There’s an undeniable magic to spring. Nature reborn, vibrant growth everywhere, flowering trees and annuals in full bloom, all surrounded by lush green turf – it’s a feast for the senses. However, the explosion of the “green” also means the return of weeds, and there’s nothing magic about them. The first thing to know about weeds is that if you’ve started seeing them in your turf, the right time to get rid of them would have been weeks ago. So, let’s dig a little deeper into the topic to understand turf weeds better and explore the best ways to control them.
Turf weeds come in many shapes and forms; while that creeping, crawling, invasive crabgrass might be the most familiar turf weed across a huge portion of the country, there’s a wide variety of other grassy weeds that invade landscapes and include such descriptive names as goosegrass, foxtail and barnyard grass. Trevor Taylor, Account Manager and turf expert with Signature Landscape in Kansas City, has an interesting take on the different types of weeds, as he states that “weeds often tell us what is going on in a specific area. An area that is compact and holding moisture will commonly get nutsedge, knotweed, or goosegrass. An area that is lacking nitrogen will often have clover in it because clover produces its own nitrogen and can thrive where other weeds and grass can’t”.
You’re probably asking yourself how these weeds suddenly manage to show up on your beautifully landscaped property, right? Well, in addition to reseeding in place from last season, there are various ways they spread and arrive uninvited on your property:
Weed seeds will somehow find a way to your property and then they lie in wait for their opportunity to sprout!
While we can’t control the birds or weather conditions, what visibly differentiates one landscape from another is the appearance of the turf. Healthy, well-managed turf will suppress weed pressure significantly. Duane Baldwin, Plant Health Care Manager at Keesen Landscape in Denver, believes that “quality turf is directly related to consistency of maintenance. Regular applications of fertilizer, pre-emergent, and weed control are the heart of good turf care. The second and very important part of quality turf care is consistency of turf moisture year-round, whether it is from Mother Nature or regular irrigation practices.”
Just like with other desirable plants or flowers, weed seed germination is favored by warm weather and sufficient soil moisture. So how do you take care of your turf grass, but at the same time prevent the weeds from growing? Here are a few best practices a landscape professional should follow:
“Pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides are meant to supplement our turf; they aren’t the answer to keeping weeds out. Regular overseeding and aeration in the fall, along with optimum doses of balanced fertilizers, help your lawn flush out in spring, thicker and fuller,” Trevor Taylor concludes.
Crabgrass and other grassy weeds are visible nuisances, but there are other pests at work which might harm your lush turf. Mites and some species of spiders are known to attack turf grass in early to mid-spring. There are also pests such as white grubs and billbugs, those annoying little insects that will feed on the roots of your plants, and can further attract animals like skunks that will damage your lawn areas further as they seek out those pests as their meal. Keys to keeping these pests away are proper soil moisture and a comprehensive turf care program.
So, don’t let crabgrass make you crabby! If you entrust your turf care to a dedicated team of landscaping professionals, they’ll worry about these details, so you don’t have to!
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