When it comes to looking after your lawn, one of the biggest issues is weeds. They can take over an entire garden in no time and make things very difficult for you. They can affect the growth of plants you want to be there and can end up being incredibly invasive.
On top of the ways, they affect the health of your lawn they can also ruin the aesthetic by being eyesores and can spread incredibly quickly, dominating your view of your lawn.
With weeds being as problematic as they are, there are many solutions being thrown around, and it can be hard to wrap your head around what the best way to deal with them is.
Some people recommend fertilizer while some dissuade people from using it. Some people only recommend natural solutions while some people argue that these methods are lengthy and ineffective.
And some people recommend herbicides while there are just as many people saying these do more harm than good and can lead to an unhealthy lawn.
With all these debates present it can be incredibly hard to know what to do when it comes to dealing with weeds.
So in this guide, we are going to go over all the different methods recommended and evaluate them, so you know what will work best for you and what you should try when it comes to tackling weeds.
But before this, you need to know your enemy to know how to deal with them. Let’s go over the common types of weeds, so you can identify what you need to look out for.
Common Types Of Weeds You Will Encounter
When it comes to dealing with weeds in your garden there are three main categorizations you will be dealing with; broadleaf, grassy, and grass-like.
Broadleaf weeds are those that have leaves that are flat or lobed rather than pointy like grasses. These include dandelions, clover, chickweed, ground ivy, and others.
Broadleaf weeds tend to grow faster than grasses but slower than grass-like weeds and luckily require a lot less maintenance. They are also much easier to identify, making it a lot easier to take preventative measures when the problem gets out of hand.
Grassy weeds are those that have long thin stems that grow upwards and not downwards, similar to their namesake, grass. These include crabgrass, foxtails, and others.
Grassy weeds tend to grow at a much slower rate than broadleaf weeds but are unfortunately much harder to control.
As well as this, it is much harder to take preventative measures, especially for casual gardeners, as they are much harder to identify due to their similarities to standard grass.
Grass-like weeds are those that have a mixture of both broadleaf and grassy characteristics. This includes bindweeds, couch grass, and others.
Grass-like weeds are somewhere in between grass and broadleaf weeds in terms of speed of growth and difficulty of identification.
While they are harder to identify than broadleaf weeds, they are still easier to spot than grassy weeds, which makes them a bit easier to tackle. They are usually more tube-shaped than grassy weeds and can include plants like wild garlic and onion.
Now you know what kind of weeds you are on the lookout for you can start considering different methods of treatment to get rid of them!
Considerations To Make When Getting Rid Of Weeds In Your Lawn
Before we get to assessing the methods of weed treatment, there are some considerations worth making.
How To Maintain A Healthy Lawn
A priority is to keep a healthy lawn to dissuade the growth of weeds and promote the health of the plants you want to be there with their growth. If you keep your lawn healthy you will not have to spend nearly as much time worrying about weeds.
The best way to do this is to maintain a nice thick grass coverage, keeping the grass healthier than any weeds trying to out-grow them. As we all know, most plants and by extension, weeds, need sunlight to grow and thrive.
So if your grass is thick and healthy, the weeds that try and damage them will not easily be able to reach sunlight and will therefore struggle to take control.
You can keep a healthy thick lawn by doing a few things. Keep control of factors you have control over like fertilizing your lawn as often as necessary, controlling pet activity on your lawn, not overusing or wholly avoiding chemical activity, and not over-mowing your lawn.
If you mow your lawn, especially too low, this will make it significantly easier for the weeds to reach sunlight and thrive.
Keep in mind that a healthier lawn is easier to maintain than an unhealthy one.
Natural Treatment Or Chemical Treatment?
When it comes to weed treatment, the default assumption is to use a chemical treatment to deal with the problem. While this feels like a natural assumption it should not be left unchallenged.
If you decide to use chemicals to treat your weeds then you should think carefully before using them. The first thing to consider is whether you really need to use chemicals.
If you feel like you don’t need to use chemicals to get rid of weeds then you might find yourself spending a lot of money on something that isn’t actually needed, but also something that could end up damaging your lawn.
If you do choose to use chemicals, then you should only use them when absolutely necessary. You should also avoid using herbicides that contain glyphosate because of its negative impact on human health.
Not just this specific component though, all herbicides have the possibility to be damaging to people, animals, and wildlife. So make sure to keep your environmental impact in mind.
If you are only using harsh chemicals for a slight aesthetic bonus, you are most likely doing more damage in the long run just for a short-lived reward.
There are many other ways to get rid of weeds without having to resort to chemicals so do not immediately resort to this just because it may seem easier.
Now you have considered these factors, let’s look at the different methods of dealing with weeds!
Natural Methods For Dealing With Weeds
The best way to stop weeds from becoming a recurring problem is to keep your lawn well-watered and well-fertilized. Do not confuse this with over-watered and over-fertilized as these can be damaging and even promote weed growth.
When you see weeds growing, especially something easy to deal with like a broadleaf style weed, the best quick fix is to remove the weed as soon as possible, root included, before they can spread and cause more damage.
Weeds like dandelions are famous for how easily they can spread with their spores, but if you catch them ahead of time, they become significantly less problematic.
When mowing your lawn, as previously mentioned, it is best to keep the grass length higher than shorter to stop the chance of underlying weeds from growing.
The best length is somewhere between a minimum of 2 inches to ensure enough length but a maximum of 4 inches, so it is still easy to maintain and look after. Keeping on top of mowing is the best regular method of preventing weeds.
Make sure when fertilizing to get a fertilizer that is suited for your soil type as the wrong type can be highly ineffective and a waste of an investment. But if you fertilize your soil around twice a year with a suited fertilizer you will greatly aid the health of your lawn.
But if these natural preventative methods are not working for you, or if you already have weeds you want to remove, what are some natural methods of weed removal that are worth trying?
Natural Methods For Weed Removal
There are a few natural methods of creating a herbicide using ingredients you already own to kill weeds.
The most common methods use vinegar because of its high concentration of acetic acid which is a natural herbicide, so make sure to avoid using vinegar that does not include this vital component.
The basic method used is to combine vinegar in a spray bottle with a couple of drops of dishwasher soap and to mix thoroughly to make sure the vinegar is broken up for ease of use. After this just spray on problem areas, and it should deal with the weeds.
If you want a method that completely sterilizes the soil, making it unusable, but to completely destroy the weeds, you can do the same method but before adding the soap, thoroughly mix in a cheap salt (a ratio of 2 cups per gallon of vinegar) and use this on the problem area.
But keep in mind that this will completely kill any grass in this area as well.
Chemical Methods For Dealing With Weeds
If you have tried absolutely every natural method, keeping in line with preventative methods and up keeping a healthy lawn, but weeds still persist, chemical herbicides are worth trying if you do not want to contact a professional.
There are lots of herbicides on the market and some are cheaper and some are more expensive; this is usually for a reason.
These chemicals are going on your lawn and can directly impact the worth of your property, so make sure to thoroughly research what you are going to use and be careful.
When using chemicals, this is not a process to rush, and while it may feel like you need to act as soon as possible, it is not worth permanently damaging your property to deal with a small problem.
And if you think you really have an emergency it is probably much more effective to use a professional.
When picking a herbicide there are a lot of factors to keep in mind.
Some herbicides are designed for a certain soil type, while some are designed for a specific type of grass, and some are specific to both of these so make sure you know what categorization your lawn falls under.
There are also some herbicides that only work under certain temperature requirements and if it does not fall under these requirements, you are simply pouring chemicals on your garden, so make sure your herbicide is in season.
Also, keep in mind the weed guide at the start of this article, if you know what kind of weed you are dealing with, you can find a herbicide that is more specifically designed to deal with this type of weed, meaning you will get quicker better results without using a probably more damaging general herbicide.
When you have picked your herbicide, make sure you are following the attached instructions word for word. The manufacturers know they are dealing with powerful chemicals and will give you precise instructions to make sure their product is effective.
Some herbicides are also sold in concentrate and need to be diluted before use, if you miss this step, you will probably get severe results. Also, if you think your problem is not too rough then diluting the herbicide is always a valid method to avoid too much damage.
Just keep in mind to stay careful when using herbicides. These chemicals can be very harmful in excess, should be treated as a last resort, and should be used sparingly.
Keep in mind your environmental impact and how you can affect biodiversity when using these products.
The best way to maintain a healthy lawn is by maintaining a healthy environment around your home. This means having a clean yard, keeping out any pests or animals from entering your property, and avoiding anything toxic.
Keep in mind all the advice given here, and you are guaranteed to have a healthier lawn in the long run!