Getting rid of weeds, part 1

What do you do with those pesky weeds? They can cover your lawn if you’re not careful. When you see how easily weeds can grow, it’s amazing that we don’t all have weed-covered lawns! One single dandelion can make up over 15,000 seeds.  These can survive six years in soil. And guess what – each seed can create a new dandelion that also contains 15,000 seeds. So what do you do to get rid of these pests?

It might be a good idea to use synthetic herbicides, because those can help if you have a chronic weed problem. However, if you aren’t careful, these can kill your grass! And not only that, but they can be dangerous to your family and pets!

If you want to control weeds in your yard, the best thing is probably to grow a very thick lawn. But that might not always be possible, especially in Vegas! If your grass is dense, it blocks sunlight needed for weeds to grow. Another good idea is to crowd out your weeds. Below is a guide on how to do this.


Most weeds that will grow in your lawn can quite literally grow wherever they can find even a glimpse of sunlight. You may be surprised to find out that these weeds actually have a hard time taking root in heavy grass! If you take good care of your lawn, you can stop the problems before they start.

Fertilize – but not too much! If you don’t fertilize enough, you may have a sparse, thin lawn that leaves too much room for weeds. If you fertilize too much, you will give ample nutrients to the weeds which isn’t good. Certain weeds that are susceptible to this are annual bluegrass, Bermuda grass, and crabgrass. Try to find a balance. Follow the application instructions on the fertilizer package. Also important is to use a fertilizer with a high percentage of control-release nitrogen.

How you time your fertilizing and the frequency of your efforts is also crucial if you want your lawn to be healthy. However, it will always vary depending on the type of lawn you have and how long your growing season is.  If you’re in a northern area, you probably only need to apply one or two applications each year. Once in the spring, and sometimes in the fall. If you’re in the south, you may require three treatments. Try early spring, the beginning of summer, and fall.

Water grass deeply, but not too often. If you do a little bit too often, this will help annual crabgrass, chickweed, sedges, bluegrass, and other weeds grow more easily. If you don’t water enough, the lawn will suffer and weeds will thrive. Provide your lawn with infrequent, deep waterings. Your lawn will need about 1 inch of water each week. If you set an empty tuna can on the lawn, you can determine when you have one inch of water.

Mow higher. Mowing too low weakens turf by reducing the ability of a grass leaf to produce enough nutrients. It also lets light hit the soil surface, which helps crabgrass and goosegrass seeds sprout and grow. Check with your local extension service for the recommended range of mowing heights for your grass type. Then mow at the highest level—usually between 2 and 4 inches.

Hope these tips help you on your way to having the best lawn you can!

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