How do I get rid of the weeds in my lawn?


One of the best ways to keep a lawn weed free but easy to maintain and inexpensive, is through an effective lawn maintenance strategy that encourages vigorous growth of turfgrass. Weeds do not compete well with dense healthy turf, therefore the maintenance of a healthy thick stand is very important in producing a weed free lawn. Practices which encourage this include proper irrigation and/or drainage, use of fertilizers, insect and disease control, and the use of the correct type of turfgrass for your situation.  Fescues are the best for shady areas, whereas turf-type perennial ryegrass varieties, which require full sun, establish themselves quickly in newly seeded areas and will crowd out germinating weeds. Kentucky bluegrass establishes more slowly, but once it is established it is very competitive. 

CONTROL can be done by hand pulling if weeds are not too numerous or with a knife or V-shaped spudding tool (called a 'Dandelion Digger' or 'Fishtail').  It is important to get the whole weed plant or you may simply get more weeds, this is especially important when pulling dandelions. 

CHEMICAL CONTROL is often the easiest, especially with high weed populations. The 2,4-D spray works best in the spring or in September when broadleaf weeds are actively growing. This treatment will generally thin Dutch clover in the lawn. A large number of broadleaf weeds resistant to 2,4-D can be controlled by mecoprop, dichlorprop, and dicamba. A thorough wetting of the leaves with any type of chemical spray is required for effective control. Mecoprop, dichlorprop and dicamba are also in mixtures with 2,4-D. 

Be careful when using dicamba near shrubs, etc.,  Prepared mixtures of this chemical and 2,4-D are safer and effective on a wide range of weed species in the lawn, including knotweed which is resistant to most other herbicides except when very young. After seeding a new lawn, annual weeds may sprout up quicker than the new grass. These need to be controlled since they will shade and eventually crowd out much of the grass seedlings. Mowing at a height of 2 1/2 - 3 inches will control most of these. If they are very thick, and if the grass has been up at least 4 weeks, then apply 2,4-D at one-half the usual concentration. 

Common trade names of chemicals that can be used on lawns are: 2,4-D amine, Banvel, MCPA amines, Compitox, Dycleer 24, Mecoturf Plus 2,4-D, Killex, Betasan, Dacthal, Tupersan, Betasan, Dacthal, Basagran (plus oil concentrate) and Assist. Most of these products will control most weed types, while others are more weed specific. 
 

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