In fall, plants like turfgrass and common broadleaf weeds experience a shift in how they grow and use nutrients. Because of this, you can maximize the effectiveness of your weed control measures by applying a pre-emergent weed control product this fall.
In spring and summer, both turfgrass and broadleaf weeds focus on growing above the soil’s surface. That’s why you have to mow your lawn and apply weed killer spray continually. However, plants undergo a shift. Instead of growing above the surface, weeds focus on what’s happening underground. They will expand their roots and rhizomes and store as many nutrients as they can before winter comes. It’s for this reason that you should target them in the fall. When weeds are focused on their roots, they are the most susceptible to herbicide applications.
Pre-emergent weed control products are typically granular, which will lodge in the soil and dissolve slowly over time. These types of products are aimed at killing weeds before they have a chance to germinate. Whatever weed control you can get into the soil now, in fall, will increase your chances for a weed-free lawn in spring.
Chickweed is a cool-season annual that’s also a member of the carnation family. It’s known for creating large mats of foliage and can easily reach heights of 15 inches. Chickweed will stick out like a sore thumb if left untreated. Its stems are slender and covered in hair, and the leaves of this weed are oval. It produces flowers that are pretty small and white, with five petals per blossom. It will start off growing in a clump from a central focal point before it branches out. If more than one chickweed plant in the lawn, they will eventually merge into one larger cluster, and it can be challenging to discern where each plant is growing.
This is the most notorious weed plaguing our lawns. It’s tough to eradicate once established, but it does respond to weed control products. What makes it so challenging is that it reproduces through both seed distribution and a robust root system. That’s why, even if you’ve diligently dug up individual crabgrass clumps, it keeps coming back. It’s not a reflection of your gardening skills – it’s just the root system.
This broadleaf weed comes in a couple of varieties: yellow and purple nutsedge. The combinations are named for the type of flower produced by each plant. Nutsedge spreads through rhizomes and tubers, and as such, will respond well to a fall application of herbicide. It can be tricky to identity nutsedge because it mimics the appearance of grass. However, if you look closely, you’ll notice the blades and shoots are stiffer than normal turfgrass. The flowers produced are long and skinny with purple or yellow flowers, depending on which variety has infested your lawn.
Annual bluegrass is one of the tallest weeds you might find on your lawn. Like chickweed, it can reach 15 inches high. This grassy weed is a bright shade of green, and the leaves have blunted tips. Look for stems that are a little flat and bent towards the base. Annual bluegrass is one of the fastest spreading weeds, spreading hundreds of seeds in a matter of weeks. Seeds become viable after only a few days post-pollination. This means that even if you mow regularly, you won’t eradicate this weed by shearing it with the mower. There is some good news, however. Annual bluegrass produces many dormant seeds so that you can deal it a heavy blow with pre-emergent weed control now, in the fall.
Now, this weed is a winter annual, but why not be proactive? You’ll know you’re dealing with henbit if you see a weed with green or purple square systems, oval-shaped leaves, and prominent veins on the underside of the leaves. Like chickweed and annual bluegrass, henbit has been known to get quite tall. The flowers produced are purple or red, and henbit will stick around during the winter and spring. Be sure to also look for hair stems.
Dealing with persistent, stubborn weeds in your lawn can be frustrating. When you enlist the help of Lawn Lab, you can rest assured. Our lawn care services will not only target the most annoying broadleaf weeds but also provide valuable nourishment. To learn more or schedule an appointment, call us at (972) 287-7400, or you can reach us online here. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to check out our blog page, where you can read more articles on yard care and pest control.