Your landscape is an investment. Not only does your yard provide a nice place to relax, but it also frames your home–your most important and expensive asset. Of the tasks we perform at Nature’s Turf, weed control is often considered the most important by our clients. The key to great weed control is teamwork.
Weeds are pests by definition; they’re plants growing where we don’t want them. Integrated pest management combines knowledge, mechanical controls, and chemical controls to maximize efficacy while minimizing inputs that may have environmental impacts. At Nature’s Turf, our professionals use our experience and knowledge to select the best weed control products for your specific lawn, and we apply them when they’re most effective. To make those products the most effective, it is essential that the homeowner is an active participant on the weed control team. Here are the top 3 ways your cultural practices can help you get the most out of pre-emergent weed control products applied to your lawn.
1. Water Your Lawn Well
Watering your yard well is arguably the most important task for effective weed control. Healthy, dense turfgrass shades the surface of the soil, providing strong competition with weeds. Too little water results in wilt, summer dormancy, or death of grass plants, resulting in thinness. Too much water can result in disease, anaerobic soil conditions, and even algae. These conditions can also result in decreased density.
Watering your yard also moves pre-emergent weed control products into the soil and keeps them in solution. To form the barrier we desire, it must be watered into the soil profile. If left on the surface for too long, weeds may germinate, and photodegradation can compromise its effectiveness. Excessive water can move pre-emergents too deeply into the soil, meaning plants with fibrous roots may be able to grow on top. Too little water, and the pre-emergents dry in the soil. The products have to be in solution with water to be absorbed by weeds to stop root formation.
A good rule of thumb is 1″ of water per week from rain or irrigation over the course of 2-3 days that don’t touch each other. The goal is deep and infrequent water. Deeply percolated water encourages deep root formation, building the foundation our turfs need to withstand adversity. Infrequent water delivery slows the unintended movement of weed control products, maintaining the barrier we desire for weed control.
2. Mow Properly
Good mowing techniques are fundamental to plant health, density, and, yes, even weed control. In the same way that we want good watering techniques to fortify plant health and density, mowing well could mean the difference between elation and frustration.
A majority of the hybrid bermuda and zoysia varieties are happiest when mowed between 1-2” weekly. The goal is to remove ⅓ or less of the overall height of the turf in a single mowing. If more is removed, damage may occur. Plants recovering from damage have to use precious stored energy to rebuild the stems and leaves they need to make more energy. Healthy plants get to produce and store energy, making them more hardy. Regular mowing also encourages lateral growth and density, which are key in suppressing weed formation.
3. Define Your Landscape Areas
If the instructions for watering and mowing made sense but being instructed to create well-defined landscape areas raises questions, give me a chance to make the case. One of the key variables in pre-emergent efficacy is uniformity. Landscapes with well-defined margins allow technicians to clearly establish where bed spaces begin and turf ends. Overhanging ornamental foliage will force our technicians to be cautious in those areas to ensure that unintentional damage doesn’t occur.
Clearly defined landscape spaces can also provide you the opportunity to grow plants where their uses are maximized and most beautiful. That goes for turf as well. Planting turfgrasses in areas where they can perform their best will allow them to be the most dense and the strongest ally for our weed control products.
Total Plant Health Program + Your Effort + Strategic Weed Control
Having a great lawn comes down to great turf health, and that applies to weed control as well. Our program puts great focus on total plant health–not just the green parts we see on top. That effort, combined with your good cultural practices and our strategic weed control are the keys to achieving your lawn goals. If you’re interested in teaming up with Nature’s Turf, give us a call at 770-461-4156, or email us at email@example.com.