May 30, 2018

Your summer weeding program

When you have a home of your own, you may have an overwhelming desire to make it beautiful, both inside and out.

A lush, green lawn is the foundation of any home landscaping project. But left uncared for, the lovely yard you bought will soon be infested with ugly weeds.

So, fight back.

The best way to win the battle is to stop worrying so much about the weeds and start worrying about the grass. A lawn with lots of weeds is trying to tell you something.

First, if you haven’t followed a regular thatching and aeration schedule, now might be the time to start.

Next, most lawn experts swear you can shade out most weed growth by mowing to a uniform height of at least 3 inches. Any shorter, and it lets too much light hit the soil, encouraging weed growth.

Spring and fall are the best times to feed your lawn, but serious weed infestation is an excuse for a summer sprinkling. Fertilize enough, but not too much. Use a fertilizer with a high percentage of controlled-release nitrogen to provide a slow, steady nutrient supply.

Water your yard infrequently and deeply. If you water too little, weeds adapted to drier soil thrive. So provide infrequent, deep soakings (about one inch per week).

If weeds haven’t spread too far, hand-weeding is still the best defense. Pull annual broadleaf weeds while they’re young—before they flower and seed! Once the weed is out, promptly reseed the bare spot; otherwise, new weeds will fill it in.

There are several household items, including corn meal, vinegar, vodka, soapy water and hot water that reputedly kill weeds on contact—some by drying and some by burning.

You can also block out the sun by covering your yard with newspaper, adding water to create a mulch. If weeds begin to grow in the mulch, add more layers of newspaper. As the paper smothers out the weeds, it will also feed your lawn.

Finally, use herbicides as a last resort. There are broad-based herbicides that basically kill every kind of plant except for grasses. Instead of spraying the whole lawn, try spot-treating isolated weeds or weedy patches to minimize environmental impact. Pro tip: wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, gloves and safety goggles during application.

It might take a while, but good lawn habits can become like second nature. If taken care of, eventually your lawn will provide you and your family lush, carpet-like softness for all of your outdoor enjoyment.