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Identify the weed and determine why it has become a problem is the first step in dealing with lawn weeds. Some weeds are good indicators of underlying problems. Crabgrass typically invades lawns that are mowed too short or watered too often. Clovers may be a sign of low fertility. Dandelions may adapt to a range of conditions. An assortment of weeds may indicate overall poor conditions for lawn grasses and/or poor management.

After identifying the weeds present, step two for controlling weeds should be to review lawn care practices and make adjustments as needed to assure a good stand of grass. Sound lawn care practices should promote a healthy, vigorous turf able to prevent and compete with weed invasions. These practices include proper selection and establishment, fertilization, watering, mowing, thatch management, and related practices.

The third step is removal of existing weeds. Pulling by hand is one option; be sure to get as much of the root system as possible. There are a number of herbicides available for weed control, specific to the type of weed to be controlled.

Broadleaf Weeds

Dandelions, plantain, clover, chickweed and henbit) are among the common broadleaf weeds appearing in lawns. Selective broadleaf weed herbicides are available for use on lawns. Broadleaf weed control products with two and three-way herbicide combinations are recommended. Only apply to actively growing weeds.

Thoroughly read, understand, and follow all information on herbicide labels. Avoid windy days, as these materials can damage many landscape and garden plants if they drift (spray droplets land off the lawn). Also avoid hot days (over 85 degrees F). It's best to have adequate soil moisture, but no rain for 24 hours after application. Don't mow for a few days before and after application. Consider selective treatment of weeds rather than broadcasting weed control over the entire area. Use caution on newly seeded areas; wait four mowings before treating newly seeded lawns and 30 days before seeding areas treated with broadleaf herbicides.

Early to mid-fall can be a good time to control perennial broadleaf weeds, such as dandelions. Control may be good as weeds prepare for winter dormancy and lawns fill-in bare areas created by the weed dying readily in the cooler weather of fall. Spring and early summer applications may not provide as good of control as fall. Warmer temperatures also increase the chance of lawn injury. Regardless the time of the year, weeds need to be actively growing for the herbicides to work.

For additional information concerning lawn care, check out the Greenscape Gardens website on lawn care.