A weed is generally defined as any undesirable species present in an otherwise homogenous stand of turf. Weeds can be intimidating and stressful on both professional turf managers and homeowners, but they don’t have to be. With the right information and timing, weeds can be controlled and virtually eliminated from a turf stand (if a plan is developed and followed). Pre-emergent herbicides are the key in the battle against weeds.
As a golf course superintendent, every September, I would start the pre-emergent application process, so that turf at the course would be lush and weed free not only for the remaining season but also for the coming one.
Many might think that this is an expensive process or can not be done to residential lawns. It most certainly can, and should be done to home lawns. The cost is outweighed by the season-long benefits that it provides. You know the saying ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ That is precisely the case with pre-emergent applications. Weed free lawns provide homeowners with better curb appeal, a more enjoyable lawn, and a denser,healthier lawn.
It is considerably more difficult and costly to control weeds once they have emerged from the soil.
We all know how unsightly rampant weeds can be in a lawn. There is a another negative effect weeds have on your lawn aside from aesthetics. Weeds compete with desirable turf for sunlight, water, air and essential nutrients. The effect of all the competition is a significant reduction in the overall health, density, vigor and aesthetics of the rest of your lawn as the more aggressive weeds out grown the existing grass.
Weed infestations can become uncontrollable quickly if there is not preventative action taken. In order to combat weeds, a well thought plan needs to be developed (likely with the help of a professional) and followed.
Strategic timing for the pre-emergent application is crucial to its overall effectiveness as is choosing the proper active ingredient (AI) in the pre-emergent. Waiting too late to make the application is not going to do you or your lawn any favors and can severely inhibit the efficacy of the treatment resulting in weed breakthrough and weaker protection.
Pre-emergent chemicals will only work when applied before weed seeds germinate, and location, grass type, and soil temperatures are the determining factors as to when that is, so if there is any doubt, contact a professional for a consultation. When applied properly, the active ingredient in the pre-emergent forms a barrier to prevent newly germinated weed seeds from breaking the soil surface and infesting your lawn.
Uniform coverage during application is critical for the effective barrier to cover the entire area you want to protect. In order to make an even, uniform application of the pre-emergent, it is critical to follow the following steps:
- make sure that your spreader is calibrated properly to the rate you want to distribute on the lawn
- apply half of the recommended application rate moving across the lawn in a north/south pattern
- make a second application at half of the recommended rate moving across the lawn in an east/west pattern
- irrigate the application into the soil
Key points about pre-emergent applications:
- Pre-ermergent inhibits the development of newly germinated weed seeds.
- The product does not prohibit germination, but rather prevents the development of weeds above the soil surface.
- It is best to apply uniformly, at the right time, over the entire area that is to be protected.
- Most applications need to be watered in by at least a half inch of water after the application to be effective.
If this seems like a lot to take in, don’t worry about it. The professionals at Crossroads Turf can take care of it to ensure you have the weed free lawn you deserve.