Ask the Gardener-May 10

AmericangothicWhat do I do about the weeds in my lawn?

Your lawn can offer several different types of weeds that need to be controlled; do you know what kind of weeds you have growing in your lawn?

In the lawn there are two types of weeds that you want to control: Broadleaf weeds and grassy weeds. Broadleaf weeds, known as dicotyledons, would be like your clover, dandelion, mallow, etc whereas grassy weeds, monocotyledon,  would be like crabgrass, quack grass, nut grass, and other narrow bladed grasses that you don’t want to grow in your lawn.

Most advertising would have you think that you need to apply a weed and feed to your lawn in order to control most weeds.  However, for best results a weed and feed works best in the fall, about mid-September to late October, when all perennial weeds are out and are getting ready for winter.

Weed and Feeds, simplistically do two things: Kill broadleaf weeds that the chemical comes in contact with and then feeds the lawn.  Read the instructions to fully understand and know how to use these products.  You must have a wet lawn so that the weed killer will “stick” to the wet leaf of the weed and kill it.  Don’t water you lawn for 36-48 hours after applying the product. The weeds that this will kill are weeds that are already leafed out.  A Weed and Feed will not prevent weeds from sprouting unless it contains a pre-emergent chemical.

There are pre-emergent type of weed controls that when applied correctly will prevent weeds from growing.  However, they mostly will NOT kill already growing weeds.  Make sure that you again read, understand, and follow the label directions so that you will not miss-use the chemicals and then have problems where you have applied the chemicals.

Then you do have the liquid spray chemicals that you would mix up in a spray tank or connect to you hose and then apply the liquid mix to the weeds in your lawn.  This is the method I prefer to use in my lawn, because I can spot treat only in the areas that I need too.

Be careful when you use any type of chemicals on your lawn. Always read and follow the instructions.  Wind can carry the chemicals to plants nearby causing damage to them, be careful.  However, when used correctly, herbicides can offer you a nice reward with a beautiful weed free lawn.

Do you have a gardening question?  Ask us!  Leave a comment here or e-mail us your question @ info@successfulgardens.com .   We will answer your gardening question here in the Ask the Gardener column published each Monday, or in our monthly newsletter.  Happy Gardening!

Chives in the Lawn

Photo by Matthew Bridges

Photo by Matthew Bridges

While chives are a good addition to a fabulous recipe, most people don’t care for them in their lawn. Getting rid of pesky chives or wild onions in your lawn can be difficult and frustrating, but there are a few things you can do. If you don’t mind having the purple flowers in your lawn that the chives or wild onions provide, or you like the onion smell they emit each time you mow your lawn, then you can just ignore them and do nothing. But if you want to get rid of them, here are a few options.

Of course the simplest method is to dig them up every time you see them in your lawn. This is effective, but it is time consuming and they can still spread if you are not careful.

Another method is to use a product such as Hi-Yield Kill-Zall or Round Up. These products contain a chemical called glyphosate. This chemical is effective because it works on killing all plant tissue. It is a non-selective weed killer. This means that it will kill not only the weeds in your lawn, but the grass too. Depending on the severity of the chive problem you have, this can make your lawn not appear very pretty until enough time has passed and you can re-seed your lawn. This is usually within 14 days from when you sprayed the chemical to begin with. Sometimes it will be even longer, because you will need to do more than one application of the chemical for your chive problem to disappear. So if you don’t mind waiting awhile to re-seed your lawn and then waiting for it to re-grow, then this may be the option you will choose.

Another option that is new to the market is to use a product called Weed-Free Zone by Fertilome. This product is a selective weed killer for lawns. It will kill the unwanted weeds in your lawn without damaging or killing your grass. The label includes wild onions/garlic which belongs to the same family as the wild chive. By following the directions on the label, and targeting and applying to the patches of the wild chive you should have success in eradicating this nuisance plant from your lawn. I actually like to use this product for all of my weed problems in my lawn. It is very effective on mallow, clover and dandelions. I like how it kills the weeds and leaves the healthy grass intact.

Getting rid of wild chives or wild onions in your lawn can be a nightmare. However, with diligence and persistence, you can knock them out and have that healthy lawn you crave for the summer. Which method will you choose to eradicate the chives and wild onions from your lawn?

Identifying Weeds in the Lawn

Photo by JAK, morguefile.com

Photo by JAK, morguefile.com

When we think of weeds in the lawn, we often think of the friendly or not so friendly dandelion. As children, we pick the pretty yellow flowers and offer them up as tokens of our undying love and devotion. When the yellow flowers give way to the fluffy white cotton, we make a wish and blow the seeds into the wind, effectively ensuring another crop. As adults, we fail to remember the magic of the dandelion and we look for the best way to kill it.

But what actually constitutes a weed? If we actually think about it, a weed is anything that isn’t in its proper place. In this definition, any plant can be considered a weed. However, there are two main categories of weeds that will plague your lawn.

Broadleaf Plant or Weed

There are over 100 different common types of broadleaf weeds that are commonly found in lawns. Some of the most notable characteristics of these weeds are yellow flowers, purple leaves, and jointed nodes. The root systems of these can be either small or can be ones that seem as if they are going clear to China.

Narrow Leaf or Grassy Weeds

There are many different varieties of narrow leaf weeds that will infest a lawn. These are also commonly referred to as grassy weeds. These usually have a wider blade than regular turf or lawn grass. Some of these are annual weeds that will only live for one season. But they will give off a lot of seed for the next year’s crop.

Some grassy weeds will grow faster than your normal lawn and stand a little taller. They seem to announce to the world, “Here I am…I’m different!” Other grassy weeds have a fine, fine blade and will grow in small patches. These usually will die out in the summer heat.

With so many possibilities and similar characteristics, learning to identify the exact species or varieties of weeds may seem difficult. But for proper identification, you will always want to look at the complete plant in question. This includes the root and stem and whenever possible, the seed and/or flower of the weed.

Which weed causes you the most grief in your lawn?