Doug Larson says, “A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.” Weeds are strong, persistent and grow everywhere. They can be found in sidewalk cracks, multi-story parking structures, on walls and on the side of freeways growing from tiny chinks in the concrete. But the place weeds irritate us most is when they grow in our lawns.
Having a great-looking lawn is a matter of national pride with some people. At the very least, a good-looking lawn is a matter of neighborhood pride. We work hard on our lawns. We mow, we fertilize, we reseed the bare spots, we trim the edges and we water them. Yet, despite all our hard work on the grass, it is the weeds in the grass that seems to thrive. Weeds do not realize that they are not wanted. They want to grow, get strong and spread their seeds to make more weeds. So how do we get rid of weeds without killing our grass?
Weeding – As much as this concept pains some people, this really is the best way to get rid of weeds without also killing grass. It is quick, effective and lasts longer than anything else. Some people actually enjoy weeding, finding it meditative. On a nice day, weeding can be a relaxing activity. Most weeds can be simply pulled out with our hands. If the weed is large, however, it can have roots reaching down a good 6 inches and if you do not pull up the entire root system it will grow back very soon. There is a reason for the old saying, “Growing like a weed…” If the weed does not want to come out of the ground (and why would it?), you will need a small shovel, a trowel or a weeding tool. Work the tool around the weed as deep as you can get it while gently wiggling and tugging on the weed. Once the weed comes out, make sure you place it in a bucket to dispose of later (compost pile, a snack for a bunny) because if you leave it lying there it might re-root – weeds are clever and you need to watch out for them. At the least, the weeds will drop its seeds and new weeds will soon be growing.
Herbicides – If you have a bad back, or are vehemently against weeding, herbicides are something to consider. Most of the herbicides on the market are in a liquid form. They come in bottles that can be attached to your garden hose and sprayed right on the grass. Some herbicides are made for a specific weed and some are more general and can be used on all weeds. Some herbicides have to be sprayed right on the weed and some herbicides can be sprayed over the entire lawn. Make sure to read the label to check that it is safe for grass or you might wake up to a brown lawn a few mornings later. Herbicides are toxic so read the label about handling them carefully.
Reseeding – Sometimes, despite all our time and effort, the weeds take over our grass and we have no choice but to reseed. As large as this task is, the result will be a lush lawn with brilliant green grass and no weeds. For a while anyway, remember – weeds are smart, want to live and have a great desire to spread their seeds. Stay vigilant, pull weeds and attack early on. The more weeding you do now, the less likely that the weeds will take over later on.