Everyone loves a thick, lush carpet of grass. Great-looking turf complements your home and garden, and it’s better equipped to withstand weeds, too.
Weeds find their way into a lawn that’s sparse or riddled with bare patches. If weeds are already present, they’ll need to be eliminated. If there are just a few weeds, spot treat with a broadleaf herbicide or remove them by hand with a dandelion weeder. If there are many, or if they’re firmly entrenched with the grass, use a granular herbicide applied when the grass is wet with dew so the granules will stick to weed leaves.
The best defense against weeds is a thick, healthy turf that doesn’t leave room for the nasty newcomers to gain a foothold. In the north, feed in fall and spring. In the south, feed in spring and summer. Don’t feed when the lawn is dormant (for instance, during a drought) -- dormant grass can’t absorb nutrients. Always read the package label and follow directions.
First things first: Sharpen your mower blade. A dull blade tears the grass, leaving a ragged edge that invites disease and makes the overall lawn look grayish brown. Sharpen the mower blade annually – or more often if you have a thick grass such as Bermuda or zoysia that dulls blades more quickly. Along with a sharper blade, you should also mow higher, especially in the heat of summer. Taller blades help shade grass roots and discourage weeds. Set your mower as high as it will go (up to 3 inches), and never cut off more than one-third of the grass blade.
A typical lawn needs an inch of water a week. Watch rainfall totals and supplement with a sprinkler when needed. Water in the morning so the sun can dry the grass before nightfall and reduce the spread of foliar diseases. Irrigate deeply but infrequently so that the water seeps into the ground and grass roots penetrate deeper into the soil rather than staying near the surface. This will make the grass more drought tolerant.