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The Read on Weeds

Dog rolling in Dandelions

Are weeds stealing the show from your lawn’s spotlight? Don’t let your landscape’s summer debut be dimmed. There are many ways to eliminate weeds and invasive plants from your lawn. But first, let’s get an idea of what exactly “weeds” are.

Often referred to as “a plant in the wrong place,” weeds are plants that are undesired, whether in a sidewalk crack, in our gardens, and especially in our lawns. Lawn weeds belong to one of three categories:

Broadleaf Weeds: Tough, aggressive plants that take advantage of weaker areas of grass
Example: Dandelion, clover, ground ivy (sometimes called Creeping Charlie), oxalis, chickweed, dollar weed, henbit, plantain, thistle

Grassy Weeds: Poor or thin quality turf that can spread quickly
Example: Crabgrass, foxtail, annual bluegrass, quackgrass

Grass-like Weeds: Somewhat grass-like in appearance, leaves may be triangular and tube-like
Example: Nutsedge, wild onion, wild garlic

Any of these look familiar?

It is important to identify which weed is present because it determines which course of action or product to use. Annual weeds like crabgrass have shallow roots and can be hand-pulled, especially in early summer. Other perennial weeds, including dandelions, have strong roots and are more difficult to eliminate by hand-pulling alone. If even one part of their roots is left behind, the plant can regrow.

Using a spot-spray treatment product can be effective, especially if you don’t want to risk certain plants from growing back after hand-pulling. The label will indicate if the weed treatment product is the right type for your lawn and contains information on proper use. Always read the label before using a spot weed control product. Also, prevention products are effective at halting seeds from growing, especially crabgrass and foxtail.

Proper lawn care will make your grass stronger and more prepared to prevent weeds from growing.

  • Feed regularly: Using a fertilizer every 6 to 8 weeks will provide your grass with key nutrients during the growing season. Aerating and dethatching can also improve the health of your lawn.
  • Mow higher: All plants need sunlight. When grass is mowed higher, it shades weeds from the sun and prevents their growth.
  • Water as needed: Water during dry spells for healthy turf that will not only survive heat and drought, but also crowd out weeds.

Check out ConsumerEd.Org for more tips on how to maintain your home, lawn, and workplace.

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