When you own a home of your own, you may suddenly be moved by 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 expanse you bought into will soon be infested with ugly weeds.
You can fight back. The best way 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 many types of 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 infrequently and deeply. If you water too little, weeds adapted to drier soil thrive. Provide infrequent, deep soakings – about one inch a week.
Hand-weeding is still the best defense if weeds haven’t spread too far. 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 cover your yard with newspaper, blocking the sun. Add 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.
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. Wear long sleeved shirts and long pants, gloves and safety goggles during application.
Eventually, good lawn habits can become like second nature. If taken care of, the lawn will provide you and your family lush, carpet-like softness for all of your outdoor events.