The best defense to weeds is a healthy, properly trimmed lawn.
Each type of grass has an ideal cutting height for good health and strong growth. When cut no lower than that height, and when cut before it gets too long, the grass will usually out-compete weeds as long as it’s also fertilized and watered properly. Longer grass helps prevent weeds in a couple of different ways. The taller growth shades the ground, keeping it cooler and retarding weed seed germination. And once weed seeds sprout, they don’t have as much sunlight as they need for hardy growth.
The range of cutting heights depending on the grass type. If you don’t know your grass type, we can help you with the identification.
It’s also important to mow your grass when it needs it. That’s when the grass is one-third above the ideal cutting height. Depending on the weather conditions and the time of year, that can mean mowing every week or two, or every four or five days. Keeping the height in check also means you’re clipping off weed seed heads before they can mature and seed your lawn.
The key to controlling broadleaf weeds is to use a broadleaf herbicide and distribute it with the smallest applicator necessary to do the job. That’ll not only save time and money but also keep you from needlessly introducing chemicals into the environment.
Spot-kill weeds with a small pressure sprayer
No matter how lush and healthy your lawn is, a few isolated weeds will pop up. That doesn’t call for whole-yard treatment. Instead, spot-treat the weeds with a small, trigger- controlled, pump-up pressure sprayer (Photo above). After pouring in the diluted herbicide, you pump up the pressure with a little plunger and then pull the trigger to release the spray right on the culprits.
Treat weed patches with a 1- or 2-gallon tank sprayer
Patches or clumps of weeds are best treated with a standard 1- or 2-gallon tank sprayer. After spraying, triple-rinse the tank with water. With each rinse, pump up some pressure and flush out the wand, too.
Use a dial sprayer when weeds are out of control
If your whole lawn is filled with weeds, it calls for draconian measures, and a dial sprayer attached to your garden hose is the answer. It’s fast and efficient. It’s just a matter of adding concentrated broadleaf killer to the pot, and setting the dial at the top to the mixture called for on the herbicide container—for example, 2-1/2 tablespoons per gallon of water. Then hook up the garden hose and apply an even treatment to the weedy areas. Clear the yard of toys, furniture and anything else that can get contaminated by overspray. And be sure to protect your flowers and bushes with plastic sheeting or cardboard. Remember that broadleaf killers will kill or harm anything with leaves—including your flowerbed.