Control Weeds Now for a Better Summer Lawn
Summer seems a long way off, but fall is prime time for weed control. One of the most effective strategies is to stop weeds before they start with pre-emergent herbicides. As the name suggests, these products work by killing weeds before the seedlings emerge from the ground. Since many invasive weeds emerge in the fall, now is the time to apply.
Sure, you can wait and kill a weed once it’s visible, but weeds grow exponentially. If you treat now, fewer weeds sprout, producing fewer seeds, and the cycle continues. With pre-emergents now and again in spring, you will have made a significant dent your lawn’s weed population come summer.
When to Apply Pre-Emergent Herbicide
Because these herbicides don’t work on seeds or on plants that have already emerged, timing is important. Too early and the seeds won’t have germinated. Too late and the plants will already be up.
To control weeds like annual bluegrass, henbit and common chickweed, the Unviersity of Georgia (UGA) Extension Service recommends applying pre-emergents when temperatures fall between 65° and 70°F at night.
For spring weeds like crabgrass and goosegrass, re-apply in February or March before soil temperatures reach 55°F.
How to Apply
Pre-emergents are available in both spreadable granules and sprayable options. Both need to be applied evenly across the lawn to work effectively. Most homeowners find the granules easiest to apply, but if you opt for the sprayable type, be sure to read the instructions carefully and mix accurately.
According to the UGA Extension Service, pre-emergents will not harm most established turf grasses, flowers, shrubs and trees. WARNING:Pre-emergent herbicides can severely damage newly seeded lawns.If you have a new or freshly over-seeded lawn, wait until the grass has been established for a full year before applying pre-emergents.
Unfortunately there is no magic bullet capable of eradicating the endless variety of insidious and persistent weeds. Although pre-emergents will not win every battle against every weed, they should be the mainstay of your arsenal. For the most common invasive weeds, applying pre-emergent herbicides twice a year will go a long way toward keeping your lawn beautiful year round.
Be sure to review our other weed control tips on the NG Turf Resources Page.
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