Are you inviting weeds to live on your lawn? If you’re not practicing good lawn care, you are!
You can fix a weedy, thin or even patchy lawn just by providing good care and giving the lawn what it needs. While it takes some effort on your part, a beautiful lawn is well worth it.
What Causes Weedy Lawns?
Lawn weeds appear because the grass lacks proper care. If you’re not providing good, necessary lawn maintenance, you can’t expect to grow a lush, healthy lawn.
Thin lawns are an open invitation for weeds. Mowing your lawn correctly and at the right height keeps the lawn dense and helps prevent some weed growth.
Lawn weeds are usually in one of three broad categories:
- Annual weeds: Produce seeds in one season. Grasses, like crabgrass and witchgrass, are good examples.
- Biennial weeds: Produce seeds in one season. Wild carrot and thistle are good examples.
- Perennial weeds: Emerge, grow and produce roots that allow them to overwinter, become dormant and begin growing again the next spring. Dandelions are a good example.
You can take a little time to learn more about various types of lawn weeds and their control.
What Can You Do?
Proper care means doing a few things for your lawn during the growing season.
Dethatching and Aerating
Thatch is the layer of dead grass, roots and stems that build up lawn soil. A thin layer of thatch isn’t a big deal, but if you allow it to build up to 1/2 inch or thicker, it can block water from absorbing into the soil and reaching grass roots. Causes of thatch can include excess nitrogen or even too much water, but you can take care of thatch by using a cavex rake for small lawns. Larger lawns require you to use a vertical mower to cut through the thatch. Proper aeration also helps prevent thatch.
Aerating the soil means using hand or power tools to push a narrow tube into the soil, remove a short column of soil and leave an open hole. This process is particularly necessary on high-traffic lawns or certain soil types, like clay. How often you aerate and dethatch depend on your soil and other factors.
Timing is important when fertilizing your lawn because lawn fertilizers are applied to warm-season and cool-season grasses depending on their growth cycles. You can apply fertilizer to warm-season grasses in mid-spring through summer and cool-season grasses in late summer or fall.
Fertilizing at the appropriate times ensures your lawn gets the nutrients it needs. You can set up your own program for fertilizing your lawn based on your location and the type of grass growing on your property.
When and how to water your lawn depends on several factors, such the type of soil and grass that make up your lawn and the climate where you live.
You can use a few tests to determine if you lawn needs watered.
- Screwdriver test: If you can easily push a long screwdriver at least 6 inches into your lawn, it is most likely moist enough.
- Rolled grass: Look closely at your grass. If the leaf blades are rolled and grayish in color, then your soil is too dry.
Most lawns need about 1 ½ inches of water per week, but this can vary based on the factors above, so you need to learn more about proper watering practices to maintain a healthy lawn.
Once you understand proper lawn care, you can snuff out most of the weeds. While you might not be completely weed-free, a lush lawn is achievable!