Lawn Care Tips #4: Battling Broadleaf Weeds

Weeds are amazing plants. They are able to endure any harsh weather condition that occurs during spring, summer or fall and continue to grow. Winter cold does not seem to faze them, either. Unless they are a summer annual weed that dies off every fall anyway, lawn weeds will start growing again once the weather warms up.

The battle against weeds seems to be an unending one. Even if you follow all the right cultural practices of mowing high, watering on a regular basis and fertilizing during the growing season, weeds still have the ability to find that one little spot where the grass may not be growing as dense as other parts of the lawn and germinate. At this point, you have a choice in dealing with the weed:

• You can live with it
• You can try pulling it out
• You can spray it with a weed control product

What is a weed?

Simply put, a weed is a plant growing out of place. You determine your own definition of which plants you feel are growing out of place. To some people, a few weeds are not a concern. Some people like the looks of a lawn covered with the bright yellow flowers or dandelions. To them, dandelions are not “growing out of place.” To other people, it is an eyesore to see a field of dandelions and they need to be dealt with quickly. I think the problem is not so much the color of the flowers, but the inevitable change from flower to seed head or puffball that causes so much anguish. This process can take as little as one day to occur.

Life Cycle of a Weed

Weeds have several different life cycles. Weeds can live for one year (annuals), two years (biennials), or more than two years (perennials).

• Summer annual weeds germinate in the spring, grow vegetatively, produce a flower and then die with the cold weather of fall. These include knotweed, purslane and common ragweed. Winter annuals germinate in the fall, overwinter in a vegetative state, produce a flower in the spring and die with the warm weather of summer. These include common chickweed, shepherd’s purse and yellow rocket.

• Biennials generally germinate in the spring, grow vegetatively in the first year and then develop a flower the second year. Many thistles are biennials and so is wild carrot or Queen Anne’s lace.

• Perennials live longer than two years and include some more “notorious” weeds like dandelion, clover, ground ivy, Virginia Buttonweed and violets.

How to Handle Weeds in Your Lawn

How you want to deal with weeds is up to you. If you are a Spring-Green lawn care customer, you can call your local office and schedule a reapplication of weed control. In most cases, the application is at no charge.

If you are not, then you will have to deal with the weeds yourself. Most annual weeds can be hand pulled, but the majority of biennial and perennial weeds have deeper more extensive roots that require the use of a weed control spray.

NOTE: Be sure to choose the product that can be used on home lawns and does not include the words “…and Grass Control” in the name of the product. Otherwise, you could end up with a lawn that looks like the one in the third photo!