The battle for weed-free grass is something almost every homeowner will deal with at some point. Weeds like crab grass, dandelions, ivy, clover, bluegrass, and chickweed are some of the most common culprits when it comes to sullying the appearance of a perfectly manicured lawn. While some accept weeds as a fact of life or opt for grass alternatives, others will try whatever they can to get rid of those unwanted plants. Luckily, it's not quite as hard as you think. Try some of these preemptive tips and suggestions for regular maintenance, and look forward to a lawn that all of your neighbors will envy!
1. Apply Corn Gluten Meal
There are nontoxic products that you can use on your grass that work just as well as herbicides, and the best is corn gluten meal. Corn gluten meal is great for your grass because it contains nitrogen, and it also prevents the seeds from weeds from germinating. You shouldn't use it if you've planted seeds you want to keep, though, as it can have an adverse effect on these as well. It's best to use corn gluten meal early in the Spring before you see weeds. Applying it to already-established weeds will just be feeding them and can make your problem worse.
2. Lay Down Mulch
One of the best ways to get rid of weeds is to prevent them from taking root in the first place. Weeds can get out of hand pretty quickly, so it's important to do everything you can to keep them from invading your yard. For flower beds, patios, and walkways, you can apply mulch to the top of your soil. Mulch prevents weeds from getting the sunlight they need to grow, so they can't start to grow.
3. Pull Weeds by Hand
Sometimes, the best way to get rid of weeds is to pull them out by hand. While this is not a great solution for a weed problem that's gotten a little out of hand, it is a good — and effective — solution if you've just started to notice weeds popping up in your grass. Always make sure you grab the weeds at the base of the plant so you can make sure you pull up the roots as well. You can also purchase a stand-up weeder to make the job easier on your back and legs.
4. Use the Right Amount of Fertilizer
If you don't fertilize your grass, it's time to start. Fertilizer is essentially food for your grass, and it provides it with all of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. While it may seem counterintuitive, fertilizer can be a great way to curb a weed problem; the trick is to make sure you're using the right amount. Too much fertilizer can encourage weed growth and send them into overdrive, whereas not enough fertilizer will make your grass too weak to stand up to weeds. The best defense against most types of weeds is a thick lawn to ensure there's no room for them to take root.
5. Water Your Lawn Deeply
One of the biggest mistakes gardeners and homeowners make is how much they water their lawns and flowers beds, and this can have a big effect on your weed situation. Instead of watering lightly and frequently, it's best to water your grass deeply and not too often. This kind of watering schedule will allow your grass's roots to take hold, letting them grow strong and healthy. Strong and healthy grass means it can compete better with weeds.
6. Mow Your Lawn High
Regularly mowing your lawn is essential to keeping your lawn healthy, and it can also prevent weeds from growing and getting stronger. Even if your lawn has been cut recently, you can adjust your lawnmower to a higher setting if you're noticing weeds appearing. Run your lawnmower over these weedy spots on a setting that's high enough to leave your grass relatively untouched but low enough that it decapitates the unwanted weeds. If you do this regularly, eventually the weeds will stop coming back and they'll die off. Keeping your lawn high can also prevent weeds like crabgrass from taking hold.
7. Use Weed-Specific Herbicides
If you want to go the herbicide route for your weed problem, it's important that you do your research before you buy any herbicides. Herbicides are designed to target specific plants, and if you don't buy the right one, you could damage your grass without having any effect on the weeds. There are a wide range of weeds, so make sure you identify which weeds you have and choose an appropriate herbicide to combat your problem.