Be Sure You Are Buying the Right Weed Control Product

finding the right products for you lawn

I was at my favorite store the other day, the local hardware store, and they already had their gardening supplies on display. I always wander through those aisles to see what products are new on the market for the new year.

I had to stop when I saw a new Round-Up product that I know is going to cause confusion to homeowners this spring. The new product is called Round-Up for Lawns and it is a lot different from the traditional Round-Up products that have been around for years.

The difference between the two different types of RoundUp:

  • RoundUp contains glyphosate, a non-selective herbicide that will control almost every plant on which it is applied.damaged lawn from using wrong product
  • RoundUp for Lawns does not contain glyphosate, but it does contain traditional selective broadleaf weed control products that can be applied on the labelled turf species without causing damage to the grass as long as the directions are followed. In other words, it will not harm your desired grasses as long as the label directions are followed.

I am fairly sure that people will get these two products mixed up. Someone will want to kill the grassy weeds growing in the cracks of the sidewalk, use RoundUp for Lawns and be disappointed with the results. Although, the new product contains products that will control many broadleaf weeds as well as crabgrass and nutsedge, it will not control many perennial grassy weeds like dallisgrass or quackgrass.

When I visit my local hardware store in the spring and I see the multitude of weekend warriors looking at the available weed control products, I have to resist the urge to ask “Is that what you really want to buy?”

Too many times I have seen lawns damaged when the wrong product was used, such as what is seen on the picture below.

damaged lawn from use of incorrect products - weed control

There are a lot of jokes made about men not taking the time to read directions, but in the case of many pest control products, reading the label can be the difference between success and failure.

Check the label to learn:

  • If the product is labelled for the type of turfgrass in your lawn
  • How to mix the product and type of application equipment needed
  • If the weed you are trying to control is included on the label
  • The weather conditons that will provide the best results
  • What the mowing and watering requirements are before and after the application.

Of course, the easiest thing to do is to contact your local Spring-Green office and sign-up for the Preferred Plus Lawn Care Program. Then you can be sure that right products will be applied at the right time by a licensed and trained professional. Contact your local Spring-Green office for a estimate today!

Where Do All The Weeds Come From?

who says weeds cant be controlledA typical lawn has to endure a large number of stresses from numerous sources, such as insects, diseases and weeds. It is said that a lawn is dynamic as there are always things happening. This is especially true with weeds.

Weeds can germinate throughout the growing season – spring, summer and fall, but also throughout the winter in the southern parts of the United States. Therefore making it seem like it is an unending battle to keep weeds from taking over your lawn.

4 ways weeds spread:

  1. Blowing: For the most part, new weeds come into a lawn and are blown in by the wind. If you think about a dandelion seed head, the seeds are carried in by the “parachute” that is attached to each individual seed. This enables the seeds to travel a long distance before landing in a lawn or landscape bed.
  2. Excrement: Birds can be another source for seed dispersal. They will eat the seeds, which can pass through their digestive system and be deposited on a lawn with a little bit of natural fertilizer to help it grow better. This is a common way for many invasive plants to spread, such as wild grapes.
  3. Rain: The wind blows seeds into many areas, including sidewalks and driveways. When it rains, these seeds will travel along pathways and end up along the edges. This is the main reason why weeds are often a problem along sidewalks and driveways.
  4. Carriers: Other seeds have small barbs that may get tangled in animal fur and will drop into your lawn when the animal scratches itself. Seeds can remain viable for many years.

In an article from National Geographic “A male date palm tree named Methuselah that sprouted from a 2,000-year-old seed nearly a decade ago is thriving today, according to the Israeli researcher who is cultivating the historic plant” (March 24, 2015). It is no wonder that seeds of today can survive for ten or twenty years, if not longer. All it takes is a chance for the weed seeds to receive enough sun, warmth and water to germinate.

If you have ever weeded your garden and removed all the weeds, you were proud of your accomplishment, but you know that the clean look will only last a few days. As the soil is turned over, there are dozens, if not hundreds of weed seeds that are brought to the surface. A little rain, sun and warmth is all it takes for a new crop to emerge.

weeds getting pulled from the garden

The old saying, “Nothing grows like a weed” is very true. Weeds have a short time to germinate, grow, and produce a flower and seed before dying. That is why Spring-Green guarantees our applications. We know that weeds can germinate between applications and we will come out to re-spray your lawn at no charge. All you have to do is give your local Spring-Green a call.

Why Do Weeds Grow Where They Grow?

weeds growing between bricks

Weeds are opportunistic plants and will grow just about anywhere they can find space to send down roots and send up their top growth. I am sure you have seen weeds growing in the cracks of sidewalks or along the seam between the street and the gutters.  You can even see weeds growing along expressways.

The same is true when it comes to weeds growing in your lawn. They will grow best in the places that provide the best conditions for them to germinate.

There are 100’s if not 1,000’s of weed seeds in any lawn, just waiting for the right conditions to germinate. 

Depending on the type of weed, you might find them in the following places:

  1. In hard, compacted soil
  2. Wet, loose soil
  3. Bright, sunny locations
  4. Shady locations
  5. Places where the grass may be thinned out due to insect or disease activity
  6. Places where excessive foot traffic has taken place

Weed growth is not limited to this list, but are still prime locations for weeds to germinate.

One place that weeds germinate always seems to be along sidewalks, driveways and street edges. If you think about it, these places can be the hottest spots in your yard. The sun heats up the driveway or sidewalk, which in turn dries out the soil and the turf begins to thin out. Once you give a weed a little bit of a chance, it will take advantage of the opportunity and it will germinate.

Weeds growing along the street

One of the best defenses against weeds is to mow your lawn high. If you live in the areas where cool-season grasses grow, you should be mowing your lawns between 3 to 4 inches. The reason behind this practice is that the longer grass blades will shade the ground underneath, preventing the sun from reaching the seed to heat it up and allowing it to germinate.

For those of you in the south, with the exception of St. Augustine grass, most grasses are mowed at 1½ to 2 inches. The advantage that these grasses have is their dense growth habit that prevents the sun from reaching down to the seeds. Weeds can still grow in areas where the grasses have thinned due to various reasons. Fertilizing your lawn and watering it to make sure it is growing properly will also help keep weeds from germinating.

Nothing beats proper mowing when it comes to preventing weed growth. Of course, if you are on Spring-Green’s lawn care program, we will take care of your controllable weeds when we service your lawn. The Weed Science Society of America claims that more than 200 species of weeds have grown resistant to common weed control products. Remember, for our full program customers, reapplying for broadleaf weeds is part of your program and provided at no charge to you. Contact your local Spring-Green for more information on our services.

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!