The plant whose virtue still remains a mystery.
Until then, we have no choice but to hack them out of our yards without remorse.
Are those nasty weeds growing wild in your yard? It’s time you did something about them.
In which case, your first question will be, “How to get rid of weeds?”
Most people think that having a problem with weeds is something one would only face on a farm or rural communities with wide-open spaces.
However, these silent invaders also plague urban landscapes as well.
Before we can dive into the solution, you need to first get yourself educated about the different types of weeds that invade lawns in the United States.
Common Grass Weeds
If you’re the proud owner of a large swath of green around your home, you wouldn’t want pesky weeds creeping up and ruining the beauty of your pride and joy – your lawn.
But, before you can do anything about it, you will need to find out what weeds are native to the area you live in.
Weeds tend to share the same attributes that have given them a bad rap (and rightly so).
For instance, some of the characteristics that all weeds share are as follows:
- They can produce tens of thousands of seeds per plant.
- The seeds can survive in the soil for an extremely long time, which oftentimes means that they can go dormant and sprout suddenly once the conditions are right.
- They can grow quickly, even in areas where other plant life cannot survive.
- They have the ability to reproduce without seeds, which enables them to spread and take over large areas.
A common example of a garden weed that’s easily identifiable is the humble dandelion, which is able to adapt and multiply with ease under a range of environments.
Other examples of common weeds that are found in gardens are lambsquarters, purslane, and pigweed, which can also produce thousands of seeds per plant.
So, basically, a weed is a plant that’s growing where you don’t want it to.
Since no lawn is safe from weeds creeping in, it’s crucial to identify the type of lawn weed that you’re dealing with before you can take action.
Grassy Weeds vs Broadleaf Weeds
If you are an avid gardener, you might have noticed that not all weeds look alike.
In fact, some weeds appear like grass, while other types of weeds have got leaves.
Before you ask yourself, “How to Get Rid of Weed?” it’s important to know the difference between the two types of weeds.
The grass weeds that are found in the United States can be divided into two regions.
Grassy weeds such as goosegrass, dallisgrass, quackgrass, and crabgrass are found in northern parts of the US.
Goosegrass and dallisgrass are the only two grass weeds that are found in the southern parts of the US.
This does not mean that other grassy weeds such as creeping bentgrass and crabgrass cannot invade lawns there during the summer season.
Weeds can be divided into two sub-categories: grassy weeds and broadleaf weeds.
Common broadleaf weeds that you can identify in your lawn if you live in the northern US include dandelion, clover, spurge, and plantain, etc.
The one thing that these weeds have in common is their wide leaves, with some even sporting colorful flowers.
If you live in the southern US, then the common broadleaf weeds that you will have to deal with are wild onion, wild garlic, dandelion, clover, plantain, and spurge.
You might have also noticed that weeds do not always appear at the same time of year. For instance, some types of weeds might pop up early on, while others sprout up later on in the year.
These are also characteristics that are crucial to identify if you want to get rid of these uninvited guests.
Depending on the type of weed you have in your lawn, you will have to come up with a strategy to stop the weeds from taking over your lawn.
Identifying Common Lawn Weeds
For many people, identifying the various types of weeds around the lawn can be challenging, but it’s important to know this information to find ways to get rid of weeds.
Below is a short breakdown of the different types of broadleaf and grassy weeds that you might find in your yard and how to identify them:
- Wild Onion — These weeds grow in clumps and are found in flower beds or areas that are difficult to mow. Wild onion weeds can be identified by their thin, spear-like leaves.
- Wild Garlic — These weeds are identified by their slender, grass-like leaves and globe-like flower heads that appear at the top of the stem. They contain bulblets instead of flowers.
- Dandelion — This common lawn weed has a strong taproot with notched leaves and yellow flowers. Dandelion seeds are extremely light and can fly away in the wind, which is why it is common for people to blow on them and make a wish. Dandelion can grow up to 12 inches tall and 16 inches wide.
- Clover – This weed has three-lobe leaves frame with clusters of round white flowers. They usually grow for up to 8 to 10 inches tall.
- Plantain — Plantains are characterized by their flat leaves that form around a low rosette. These weeds can grow in lawns that are mostly moist and can grow up to 8 inches tall. Each plant can produce up to 15,000 seeds.
- Spurge — These weeds appear as green or purple and bluish leaves that form dense mats in an area of the lawn. They can grow up to 3 inches tall and tend to spread quickly.
- Bentgrass – Creeping bentgrass is identified by their lighter bluish-green color, with narrow and flat leaves that are rolled in the bud. Because of their appearance, these weeds tend to stand out in a lawn and can grow extremely thick and dense if not eradicated on time.
- Goosegrass — These weeds can be identified by their whitish color stems that appear flat. This is one of the toughest types of lawn weed to get rid of because of its ability to survive in extreme environments and heavy traffic.
- Dallisgrass — Dallisgrass can be identified as coarse-textured grass that spreads extremely quickly. These weeds have a grayish-green appearance, which makes them easily identifiable. They also have a membranous ligule, with a few sparse hairs that are present on the base of the leaf blade.
- Quackgrass — This type of weed appears with wheat-like flower spikes that usually appear as slender clumps of grassy foliage. These weeds can grow up to 3 feet tall.
- Crabgrass — This is another grassy weed that can quickly take over your lawn. Crabgrass grows anywhere its stem is able to make contact with the soil. The seed heads spread like four fingers and tend to grow to 18 inches tall. Crabgrass can be devastating for a lawn since each plant has the ability to produce up to 150,000 seeds.
How to Get Rid of Them?
Now that you have an idea of what these pesky weeds look like, it’s time to get down and dirty with the ways to get rid of these grassy and broadleaf weeds.
The following are some of the tips that you can use to get rid of lawn weeds manually or chemically, along with some tips that will help you prevent the weeds from growing and spreading further throughout your lawn.
Manual or mechanical weed control techniques can be highly effective in managing the weed population in your yard.
Manual weed control involves removing, injuring, or killing weeds to inhibit their unwanted growth in your lawn.
The following are some of the best ways to control the weed population using manual techniques.
Pulling or uprooting weeds is the oldest way of getting rid of floating and herbaceous weeds, including tree saplings and shrubs.
Since many species of weeds are able to re-sprout from root segments that are still stuck in the soil, weed pulling ensures that you can get rid of growing weeds, since you’ll be pulling out or uprooting the weeds from the root system.
Pulling weeds can be done by hand or with weed pulling tools that are designed to grip the stem and pull its roots.
Some of the weed-pulling tools that are commonly used include root talons and weed wrenches, both of which are effective at pulling out weeds from their roots.
While mulching can be used in small areas, it should be done carefully since mulching tends to stop the growth of native species as well.
It is also important to note that mulching is not going to be as effective when it comes to the removal of some perennial weeds.
A flame weeder is a wand that’s connected to a propane tank.
This allows you to carefully expose a weed to the flame to heat the plant tissue.
It is important to note that a flame weeder can only kill the weeds above the ground and will not affect the weed root.
Mowing your lawn can reduce seed production in weeds and can restrict spreading.
Mowing can also be extremely effective when removing annual weeds and is most effective when done before the weeds have a chance to seed.
That being said, it is important to know what type of weeds you are dealing with since some weeds tend to grow with more vigor once cut.
Soil solarization is also another effective way to get rid of weeds around the yard.
By covering the soil with a plastic bag, it traps solar radiation, causing the temperature in the soil to increase to a level that kills the weeds.
Soil solarization is most effective during warm summer months and when using a polyethylene plastic bag.
While using chemicals isn’t the ideal choice, considering their effect on the environment, chemicals do play a big role in having healthy soil and a lush green lawn.
The following are some of the ways in which you can use chemicals to get rid of the weeds in your lawn.
You can control weeds with herbicides by either using them before or after their seeds germinate.
While pre-emergent herbicides are effective in preventing the weeds from sprouting, post-emergent herbicides can be used later on to get rid of weeds from your lawn.
Herbicides can also be selective or non-selective.
For instance, a selective herbicide is able to kill some weeds, but not all, while a non-selective herbicide will kill the weeds, including any plants or grass that it comes in contact with.
This is why you need to know what type of herbicide you’re getting, depending on your requirements.
Using a Pre-Emergent Herbicide
A pre-emergent herbicide is usually applied in colder months to prevent the weed seeds from germinating.
However, this is not going to be effective if the weeds have already started to appear around your lawn.
It is advised to apply a pre-emergent herbicide from in the months of February and March to prevent weed growth during the summer, and then again between September and October to prevent weed growth during winter.
Using a Post-Emergent Herbicide
When it comes to ways on how to get rid of weed, you can also use a post-emergent herbicide. In fact, once the weeds start to appear in your lawn, the only way out will be by using a post-emergent herbicide.
You can easily find such products to use on your lawn during the spring and summer months.
Post-emergent herbicides can be divided into two types – systemic and contact.
- Systemic Herbicides – These herbicides are more effective with perennial weeds since they are absorbed directly into the plant and can spread throughout the plant for maximum results.
- Contact Herbicides – This type of herbicide is designed to kill any exposed parts of the plant and is more effective when it comes to getting rid of either annuals or smaller weeds.
It is important to note that with post-emergent herbicides, proper activation, and careful application of the herbicides is key.
Once you have identified the type of weeds that you have, you will need to carefully consider the rate of application, residual effects, and ways to prevent contamination, especially when using it on certain soils.
When using a post-emergent weed killer, its important to apply it when it’s not raining so that the herbicide is able to dry for at least 30 minutes.
Also, you don’t want to spray the post-emergent herbicide on windy days to avoid inhalation.
Ideally, it would be great if you didn’t have to deal with weeds creeping up through the grass in the first place. The following are some tips that you can use to keep lawn weeds at bay.
Select Clean Seeds
Whether you’re planting grass, vegetables, or ornamentals, it’s important to select certified seeds and weed-free plants.
Clean Your Tools
Keep the garden hoe, mower, spade, tiller, and any other garden tool clean and well maintained to prevent any weed seeds from spreading.
Pay attention to the area that’s surrounding the garden, flower beds, and lawn. Mow or mulch the area to keep weeds at bay.
You can also pull or dig up weeds once they do emerge.
Build a Barrier
For even better protection against lawn weeds, you can apply at least two to three inches of mulch or use black plastic bags to prevent weeds from growing.
Pay Attention to the Climate
The climate where you live is also a major factor when it comes to the health of your lawn.
This means you should only select those species of grass that are suitable for your climate to avoid any chances of weeds creeping in and taking over.
Additional Tips for Weed Removal
Make no mistake; taking care of your lawn is going to be a full-time job.
Having the perfect lawn is going to take a lot of time and dedication, but in the end, it pays off by giving you a front lawn that’s Instagram-worthy.
To improve your chances of getting that picture-perfect lawn sans weeds, here are a few more tips to roll off with:
Give Your Lawn a Yearly Facelift
It’s best to give your lawn an annual makeover to keep it looking lush and healthy.
As a rule of thumb, you should do this during spring if you’re using warm-season grasses or in the fall if you’re using cool-season grass.
Carry Out Regular Lawn Maintenance
It is important to maintain the general upkeep of your lawn.
This should be done according to the grass type you are using.
General lawn maintenance includes mowing, watering, and fertilizing the lawn to strengthen the grassroots.
Use High-Quality Seeds
Maintaining a healthy, lush lawn is going to be the number one defense against weeds.
Whether you are amending the soil or sowing new grass seeds, you should always invest in the best quality grass seeds.
You should also consider mixing your own soil amendments since the pre-mixed topsoil that you get from the landscape supply yard usually contains weeds.
My Conclusion On Getting Rid Of Weeds
It’s all about knowing the steps you need to take for each weed.
Take the time to analyze these weeds and do some research.
I’ve found myself having great results by just taking a little time.