Weeds are natural parts of any lawn, but when they become excessive they can pose problems. Overgrowth interferes with grass growth and depletes nutrients. There are various means available for controlling weeds ranging from hand-weeding to the use of herbicides.
Preventing weeds through regular lawn maintenance and physically pulling off unwanted plants are the best ways to stop weeds from appearing. When using chemicals, always follow instructions on their label for best results.
Weeds are a natural part of your lawn
For optimal weed-free gardening, plant healthy grass and plants adapted to your microclimate. Weeds tend to take root more readily in open soil where they compete for water and nutrients with grass; keeping your lawn thick through regular lawn care treatments or aeration can prevent these vulnerable spots where weeds might appear.
Roots of weeds carry nitrogen, minerals and trace elements up to the surface where other plants, fungi and worms can utilize them in building soil humus. Weeds also store additional nutrients within their stems and leaves.
Roundup, which contains 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid (DDAC), is currently the only effective chemical herbicide on the market, but there are natural products available that work equally as well if you prefer natural options over chemicals. One such product is bicarbonate powder which you can apply directly onto weeds for killing them quickly while deodorizing and saving money compared to other weed killers; additionally it deodorizes and is less costly. Unfortunately it may not be as strong so more frequent applications may be necessary.
They are an invasive species
Lawn weeds that invade lawns often comprise non-native species. These invasive plants tend to appear after human activity, fire or erosion has altered an area. Non-native weeds often outcompete native grasses and alter ecosystems drastically in areas they invade; some even release chemicals which inhibit other plant’s growth or kill or disrupt it completely.
There are various nonchemical ways of controlling weeds without resorting to chemicals, including hand pulling them and covering them in cardboard, mulch or thick layers of wet leaves. Unfortunately, this approach often takes an inordinately long time. A more effective strategy would be creating a garden with healthy grass growth which blocks out sunlight that weeds thrive in and will therefore discourage their germination and the subsequent reappearance.
Selective herbicides can be an effective solution to eliminating specific types of weeds, like dandelions, without impacting surrounding grasses. In order for this product to work effectively it must be applied at the proper time; some are soil-acting while others must be directly applied onto weeds themselves.
They are a health hazard
Chemical weed killers contain harmful chemicals that are hazardous for plants, animals and humans alike. Furthermore, neonicotinoid chemicals – including imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam and dinotefuran – have also been known to alter bee foraging patterns leading to colony collapse disorder which poses major concerns among gardeners.
Weeds deprive grass and flowers of essential nutrients they require for proper development, while competing for sunlight and water resources. Without proper control measures in place, weeds can quickly spread rapidly across a landscape choking out other plants while siphoning precious resources from its soil.
Springtime is the optimal time for applying weed killer, when the weeds are still dormant and before sprouting occurs. Herbicides require absorption by soil nutrients in order to work, which only happens in warm and moist environments like springtime. Furthermore, most weed killers require multiple treatment cycles in order to achieve full effectiveness.
They are a nuisance
Weeds can be unsightly and provide shelter to rodents and reptiles, create unusable yard space and pose a fire hazard. Additionally, they pose a fire hazard that obstructs access. In addition, overgrown weeds become an eyesore that draws the attention of code enforcement officers; furthermore they pose safety hazards for pedestrians passing by vacancy lots, yards or sidewalks which have overgrown with weeds that attract attention and could result in fines from city authorities.
Hand weeding is the best way to control weeds, while using chemical sprays responsibly is also effective. Natural solutions, such as baking soda, may also prove effective; baking soda has proven its worth as one of the strongest natural fungicides, killing both weeds in soil and providing effective natural fungicide. Apply it in spring and autumn when seeds are most vulnerable.