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Entries in weed control (5)


Starting out the lawn care program for 2013

This is a very important time for your lawn- how you treat your lawn right now will set the tone for how your lawn looks for the next 6 months.

First, you NEED to address any weeds that have already emerged from the ground. These are cool season weeds such as chickweed, henbit, etc. These are easy to control RIGHT NOW with a broadleaf herbicide treatment. If you wait another month when these weeds are in full bloom and growing, they are much more difficult to control.

Next, you want to apply a pre-emergent herbicide (crabgrass preventer) to the lawn before soil temperatures reach 55 degrees (crabgrass can germinate once soil temps reach 57 degrees). As I write this on 2/28 soil temps are still in the upper 40's so we still have a few weeks of being in the window. Typically late February to mid March is a good time to do this treatment. Its a granular application that combines the herbicide with fertilizer to provide a feeding for your existing turf. 

Other considerations to address are taking care of any bare spots in the lawn. If seeding is required, you want to do that in early February so you can still get some pre-emergent out in late March/early April. Keep in mind though, you won't have the best protection from crabgrass is you take this approach.

If you have issues with poa annua weeds in spring, well there really is'nt a great approach to fixing at this time of the year. If it really bothers you and don't mind paying the extra money, you can re-sod these areas. Otherwise, you should just live with it for another 6 weeks until it goes away on its own.



The last few years Nutsedge has been a weed that has invaded our lawns and beds due to the ideal conditions for it to thrive. Nutsedge does well in hot weather and takes off when we have a wet spring, so we've seen it get worse and worse over the last few years.

Nutsedge grows faster than your fescue grass so it will stand out as a different shade of green growing taller than the grass. The leaves look like a monkey grass blade: long and tapering to a point.

Nutsedge can be treated with a specific herbicide that can be sprayed during the summer. This weed can be difficult to control and it usually takes at least 2 applications to fully kill it off. The challenge we run into is that our tall fescue typically is under some stress during the summer because of heat/drought so we don't want to put too much herbicide down at once to add stress to our turf. It just takes patience and diligence to manage the nutsedge.



Grassy Lawn Weeds in Charlotte NC

Now that the usual spring weeds (like clover, chickweed, etc) have been controlled by all of the great lawn care herbicide products available on the market, we are left with lush and thriving fescue lawns. BUT WAIT! We still see some areas of "different" grasses growing in our deep green fescue lawn.

Unfortunately, we still have grassy weeds that cannot be controlled by a selective herbicide that won't also kill the good fescue grass. Here is a list of the most common we are seeing right now.

Poa trivialisPoa trivialis is a perennial weed that will come back each year. It stands out in fescue lawns as a lighter shade of green and grows a bit faster/taller than fescue. It favors shady and moist areas. Seed from this weed can lay dormant for years and germinate when conditions become favorable and there is low competition. The best treatment for these patches of weed is to apply Round Up to the plant and replace with new fescue sod. 

 Annual ryegrass

Annual ryegrass usually is the result of using hay straw during the fall season when mulching a newly renovated turf area. This weed is a light shade of green and quickly grows taller than fescue a day or two after mowing. Annual ryegrass will die off as we get into hot temperatures in May/June. Its best control is to mow it frequently so it does not produce new seed heads and let it die off on its own.



Spring- green grass and weeds!

Some very important lawn care treatments will take place over the next month. We will put out the first pre-emergent treatment the first week of March. Right now soil temps are in the low 50's, crabgrass can germinate when soil temps get around 60 degrees. This year we will be using Barricade pre-emergent for crabgrass control, its known as the strongest (and most expensive) pre-emergent product. I will also be spraying lawns to get rid of any broadleaf weeds (like chickweed and henbit- see pics below) out there. You will get a lawn sign notifying you that this was done, for liquid applications you want to keep kids and pets off the lawn at least until its dry.

There are a lot of factors (mostly weather) that can reduce or increase the effectiveness of any pre-emergent or weed control we use. For those of you that did have weed breakthroughs last year, I’ll be making adjustments to application rates, timing, and products to try to increase the effectiveness of the treatments.

The Spring green-up of the grass also signals the time for weeds to break through. Broadleaf weeds like chickweed and henbit are easy enough to control (we hit em hard with herbicide) but sometimes we see the nastier ones like poa annua that are not so easy to control. Here is a description of some of the common weeds we are seeing now.

Poa Annua

(aka annual bluegrass) is one of the most difficult weeds to control. On the west coast you will find Poa on beautiful golf course greens. Here in the Carolinas, it is a nasty invasive weed in our lawns.

Poa germinates in the Fall, around the same time we are renovating lawns, and starts appearing in early Spring. It produces massive seed heads in April/May and then completely dies out when it warms up in May/June. Poa seeds can lay dormant in the soil for 10-15 years and then suddenly pop up as soon as an opportunity arises (thin areas of turf or not yet established new grass). I’ve seen it every year especially in the lawns that were heavily renovated for Bermuda. In these cases we worked the soil over so much with our aerators that any dormant seeds were brought to the surface and germinated the same time our new grass was coming in.

Once it starts growing it produces dense seed heads and is unsightly in the yard. There are some options to take to control Poa. If you want to get rid of your Poa Annua RIGHT NOW, we need to remove the weed areas and lay new sod. Unfortunately this is also the most costly option. The second option is to wait it out until the Poa dies off on its own in May/June. Then we can apply an extra pre-emergent treatment in August to prevent the Poa from germinating in the Fall. Also, a newer herbicide called ProGrass can be applied in the fall but perfect timimg is crucial for this to work. I can see improvement on the lawns that got this treatment last year; however, this does not give 100% control right away. It takes several years of this process, as well as promoting healthy turf,  to eliminate poa annua.





Cool Season Weeds

So far its been a very mild start to the Winter. That means all the broadleaf weeds that have germinated and usually start to flower in Spring have already started to grow out and flower. We will be starting a liquid broadleaf application a little earlier than usual to nip these broadleaf weeds before they mature.