Lawn Weed Prevention

Definition of a weed

'A weed is a plant growing in the wrong place or where it is not wanted'.

Why do we get weeds in the lawn

Weeds will grow in almost any situation where the conditions are favourable. Weeds are opportunistic and will invade where suitable conditions arise. If there are any thin or weak areas on the lawn caused through neglect or incorrect lawn management, this creates a perfect opportunity for weeds to encroach onto your lawn.

There maybe an underlying reasons that favour certain weeds. e.g wet lawn, dry lawn, favourable pH, lack of nutrition.

How to prevent lawn weeds with the correct lawn care program

Although it is nearly impossible to totally eradicate weeds, however with the correct maintenance practices it is possible to eliminate a lot of weed problems. This program should include.

  • The correct mowing techniques - Many weed problems can be reduced or eliminated by taking time to ensure that your lawn mower is set to the correct height. Mowing a lawn to low can weaken the grass or scalp the lawn creating bare patches. This in turn is producing the ideal conditions for weeds to encroach into the lawn.

    It is also important to mow the lawn on a regular basis whilst boxing off the clipping at the same time. Returning the clippings to the lawn will only encourage the build up of organic matter or thatch which in return will create a weak lawn.

  • Correct fertiliser and feeding program - Feeding or fertilising the lawn at the correct times of the year will help encourage a thick healthy sward. A thick lawn is one of the best ways to discourage weeds as there is now little room for weeds to invade. However it is important not to over feed your lawn as this can create other problems such as thatch build up or disease.

  • Correct scarifying and raking program - An important part of a lawn care program carried out primarily to remove thatch. This creates healthy growing conditions thus reducing any weed problems. Light raking which is also beneficial during periods of strong growth to prevent the build up of thatch, will also help to discourage certain weeds.

  • Irrigation or watering during drought conditions - During periods of drought it is important to irrigate the lawn to prevent any loss of grass though lack of water. Any loss of grass coverage through drought damage would present weeds with an ideal opportunity to invade the lawn.

  • Correct aeration program - Overtime the soil becomes compacted, this is caused by traffic in the form of people, mowers, machinery etc. If steps are not taken to correct this disorder, the health of the lawn will suffer and it becomes unhealthy and weak. This leaves weeds with perfect opportunity to invade.

  • Worm control program - At certain times of the year worms are quite active. This is mainly in the autumn when the soil has become wet creating conditions for worm activity, but can be during any wet period throughout the year. Worm casts can smother the lawn and create an ideal seed bed for weeds to spread. Reducing the number of worms in the lawn will help prevent the spread of weeds.

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