When Do I Start Planning My Spring Landscaping Goals?


If you have big dreams for your landscape this spring/summer, now is a great time to map out what you want. While you may not know where to begin with your spring landscape preparations, you can rest assured knowing that Spring-Green is on the scene. We have compiled a mini guide to help you in your spring planning endeavors. 

What do I need to know about spring planning?

Start with the basics. There are certain universal and fundamental activities that you can take to prep your outdoor area for the upcoming warm seasons. Depending on the zone you are in, it might be too cold to do some of the things on this list. However, you can get prepared with materials, spot checks, and set dates on the calendar to begin as soon as temps drop.

Inspect. Take a walk around your property and check out the state of your trees and shrubs while looking for signs of damage or illness. You may need to remove some items that did not survive winter or trim back branches that are broken or damaged.  

Test. If you haven’t tested your soil in a few years, it’s time. Checking every two to three years for the proper pH balance and mix of nutrients can set you up for success in the springtime. Soil testing kits are usually available at your local nursery or your lawn care service can usually help with that. 

Fertilize. Now that you know the condition of your lawn, you are in a good spot to determine whether to fertilize or not too.  What you learned from your testing of the soil conditions can help you determine what you need to do regarding fertilizing. Here are some best practices to help you along the way. 

  • Choose a fertilizer that matches your needs based on your soil test. 
  • Make sure the timing matches the type of grass you have. Not all grasses should be fertilized in the spring. 
  • Choose a slow-release or controlled-release fertilizer to increase nutrient absorption.  
  • Follow instructions on how to use the fertilizer you choose for best results. 
  • Don’t overlook your trees and shrubs that can benefit from proper fertilization too. 
     

Weed. When the time is right, weeding is on the agenda for your springtime lawn prep. Start by raking and clearing debris then working on removing weeds.

Mulch. Spring is a great time to add a layer of mulch in your plant beds and around your trees at about an inch-thick layer to retain moisture in the soil, keep roots cool in the summer, and insulate them in the winter. 

Water. Well, maybe not yet. Get ready to water by inspecting your sprinkler system so it’s ready to go when the time is right.  


How do I avoid common landscaping mistakes? 

Planting things that are not good for your soil and climate. Be sure to select grasses, plants, flowers, trees, and shrubs that match your environment. A common mistake is to choose plants that will not thrive (or survive) in your zone. 
 

Starting without a plan. Jumping into your spring landscaping project without a plan can waste your time and your money. Layout your entire idea and what it will entail before you start for better chances of success. 
 

Not researching local pests. From rabbits to squirrels to insects, your local pests are attracted to certain plants and flowers. Avoiding their favorites or protecting your new garden from pests is a key step not to overlook. 
 

Ignoring attention to timing. Understanding when to plant, when to trim back and when to fertilize or water are essentials to helping your landscape thrive. 

Since 1977, Spring-Green has helped residents and businesses achieve their springtime landscaping goals – no matter how big or small. From routine, quality lawn care to creating lush landscapes, the pros at Spring-Green have you covered.  

Get started today with a free estimate. 

What to Know When Renovating Your Lawn

Many savvy homeowners are taking their lawncare into their own hands. Whether you’re renovating your yard to sale your home or want a healthier, greener lawn, Spring-Green has the knowledge you need to make it a success. From timing to tips to weed control, we’ll guide you through the details.

  • What are the benefits of renovating my lawn? By renovating your lawn, you are not only increasing your property value, but reducing the risk of soil erosion, groundwater impact, and helping improve the environment. For many of us today, being outside is the perfect vacation from indoors. Enjoy it more in a newly renovated yard.
  • When should I renovate my lawn? Timing matters. If you live in a colder climate, your lawn renovation should start before the winter goes into full force. If you live in a more tropical climate, you should wait until the rainy season has subsided. A good rule of thumb is to renovate your lawn at least, 45 days before the first frost
  • What will it cost to renovate my lawn? Setting a budget in any project is important. When working on your lawn, there are many DIY options to give you the results you desire but it can cost. Many products for lawn renovation can be picked up at your local home store. But be careful because using low cost products or seed may cost you more in the long run because you have to retreat or reseed due to failure of the initial application.
  • Should I outsource the work?  If renovating your lawn is not in your skillset, do not worry, Spring-Green has you covered.  Spring-Green works with you to achieve your lawn goals. They tailor their fertilization and weed prevention process to your specific lawns needs.

Step-by-step Tips for Renovating Your Lawn

  1. Dethatching – If you have thatch, you’ll need to clear it away. Thatching rakes may be needed if you have a severe thatch problem. By removing the thatch, you’ll be clearing space for the new grass roots to thrive in a healthier environment.
  2. Aerating – Aeration is creating tiny openings in the lawn that lets air, nutrients and water to reach down into the roots of the grass. This is an important step to help your new lawn flourish. Be sure to extract “plugs” that are two to three inches long to get the best results. Aeration should be done when soil is moist – not overly saturated and not completely dry. Be sure to make this service a part of your regular maintenance program. Good thing Spring-Green Lawn Care can aerate for you to help keep up maintenance.
  3. Seeding – The first step is to decide on what type of seed you want. Of course, you’ll want to take into consideration what works best for region and your soil conditions. Be sure to avoid the common mistake of not overseeding. Once you’ve done the dethatching and aerating, it’s time to seed using a hand spreader or lawn spreader for larger areas of the lawn.  It’s also suggested to use a Starter fertilizer to be used in conjunction with seeding.
  4. Weed Control – Controlling weeds is a top priority for your lawn renovation. Clear out the existing weeds and overgrowth and then set your strategy to keep them at bay. Start by applying quality fertilizer. This can be done while seeding or a few weeks after. You’ll need to do manual weeding until your new lawn has been mowed approximately three times, after which you can begin to use herbicides and weed killers.
  5. Watering – It’s mission-critical to keep your lawn hydrated during the lawn renovation process. Several light waterings throughout each day will be required to ensure the new seeds germinate. Once your new lawn is established, you can use the rule of thumb of about one inch of water per week. Be sure to factor in local rainfall numbers to this equation.
  6. Mowing – Once your new lawn has grown to a height of approximately two and a half inches to three and a half inches, you can begin mowing it. Be sure to remove only about one-third of vegetation each time you mow.

If it’s time for a lawn renovation, you’ll be set up for success with these tips from the lawn care experts at Spring Green. And, of course, if you need our help onsite – we’re here. Spring-Green has many specialties and services custom made for their community. With our core aeration process, we can open up your lawn by allowing more air, water, and nutrients to reach the spots that need it most. Our lawn fertilization and weed control process is tailor made to your area and environment. Here at Spring-Green, we even help maintain your irrigation system. So. before you begin your lawn renovation, reach out to Spring-Green for our expert advice and professional services. We’re here to help you get your lawn looking beautiful again. Contact us today or visit our website!

Which Grassy Weed is in My Lawn?

It is not uncommon for a customer to believe they have crabgrass in their lawn, when in fact, they may have one of several perennial uncontrollable grassy weeds growing in their lawn.  The difficulty is telling which grassy weed is present.  Without getting into a lot of detail, here are a few simple clues to tell which grassy weed may be growing in your lawn.

  • Crabgrass:  This annual grassy weed grows flat to the ground and it looks like it has been stepped on.  Its growth habit resembles the spokes of a wheel.  The leaf blades are light green in color.  The center of the plant may be tinged with purple, but not always so.  As the seed head develops, its shape resembles a bird’s foot.  It is usually found along driveways, sidewalks, and street edges. Since there are two species of crabgrass that grows in the Midwest – Large and Hairy, there may be hairs growing on the plants as well.
  • Coarse Fescue:  This perennial grassy weed is often called crabgrass as it seems to grow better in the summer and can be more noticeable during summer heat and drought conditions.  It will grow in isolated patches throughout a lawn or in areas that are drier.  Identifying characteristics of this plant include a clump-growth habit, prominent veins on the leaf blade and the leaf edge or margin is serrated.  If you run your finger down along the edge, it will feel sharp, like a serrated knife. 
    Improved varieties of this turfgrass have been cultivated due to its ability to withstand more heat and drought than traditional cool-season grasses like Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass.  The improved cultivars often referred to as turf-type tall fescue, can be found in many seed mixes that are sold throughout the Midwest. 
  • Quackgrass:  This is another common perennial grassy weed that usually grows in large patches.  The leaf blades are a lighter color than of other cool-season grasses and the blades are sharply pointed at the tip.  In order to properly identify this grass, you need to pull up a plant so that you can see the sheath (stem) and where the leaf blade meets the stem.  If you look closely where the leaf blade meets the sheath, you will see two little growths that resemble little fingers wrapping around the sheath.  These are called auricles and they are the main identifying characteristic of quackgrass.
    One other identifying characteristic of quackgrass is its root system of aggressively growing rhizomes that can grow for many feet underground before surfacing.  Even if you were successful removing much of the root system, even a small section left behind can develop into a new grassy weed.

There are control measures for these weeds, but coarse fescue and quackgrass require the use of non-selective weed control products that contain glyphosate and then reseeding the area once the plants have died.  This is best done in late summer and early fall. 

Crabgrass begins to die when temperatures start to cool, and the amount of sunlight reduces in the late summer and early fall. There are weed control products that can be applied to crabgrass before it gets too old.  The best way to prevent crabgrass in the future is to apply a crabgrass preventer in the spring and, above all else, mow at a height of 3 inches all season long. 

If you think you may have a problem with these grassy weeds, contact Spring-Green so that we can provide proper recommendations to help your lawn improve.

Getting To Know & Getting Rid of Invasive Plants

Invasive Plants - Dandelions

Invasive plants are just as they sound; invasive. They are invading a space that is not native to them. This doesn’t just mean they came from somewhere other than your geographic locale, it can mean that they will cause big trouble for your landscape. Not all invasive plants are bad, but knowing how to identify them and remove them if needed can be mission-critical to keeping your lawn and its surrounding landscapes healthy.

Spring-Green, the neighborhood lawn care specialists for over forty years, can guide you to the knowledge you need to protect your landscape against potential damage that invasive species can cause. Of course, we’re here for you every step of the way as you build the perfect and healthy outdoor oasis. So, let’s drill down on the definitions, signs, and best practices for dealing with invasive plants.

Test Your Invasive Plant Knowledge

  • The Definition – The official definition, as put out by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, for invasive plants is any organism that causes ecological or economic harm in a new environment in a region where it is not considered native. Invasive plants can range from fish to reptiles to (the focus of this guide) plants. Invasive plants can be introduced to an area by ship ballast water or accidental release. The most common way, however, is attributed to human transport.
  • Common Invasive Plants ­– Your region will determine which invasive plant species you should be on the lookout for, but it’s a good idea to get familiar with this list of common ones.
    •  Poison Ivy – Poison Ivy is known for the itchy rash it causes for most people and is definitely an invasive plant species that you’ll want to keep out of your garden. If you spot it, be sure to wear gloves and protective clothing when removing it from your yard.
    • Dandelions – Dandelion can be problematic because it can quickly take over your entire lawn. The commonly-recognized yellow flower blooms quickly, and its seeds can disperse in the wind. Next thing you know, your green lawn is overtaken by a field of yellow flowers.
    • Violets – Wild violets are hearty in most environments as well as add flair and color to your garden. If you don’t want them in your garden, however, you can remove by hand or with a spot spray weed killer.
    • Creeping Charlie – Creeping Charlie is also sometimes referred to as Ground Ivy. It is strong and vigorous and can overtake your garden creating a mat that smothers other plants. You can dig it up or treat it with herbicide, which will likely take several applications over several weeks.
    • Plantain – Plantain is a common garden weed that likes the dark, moist corners or your garden. It’s easy to get rid of by digging up the roots or with the use of a Dandelion weeder. 
    • Crabgrass – Crabgrass is easy to remove by hand, but if it’s not kept under control, it can become a full-time job to get rid of it. Crabgrass thrives in the heat of summer and can be kept at bay with spot herbicide applications.

Crab Grass is also Invasive Plants

The Problems They Cause – The issue with invasive plants can be large on a macro and micro level. Let’s explore some of those reasons why we shouldn’t let invasive plants into our landscape and some of the problems they can cause.

  • Economic impact – Beyond our own backyards, invasive species can have a deep impact on the economies they invade. Agriculture, forestry, and fishing can all be impacted when invasive species are left uncontrolled.
  • Environmental impact – Invasive species have been shown to have an extreme impact on the environments they enter. They can cause the extinction of native plants and animals, destroy the surrounding biodiversity and permanently alter natural habitats.
  • Impact on Your Garden – Not all invasive species are bad, but most can have a negative impact on your home or business landscape. With their survival resilience, they can overtake your native plants, trees, and grasses if not kept in check.

How to get rid of invasive plants – Getting rid of the invasive plants that have popped up in your garden is not rocket science, but it might require some hard work. Techniques will slightly vary depending on the type of invasive plant you’re faced with removing, but the following are some overarching ways to clear them out.

  • Pull them out at the roots manually. Pull them out by the roots and dispose of your invasive species, if you can. If they have overcome your garden, this might be a tall task – so start early.
  • Use garden machinery. Mowing, chainsaws, and weed whippers might all be useful in getting the invasive species out quicker. It can be hard to protect to your desired native plants, grasses, and shrubbery.
  • Apply herbicides or weed killers. Your local garden center will have a bevy of chemical applications to kill off your invasive plants. The key will be finding ones that are environmentally-friendly and applying a way to does not kill everything.
  • Hire a professional for the assist. Spring-Green professionals help homeowners every day find solutions to protect their gardens from invasive species as well as assistance with removing them if they get out of control.

Spring-Green is your neighborhood lawn care specialist. We’ve been helping local homeowners and businesses with all aspects of lawn care since 1977. The impact of invasive species can be unsightly, costly, and negatively impact our environment. Spring-Green can help you proactively avoid issues before they happen and get your garden out of trouble if invasive plant species find a stronghold there. It all starts with a phone call or an email.

Start your partnership with the professional lawn care team at Spring Green today.

Do It Yourself Lawn Care Worth It? Factors To Keep in Mind For the DIY Landscaper

lawn care professional

It’s safe to state that spring has finally arrived through much of the United States. The temperatures are on the rise, lawns are waking up from dormancy, trees and shrubs are leafing out and many of these plants are also producing flowers and the tulips, daffodils and other spring bulbs are blooming. It is also the time of year when advertisements for lawn care fertilizers and other control products are seen in the mail, newspapers and online.

If you use a professional lawn care service like Spring-Green to care for your lawn, you may start comparing the price you pay for that service to the prices advertised for different lawn care products and think it may be cheaper to do care for your lawn on your own. Caring for your lawn on your own can appear to be much less expensive than contracting with a professional company, but there are other important aspects of caring for your lawn that should be taken into consideration.

DIY Lawn Care Factors To Keep In Mind

• What products to apply?
• When to apply each product?
• What pest you are trying to control?
• Why each product should be applied?
• What is the size of the area being treated?
• How each product is applied?
• How much of each product to purchase?
• What equipment is needed to apply each product?

It is important to highlight a few of these points. Do you know how big your lawn is in square feet? Most products are applied as a set amount per 1,000 square feet. This can be in pounds or ounces per 1,000 square feet. If you don’t know the size of the area being treated you could either be adding too much product, which can lead to possible lawn damage, or not enough product, which can reduce the effectiveness of the product.

The second critical factor is knowing what type of weed you are treating, what products can and cannot be used on that plant and at what rate. This is especially true when it comes to different species of turfgrasses. The nutritional requirements for Bermuda grass is much higher than that of Centipede grass. In fact, too much fertilizer on a Centipede lawn could result in permanent lawn damage.

Timing in Lawn Care Maintenance

Timing is important.Fertilizing warm season grasses too late in the fall can lead to an increase in winter injury. On cool season turfgrasses, applying too high a rate of fertilizer during periods of stress may result in a decrease in performance and possibly an increase in disease activity.

You cannot effectively control grubs and pests without being able to identify the pest and know what part of its life cycle is the most damaging and at what stage control measures should take place. In regards to insects, does it have a complete or incomplete life cycle? When controlling weeds, are you trying to control a broadleaf weed or grass-like weed. Even lawn diseases have a life cycle, so you need to know if the disease is currently active.

You also must know what product is labelled to control that pest. Just because it’s an insect, it doesn’t mean that all insect control products are effective in controlling that bug. When controlling weeds, you need to know whether you should use a pre-emergent or post emergent product. You need to know if you should use a selective or a non-selective weed control product. For diseases, you need to know if you should apply a preventative or curative product.

There are several RTU or Ready-To-Use products on the market to control weeds, insects or diseases. Many times, these are the same products that the professional companies use, but are mixed in very small quantities, relative to the size of the container. If you are planning to spray an entire lawn for broadleaf weeds, a 16-ounce container is not going to be sufficient in size.

Why Hire Spring-Green Lawn Care?

At a minimum, if you plan to purchase the basic lawn care equipment to fertilize your lawn, spray weeds and control diseases and insects on ornamental shrubs, it will cost about $110.00 for a spreader, two 1-gallon sprayers and a hose end sprayer. After buying all the equipment, you still have to buy the fertilizers and control products.

The biggest advantage you have in doing your own lawn care is that you can pick the day to do the work, providing that it isn’t too hot, too cold, too wet or too windy. It may seem that it is cheaper to do the work yourself, but if you start adding up all the costs, including your time to do the work and the inconvenience factor, hiring a professional lawn care company like Spring-Green makes the most sense! Contact us to get started on your lawn care service this season!

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!

The Lawn Care Season Has Kicked-Off in the South

lawn care in the south now beginning

During the spring, I travel across the US to conduct training seminars for our great Field Staff and Customer Service Professionals in many of the states where Spring-Green does business. I started off in Columbia, SC, working with teams from North and South Carolina along with a team from Alabama.

All of these locations started their lawn care year or are getting ready to start within the next week. It may be early February, but if the weather is good, as it has been, these operations are getting a jump start on late winter weed control. This helps lessen weed populations before warm season grasses begin breaking dormancy and start growing again.

I had a chance to take a walk outside around the hotel where I am staying today and observed many weeds growing in the turfgrass around the building. These are not the type of weeds that start growing in the fall, also known as winter annuals, but are recently germinated weeds. Much of the south has been enjoying a mild, although recently stormy, winter. This allowed weeds to grow almost unchecked this winter, so steps need to be taken to control them.

weeds showing up in the south

The control methods include applications of both pre-emergent and post-emergent weed control products.

The difference between the two is fairly simple. A pre-emergent is applied to prevent weeds from germinating and a post-emergent is applied after the weed has germinated and is actively growing.

Not all weeds are prevented with an application of a pre-emergent. The primary weeds controlled by a pre-emergent are annual grassy weeds like Crabgrass, Foxtail and Goosegrass. Fortunately, these materials will also prevent many annual broadleaf weeds such as Spotted Spurge, Knotweed and Lespedeza from germinating as well.

A post-emergent weed control material is applied mainly on actively growing broadleaf weeds. There are post-emergent products that can also be used on many grassy weeds, but that is a blog post topic for another day. The important aspect of controlling weeds with a post-emergent product is that the weed has to be actively growing to get the best control. If it is too: cold, hot, dry or even wet, these conditions can affect the ability of the product to do its job. 

The owners that attended the training course today are well aware that the weather can change, but it is important that Spring-Green locations take advantage of each day that allows them the opportunity to work on their lawns.

If you have questions on weed control this winter, contact your neighborhood lawn care professional at Spring-Green.

Why Are There So Many Weeds This Year?

dandelion field

Depending on where you live in the US, weeds are out of control because there has been so much rain this year. Rain equals weeds; that is just a fact of life in lawn care. It just so happens that the number one service call for any lawn care company has to do with weeds.

Some weeds are easy to control, but others can be a real challenge. There are many ways that weeds can be controlled or eliminated, but why are some weeds more difficult than others?

 Weed Control: 5 reasons why is it not working?

  1. If you are spraying the weeds and the leaves are small, there may not be enough weed control applied, based on the size of the droplets coming from the spray equipment you are using.
  2. If the leaves are hairy, the weed control will sit on top of the hairs and evaporate before it has a chance to reach the leaf surface.
  3. If the weed has a waxy coating, like purslane or Virginia buttonweed, the weed control may roll off the leaf before it has a chance to be absorbed.
  4. If the weeds have an extensive root system, like Canada thistle, it allows the weed to regrow from the root systems that are not controlled.
  5. Some weeds have a very tough cuticle, or skin, like ground ivy or wild violets on their leaves and it is difficult for the weed control to penetrate.

weed1.1

 

Many perennial weeds can be controlled by applying weed control in the fall. This is especially true of wild violets, ground ivy and clover. In the fall, the weeds are sending carbohydrates down into the root system. By spraying in fall, even as late as November, the weed control material will be moved into the root system, preventing the weeds from growing the following year.

weeds

Pulling Weeds by Hand

There are a few annual weeds that you can hand pull to eliminate them, but the one aspect of weeds that make them so hardy is the extensive root system that they grow. In many cases, if you don’t get the majority of the root when pulling the weed, a new weed will regrow from the root that is left behind.  The main stems on many weeds will easily break off at the ground level when they are pulled and a new plant will regrow from what is left behind.

For those of you that live in areas of the US that are short on rain fall this year, weeds are still going to grow. They will not absorb the weed control product as readily as when there is adequate moisture. As for hand pulling, many weeds have adapted to grow if all types of environmental conditions due to their extensive root system. The tops of the plants may be gone, but the rest of the weed will survive to start growing again once the rain returns.

If your lawn is experiencing a weed problem, contact your local Spring-Green office for more information.

Weed Identification Guide: These Weeds Are the Worst

worst weeds

What are the worst weeds to have in your lawn? That is a difficult question to answer for the entire country, as certain weeds grow better in some areas than others. There are a few that seem to grow just about everywhere, so for now I’ll discuss them—and how to control them—in a brief weed identification guide. These are listed in no particular order, except being the ones I thought of first.

1. Wild Violet

wild violet weed identification

You either love them or hate them. It does have a pretty flower that can range in color from white to blue to purple. This weed prefers cool, moist shady areas, but will tolerate full sun. The difficulty in controlling this weed is its extensive root system. It has a deep taproot as well as the ability to produce above-ground roots called stolons and below-ground roots call rhizomes. Violets are extremely difficult to control and require multiple applications of broadleaf weed control products. The best time to control this plant is in the fall, after the first frost.

2. Ground Ivy

ground ivy weed identification

Ground Ivy is pretty easy to identify. It is a creeping winter perennial that can send its stolons snaking out through a lawn. This is where it gets some of its more common names such as Creeping Charlie or Creeping Jenny. It also likes moist, shady areas, but can grow in the full sun. Just like Wild Violets, it is very difficult to control, needs multiple applications, and is best controlled in the late fall.

3. Virginia Buttonweed

virginia buttonweed weed identification

Our weed identification guide continues with Virginia Buttonweed, which is probably the worst weed in the South and Southeast regions, but it can survive as far north as southern Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. It is a prostrate-growing perennial weed that can form large patches in home lawns, choking out the desired grasses. It mainly reproduces by seeds, but a new plant can grow from plant segments that are left behind from mowing or hand pulling.

4. Canada Thistles

canada thistles weed identification

There are numerous thistle species that can be found in home lawns, such as Bull Thistle, Musk Thistle, and Sow Thistle. To help with identification, almost all thistles have sharp, pointy spines either on the leaf margins, edges, or covering the entire leaf surface. Of all the different species of thistles, the worst one (in my opinion) is the Canada Thistle. The main reason for my designation of “worst weed” is that this is a perennial plant that produces extensive rhizomes that can grow three feet or more in length and quickly take over any lawn or landscape area. You may be able to control this weed when it is growing in your lawn, but if there are plants growing in surrounding areas, the rhizomes will send out a new crop of plants to take the place of those that were controlled. Thirty-seven states have listed Canada Thistle as a noxious weed.

5. Crabgrass

crabgrass weed identification

There are at least 3 species of crabgrass that can be found in residential lawns: Hairy, Smooth, and Egyptian crabgrass. Crabgrass grows very flat to the ground and spreads out, choking the desired grasses. It is an annual grassy weed that is the bane of many homeowners. It may not be as important to identify which type of crabgrass you have; what is important is that there are pre-emergent products that you can apply to help prevent it from germinating, and there are even products that you can apply to kill it if it has germinated in a lawn. One crabgrass plant can produce thousands of seeds to leave behind for the following year’s crop.

6. Dandelion

dandelion weed identification

Dandelion gets its name from the shape of the flower; it resembles the face of a lion. The most hated part of this weed is the white puffball seed head that it produces after it has flowered. Actually, the flower itself is somewhat attractive, and once it has bloomed and produced seeds, it is somewhat inconspicuous in a home lawn – unless you have a lot of them. Dandelions are perennial plants and can germinate from the numerous seeds that are spread by the wind.

7. Clover

clover weed identification

This is a plant that you either love or hate. At one time, people actually used clover as a lawn “grass.” It can be considered an indicator of low soil fertility. It has the ability to produce its own nitrogen on nodes that grow on its roots. It is a perennial plant that reproduces by stolons and seed. The flower is favored by several species of bees. It is another one of those difficult to control weeds that requires multiple applications for complete control.

There are literally hundreds of weeds that can grow in home lawns and I have just included 7 in this brief weed identification guide. The weeds that I listed can be found throughout the country with the exception of Virginia Buttonweed. The definition of a weed is “a plant growing out of place,” but you have to be the one that decides what “growing out of place” means to you.

If you do find there are several plants growing out of place in your yard, and you want to get rid of them, contact your local Spring-Green for a free estimate.

Weed Control Simplified: Kill Your Weeds, Not Your Lawn

lawn damage from weed control product

It’s warming up and lawns are growing once again, which unfortunately means the weeds are, too. Nothing detracts from the aesthetic beauty of a well-maintained lawn than seeing a bunch of puffball dandelions spread across it. Some people may like the bright yellow dandelions, but the flowers quickly turn into puffballs and spread seeds throughout the neighborhood. It can take as a little as a day to go from flower to puffball!

When I go to the hardware store on a Saturday morning, I often see one or two Joe Homeowners picking up bottles of lawn weed control products, scratching their heads and wondering which product to use. The “weed and grass killer” product they pick up will do the job, but their lawn will end up having dead spots. They may have killed the weeds in their lawn, but now they have to repair all those little spots where the grass died.

To Control Weeds, First Identify Weed Type

The definition of a weed is “a plant growing out of place.” So, broadleaf weeds like dandelions, clover, or thistles fit this description. Grassy weeds like bentgrass, common Bermuda grass, crabgrass, Nutsedge, etc., also match the description. The difference is that the control products that you want to use for broadleaf weeds are designed not to harm your desired grasses when used as instructed by the label directions. Grassy weeds are in the same classification of your desired grasses, so the majority of products that you use to control those plants will also damage or kill your desired grass as well.

Label Education

When looking for a lawn weed control product, the most important thing you need to do before purchasing it is to read the label. If you see the name “glyphosate” on the ingredient statement, you don’t want to use that product on your lawn unless you plan on repairing the dead spots in your lawn afterwards. Another important aspect is the amount of product to use when spraying your weeds. Don’t follow the old adage, “If a little is good, a lot is better.” If you purchase a concentrated product that is mixed in water, measure it according to the directions. When spraying you weeds, you don’t need to soak them down. Spraying too much can put the broadleaf weed into shock and it will stop absorbing the product before enough of it has been translocated into the plant, but the surrounding grass may be damaged. The same is true if you purchase a ready-to-use, pre-mixed product.

Spraying weeds may seem like an easy task, but you do need to exercise caution and read the label to make sure you are purchasing the correct product and that you mix it according to the label directions. Also be sure to wear the correct personal protective equipment, such as rubber gloves or boots, if the label so indicates.

Of course, the easiest thing to do is to contact a professional lawn care service like Spring-Green to do the work for you. We’ve been killing weeds and beautifying lawns for nearly 40 years, and we carry a number of professional, reliable products. Learn more about our weed control services!