THE FIRST DEFENSE TO CONTROLLING WEEDS – CLASSIFICATION, IDENTIFICATION & ELIMINATION
Weed classifications and weed identification are the first steps to successful weed control.
There are three main classifications of weeds:
- Annuals grow and produce seeds, then die within a single year. Some annuals may survive a second year in warmer climates. Annual are the easiest to kill.
- Biennials live for two years. The first year is vegetative development, and the second year is flowering and seed development.
- Perennials live from season to season and produce seeds annually.
Weed Identification & Characteristics
Anything growing in your lawn that isn’t part of your lawn’s normal growth can be considered a weed. Even flowers growing in the yard or grass can be regarded as a weed. However, botanically, there are three types of weeds:
Grassy Weed is identified by how it resembles grass in how it looks and grows, one leaf at a time. They are true grasses. Grassy weeds look like grass blades and are considered invasive when they show up in your lawn.
Examples include Crabgrass, Foxtail, Annual Bluegrass, and Goose Grass
Sedges also look and grow like grasses but are not grasses. Sedges have solid un-jointed stems and are usually found in wet areas. Sedges are aggressive rapid growers and very hard to control.
Examples Include: Yellow and Purple Nutsedge, Wild Onion or Garlic, and Star of Bethlehem
These are the most common found in gardens. Broadleafs are identified by leaves that appear broad and flat (not grassy or needle-like)
Examples include dandelion, clover, ground ivy (creeping Charlie), oxalis, chickweed, dollar weed, henbit, plantain, and thistle.
WHAT IS WEED CONTROL
Weed Control, by definition, is the botanical component of pest control, which attempts to stop weeds from reaching a mature stage of growth. All weeds, but particularly mature ones, can take over weak areas of your lawn and landscape.
Common weed control practices are soil cultivation, mulching, and herbicide application. The best way to control lawn weeds is to grow a lush and healthy lawn. But even plush and healthy lawns can and will have weeds. Fortunately, there are a few proven methods for reducing and controlling weeds.
Proven Weed Control Methods
Weed Control By Hand
- Manually removing unwanted weeds by hand or with garden tools is the most selective and environmentally friendly way to control weeds. Here are some tips to keep in mind when using this weed control method:
- It is much easier to remove them after a good rainfall.
- Remove a weed as soon as it shows up.
- Pull at the base, lifting out as much root as possible.
- For larger weeds with extensive roots, like thistles and dandelions, use a garden fork, spike, or narrow trowel.
Weed Control & Prevention By Herbicides
Manual weed removal isn’t a practical method for large areas or overgrown places with weeds. The best option may be to use herbicides. When done correctly, herbicides effectively combat weed invasion and eliminate weeds. The challenge for homeowners is correctly identifying the weed type in their yards and understanding the best herbicide type to use at the proper time of the year during a weeds growth cycle. There are two types of herbicides broken into two categories and broken down into two nest times. Using the wrong herbicide can damage and even kill healthy lawns.
There are two types of herbicides:
- Systemic herbicides enter the plant through the roots and leaves and travel through the inside of the plant.
- Contact herbicides kill from the outside and work their way into a plant. Contact herbicides kill the weed by reducing its ability to feed itself through photosynthesis.
Within these two categories, herbicides may also be selective or nonselective:
Selective herbicides kill only certain plants and only work when applied as directed. These products remove weeds without destroying the lawn where the weeds grow.
Nonselective herbicides kill all plants they come into contact with. These are best used when preparing to establish a new lawn. When used, all living vegetation can be removed from an area, which gives you a clean slate to work with.
Lastly, herbicides are either pre-emergent or post-emergent, and the application timing is crucial. Herbicide application too late or early only wastes the herbicide.
Pre-emergent herbicides are designed for application before the targeted weed germinates and are an effective preventative method for controlling weeds. Pre-emergent herbicides establish a chemical barrier that doesn’t kill established plants but is great when used for preventative measures. The protective barrier breaks down in six to eight weeks, requiring proper timing to be effective. It is a best practice to apply them early in the season. Use caution during application because pre-emergent weed control may harm some plants and turf grasses.
Post-emergent herbicides are designed to control weeds that are already growing. All contact weed killers are post-emergent. It is best to apply post-emergent later in the growing season, after weeds have grown but before they seed.
WHY CALL COASTAL LAWN PEST FOR YOUR WEED CONTROL NEEDS TODAY
The best defense is often a good offense when combating weeds. This means keeping your lawn thick and healthy to prevent weeds from having room to grow. We have extensive weed control expertise and offer selective herbicide spot treatments to stop even aggressive weeds. The Coastal Lawn & Pest team has been maintaining thick healthy lawns and controlling weeds in Southwest Florida since 2008. We are a family-owned and daily-operated company insured and fully licensed to provide weed control and pest management services for homeowners and businesses. To learn more about Coastal Lawn & Pest weed control programs at your home or business, complete our online request form or for the fastest response, call (239) 230-7020 today.