DIY Lawn Weed Control

There is nothing worse than spending hours every weekend for months on end on your lawn only to come out one morning and see what is inevitable: a weed. It has happen to everyone and it will again. There is no stopping it.

Think about this for a second: you spend weeks getting your soil right so that your turf type grass will thrive and grow. Unfortunately, though, what makes for great soil conditions for your grass to thrive also makes great conditions for weeds to thrive as well.

The good news is that DIY lawn weed control is highly effective. Unlike the professional lawn care services' weed control which is a generic mix, DIY lawn weed control is specific. It targets the weeds that are appearing in your lawn. Once you identify the weed that is in your lawn, you can target it specifically.

Weed control & herbicides

That doesn't mean a broad leaf weed control application should not be done, but what the professional services application miss, you will be able to target. DIY lawn weed control, however, means you need to develop a weed control plan that needs to be done.

It begins with pre-emergents and extends to specific weed killers like Tenacity.

Developing a DIY Lawn Weed Control Program

The easiest way to control weeds in your lawn is to develop a weed control plan. Developing one will require you to know what type of turf grass you have: warm weather or cool weather turf. Once you determine your turf type, you can begin developing your DIY weed control plan.

The traditional way to develop the weed control plan is to start at the beginning of the year. Knowing the soil temperature will be critical to any weed control plan since most DIY weed control will start with the application of pre emergents. When to apply a preemergent will determine what part of the country you live in.

The general rule is that you definitely want to apply a preemergent before the soil temperature at 3 inches deep reaches 55 degrees since weed seeds germinate at that temperature. Applying the first round of preemergent for me means applying it in mid-March.

I usually apply a liquid preemergent at that time and I follow that application up a month later with a granular treatment. This is an effective approach because once the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees, the weed seeds germinate and the early roots of the weeds hit the preemergent and curl, which kills the germinating weeds.

This will control (kill almost all) the spring weeds. Preemergents play a critical role for DIY weed control. There are many different types and brands of preemergents. All will be effective to some degree or another. I like to use Barricade preemergent as my granular preemergent.

I find it to be the best preemergent in the area of the country in which I live. I am still testing various liquid preemergent applications and will update this post when I determine which liquid preemergent works best. But, of course, preemergents will not ensure that you will never have a weed in your lawn. You will. So, how do you kill weeds in your lawn once they emerge?

The answer is it depends. This is where you must know the type of turf grass you have because some weed killers will not only kill the weeds, but it will also kill certain types of grasses.

Weed killers (post-emergent) are formulated to kill weeds and if you have a weed killer for cool lawns, it means that it is sage to use on Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass.

If you use a cool type weed killer on a warm weather lawn, the weeds will be killed, but it will also kill your Bermuda grass, Zoysia grass and St. Augustine grass as well. Be very careful when you select your weed killer and make sure you buy the right type for your lawn.

What is a Post-emergent?

A post-emergent is the technical term for a weed killer that is used on weeds that have already germinated and appear in your lawn. A post-emergent comes in two forms: liquid and granular. The most common DIY lawn weed control is done with a weed and feed product that you can get at your local big box store. Liquid forms of post-emergent are used in blanket spraying of your lawn or when you spot spray weeds.

To control weeds in your lawn once they have emerge you have two options: a broadcast weed treatment or a spot treatment. Professional lawn care services use broadcast treatments. They spray the entire lawn with a general purpose weed killer.

It can be somewhat effective for the most common weeds in your area but rarely will it be effective on the uncommon weeds that we all get. DIY weed control has more options. You can target specific weeds that pop up in your lawn.

Spot spraying simply means that you attack individual weeds rather that a blanket spray of your lawn. For instance, if you have nutsedge in your lawn, a general purpose broadcast spray won't touch it. However, if you use a specific weed killer like Tenacity or Sedgehammer, that nutsedge is history. Fall weed control is a bit more tricky simply because this is the best time of year to reseed your lawn. Using a pre or post emergent on a newly seeded lawn means disaster.

The pre or post emergent will not only kill the weeds but it will kill the grass seed as well. NEVER use a general pre or post emergent weed killer immediately before or after you are planning or have re seed.

Weed control & herbicides

Read the directions of the weed killer because it will generally tell you how long you need to wait before applying seed or how long you have to wait to apply the weed killer after the grass seed has germinated. Failure to adhere to the directions can and will most likely mean that your grass seed will die.

That is not to say that all you have to tolerate a weedy yard once you decide to reseed. There are specific weed killers that are safe to use during reseeding. Two of the more popular ones are Scott’s starter fertilizer with weed control and the other is a product called Tenacity.  Tenacity is the weed killer contained in Scott’s starter fertilizer with weed control. Tenacity will not kill every type of weed, but it will kill a lot of them.

Tenacity also has the unique trait of turning weeds white so you will know that it’s working. Tenacity inhibits the weed’s ability to perform photosynthesis. Also, Tenacity can only be used on cool season lawns. It will kill the warm season lawns.

After the waiting period as directed by the label of the weed killer is over, you can then perform a broadcast blanket weed treatment to your lawn and/or do spot spraying of the weeds.

Unfortunately, weeds are a fact of life when it comes to growing a healthy lawn. But developing an effective DIY weed control plan can be an effective way to control them. No yard is without weeds; some have much fewer than others, but weed control is something that all DIY lawn guys have to deal with.

Being persistent, developing and following a weed control plan and using general as well as specific types of weed killers are key when dealing with weeds.