the grass on your lawn and may have different characteristics and behaviours in some situations. The simplest way to notice weeds is by keeping an eye out for flowers as most weeds produce flowers that are clearly different from grass.
Another way to easily spot these weeds is by paying attention to their different behaviours in comparison to the grass on your lawn. The main issue with the presence of weeds is that they try to dominate over your grass and compete with it for its nutrients and sunlight, amongst other things. This can degrade your lawn and make it look unhealthy. Due to the fact that they steal up most of your grass’s amenities and even take any available water before your grass has access to it, you may notice that during drought season, most parts of your lawn will turn brown, while the weeds remain green.
The alternative sign of the presence of weeds on your lawn is its patchiness. Weeds usually grow faster than the average grass, which gives your lawn, uneven patches. Sometimes, it could be their colour that gives them away as they may have a different texture or shade of green, and if you look closely, you will notice.
CAUSES OF WEEDS
Weeds are present in practically all soil but only pose a threat when they start to grow and dominate over your plant. Lawn weeds can stand constant mowing quite easily which allows them to set themselves up and keep growing fast till they spread all over your lawn through seeds or by basically growing faster to dominate over the grass of your lawn.
A major influence of weed growth is a constant disruption of the soil/ground. Surprisingly, turning and digging up weightier weeds or plants can expose concealed weeds to sunlight and water, which helps to support their germination.
Once you sight the growth of weeds on your lawn, you’d need to put in a substantial amount of time and effort into getting rid of the weeds. There are different ways to eradicate or at least reduce the growth rate of weed in your lawn, and each has its pros and cons. If you’re battling larger weeds like dandelions, you can uproot them by hand without necessarily using any form of chemicals.
Just take hold of the weed’s stem from its base, as close to the soil as possible and softly pull it out of the ground. Remember to pull it out slowly so that the stem of the weed doesn’t break, and leave it’s roots behind. Ensure to pull out the total system of the weed with care and patience.
If the weeds affecting your lawn are small, you probably shouldn’t uproot them by hand. Instead, you can use a specific weedkiller for lawns. Ensure that you purchase a weed killer that is particularly designed to kill weeds on grass/lawns. Using a general use weedkiller will end up killing your grass which will create more space for weeds to germinate once more. You can spray weed eliminator around the lawn, especially in weed areas, and this will help to take care of your weed situation. Sizeable weed infiltrated areas of your lawn are most difficult to get rid of especially if the weeds are dense and small plants like a blotch of wild grass or moss.
The best way to deal with such infested lawns is most likely through a blend of lawn moss and weed eliminating substance and lawn feed and through mixing lawn feed/fertilizer and grass safe weed eliminator. You can spread the mixture around or on the affected area of your lawn and let it be for about one or two weeks. As soon as the weeds are dead, you can rake the dead weeds out softly so as not to damage or destroy the grass. The lawn feed in the combination helps to support the grass with necessary nutrients and strengthens the grass of your lawn.
It is best to stop weeds from even germinating. It is easier to prevent them than to combat them. There are some maintenance tips that you can use to make it difficult for weeds to grow properly and reduce the amount of effort and time spent on removing weeds from your lawn.
By watering the lawn occasionally but intensely, you can make a huge difference to your lawn’s health and strengthen its resistance against weeds. When you water your lawn deeply, it helps your grassroots to grow deeply in the soil which in turn helps it to withstand drought periods and makes sure that it’s properly strengthened to cope with weeds on its own without much assistance.
If you water your lawn too frequently and not deep enough, it will lead to shallow root growth, and this can make your grass struggle during dry times and cause it to have weak spots that attract weeds. For thicker growth, you need deeper roots, and this will help to crowd out the weeds.
Mowing your grass at medium/tall height is another measure you can take to prevent the growth of weeds as it naturally wards off the weeds. For weeds to grow or survive, they need sunlight. When you cut your grass at a tall height, your grass will cover up and take most of the sunlight, which will prevent sunlight from getting to the weeds, making them sunlight deficient and thereby affect their growth.
Dumping uprooted weeds directly into the compost bin will allow the seeds on the weeds to grow fully nourished due to the nutrients from the decomposed heap in the compost bin and that would mean that you have another weed problem which is not the aim.
The greatest way to compost the weeds that have been uprooted from your lawn without giving their seeds the chance to germinate is by heating your compost to destroy them. This process has an added benefit of speeding up the decomposition process of the weed, making it easier for your compost bin.
There are a couple of ways to heat your compost, although some are more straightforward than others. A good way to do this is through solarization. When your compost is thoroughly decomposing, take out small clusters from the heap and place them in trash bags, preferably black and dump them out in the sun for a couple of days for them to heat up. This process is a great way to heat compost, although it takes quite a while.
One of the most efficient and fastest ways to destroy weed seeds in compost is an easy one, but it calls for the use of some equipment. An old crockpot that isn’t in use anymore will be perfect for this. Plug the crockpot inside the compost bin to warm up the batches of compost that you’ve set aside. Any weed will be destroyed easily at a heat level of 160-degrees.
Eliminating weeds doesn’t always have to be excruciating, as you may think. If you follow the steps and guide above, you should be able to deal with weeds accurately and easily. Once you can follow these steps and get rid of weeds, your lawn will be able to grow using it’s complete nutrients and maintaining a healthy condition with not as much effort.
The greatest way to save yourself time and extra effort that is used to combat weeds are by creating an environment were these weeds can’t even grow in the first place and uprooting and killing them as soon as you sight them. Remember to consider the health of your lawn before purchasing or using chemicals to kill the weeds.