Tips for better weed management
The easiest way to stop weeds from invading your lawn and garden is preventing them in the first place. Proper cultural practices can be instrumental in discouraging weed establishment. Here are some helpful tips to achieve a beautiful, weed-free lawn and garden.
- Buy only high quality, certified grass seed. Cheaper brands contain more weed seeds. Read and compare grass seed labels and check guarantees for purity and the percentage of weed seed.
- Select a top-rated seed variety. Choose the one best suited for the amount of sunlight and traffic expected in the area, as well as its ability to withstand drought, insects and disease. An independent organization (NTEP) tests and evaluates hundreds of grass seed varieties each year. To learn which brands rank highest for your growing situation, visit www.ntep.org.
- Avoid light, frequent waterings or overwatering. Plants that receive deep, infrequent watering, generate extensive root systems. Strong roots foster thick, hearty plants and lawns that withstand stress, preventing invasions from pests, weeds and disease.
- Fertilize your lawns and gardens on a regular basis. Be sure to first test your soil to determine its pH and any soil amendments necessary to ensure ideal growing conditions. Determine which nutrients your plants need and the frequency required for proper feeding. If desired, contact your local county agricultural extension office or nearby garden center for advice specific to your area.
- Always cut lawns at the proper mowing height. Never cut off more than 1/3 of the grass blade at one time. Keep mower blades sharp to avoid tearing plant leaves. Scalping or mowing too closely will stress your lawn, while weeds thrive under these conditions. A dense, healthy, vigorous stand of grass will resist the intrusion of weeds.
- Properly cultivate lawns and gardens. By routinely tilling flower beds and aerifying lawns, you reduce compaction and thatch. This allows air, water and nutrients to flow freely through the soil and become more available to plants.
- Densely plant and generously mulch flowers, trees and ornamentals. By eliminating space and sunlight, weeds won't have the needed room or nutrients to gain a foothold in beds and gardens. Always be careful mulch does not come in contact with stems and trunks to avoid moisture and disease damage.
- Plant ground cover or landscape hard to grow areas. If weeds are a persistent problem and you have difficulty growing grass in certain areas of your yard, consider alternative plants or decorative material such as landscape rock. Check with your local garden center or landscaper for suggestions on what may work best to eliminate trouble spots.
- Keep weeds from sprouting and developing extensive root structures. Remove existing weeds by pulling or hoeing them or use an all-purpose weed killer of your choice. Then apply a preemergent control to prevent new weeds from germinating.