First, and most importantly, Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. Like their birthdays, Mother’s Day provides the opportunity to reflect back in time – from each of your children’s births to the present.
A mother’s love and nurturing makes for strong and healthy kids that seem to grow up – and out the door – right before your very eyes. It’s like watching a flip-book in action. They grow like weeds, don’t they?
Spring Is the Season for Weed Control
Like the mother’s nurturing we referenced above, Spring’s sunlight, rainfall and warmer temperatures allow garden weeds to grow up – and out of control – even faster than your kids. The difference is that while we pride ourselves on the growth of our children, weeds are best kept at bay.
In fact, the sooner you get rid of weeds the better. Once they’ve gone to seed or their runners have taken over, it becomes increasingly difficult to re-gain control. This is why we recommend applying pre-emergent weed formulations during this early part of the spring season. Then, you can continue applying liquid control agents throughout the spring for best results.
Please Note: Pre-emergents are just that – PRE-emergents. They are designed to be applied before the weeds emerge, preventing their growth altogether. Applying a pre-emergent after the weed has poked through the turf or ground cover is a waste of your money and time. At that point, you have to skip right ahead to an herbicide-based solution.
A Healthy Lawn is Nature’s Ultimate Weed Protection
We’ve mentioned in previous blogs that the best way to prevent trees from succumbing to disease or pest infestations is to keep them as healthy and well-nourished as possible. The same is true for lawns and their vulnerability to weeds and pests. Believe it or not, I have some clients that want a weed-free lawn, but they aren’t interested in investing in a healthy lawn. Seems a bit strange, doesn’t it?
In truth, a lush, healthy lawn will keep weeds to a minimum. All those thick and prolific grass blades shade the undergrowth from the sunlight that is required for weeds to grow. Similarly, your lawn’s strong and healthy root system will drink up all the water and absorb all the soil’s nutrients, preventing weed seeds from participating in the feast. Weeds grow quick, so if there’s no room for them to emerge, they have a harder time establishing themselves.
On the flip side, unhealthy or weak lawns – lawns with bare patches and sparse growth – are the perfect springboard for a wide range of weed seeds and/or their dormant roots to thrive and take over. And, of course, once established, weeds are more difficult to control. You’ll be battling them the entire season and well into summer.
Tips for Growing a Healthier Lawn
So, what makes for a healthier lawn? These 5 simple tips will help you establish a healthy, vibrant and more weed-resistant lawn:
- Fertilize it. Your lawn needs food and that food comes in the form of soil nutrients – aka “fertilizer”. After a season or two, the soil beneath your lawn will become depleted if it isn’t restocked via the help of fertilizers. Spring is a great time to fertilize, so do so now if you haven’t already.
- Water it. Grass also needs regular access to water – just enough, but not too much. Fire up the sprinkler system and take a peek. Are there any sprinklers that are broken, under-spraying, over-praying or flooding? Have them adjusted and repaired so your lawn is watered just enough, but without over-saturating it.
- Maintain it. Are you mowing your lawn correctly? Read, How To Mow Your Lawn: Do It Like the Pros for professional lawn mowing tips. Make sure your lawn mowing and edging equipment are maintained regularly as well so freshly-sharpened blades can make clean, healthy cuts. If you use a landscape maintenance company, insist that they clean their equipment before using it on your lawn to prevent the spread of weeds and diseases from other clients’ properties, which will affect your lawn, shrubs and trees.
- Give it some air. Among other things, core aeration reduces soil compaction, gives grass roots more room to breathe (literally, increasing important gas exchange processes) and oxygenate, and lawn aeration also gives roots more access to water and nutrients. You can rent a core aerator on your own or hire a professional to aerate for you at the end of summer or beginning of fall.
- Protect it. Your lawn is vulnerable to a several different enemies. Weeds are certainly one of them, including the insidious crab grass we have around these parts. Grubs are another pest that can do irreparable damage to turf. Speak to a lawn professional (may we suggest Joshua Tree’s own lawn care services?) to make sure you’re not forgetting an important weapon in your lawn protection arsenal.
Don’t let spring weeds get the best of your lawn. Take action now and you’ll enjoy a more maintenance-free lawn all summer long. Contact Joshua Tree if your lawn is looking a bit worse for wear or to learn more about our lawn maintenance programs.