“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”
The most effective weed control program starts with proper site preparation for your new lawn. Once the lawn is established, weeds are best controlled by maintaining your lawn in a healthy green and dense condition. An appropriate watering schedule combined with a regular fertilization program , will go a long way to maintaining your lawn in a healthy weed free state.
In some circumstances, like shade for example, you may have difficulty maintaining turf density and therefore experience some weed infestation. Depending on the severity, you can manually pull the weeds or use a chemical weed control applied by yourself or a lawn service. If you’re a “do-it-yourselfer”, be sure to read the label. Remember, it is illegal to use a lawn chemical in a manner contrary to the label.
Before you purchase a chemical, it is useful to understand some fundamental terminology and concepts. For starters, chemicals used to kill weeds are known as herbicides. Herbicides are typically categorized as either a preemergent or postemergent. Preemergent herbicides are used to control weeds as they germinate from seed, while postemergent herbicides are used to control weeds after they have germinated.
Weeds are categorized as either “broadleaf” or “grassy” weeds. The distinction is simple yet very important when it comes to herbicide selection. Like the term implies, “grassy” weeds are weeds that have blade type leaves, similar to those in a lawn. Basically, grassy weeds are grass varieties that you do not want mixed in with your lawn. Broadleaf weeds are everything else.
When it comes to weeds, most of us are reactive rather than proactive. In some instances, this can make the process of weed eradication more difficult than it could have been. Grassy weeds like crabgrass, common Bermuda, and annual bluegrass, are more difficult to control once they have germinated (post germination). Although postemergent control is possible, these weeds are best controlled through the use of preemergent herbicides applied in the spring and/or the fall. Most broadleaf weeds, on the other hand, can be effectively controlled on an as needed basis using a postemergent herbicide.
Before you purchase an herbicide, be sure to at least identify the weed as either grassy or broadleaf. If you can, attempt to identify the weed you are trying to control more specifically. You may want to bring a sample into your local nurseryman or review the Turfgrass Weed Photo Gallery located on the University Cooperative Extension Pest Management Guidelines. Once you have identified the weed, your local nurseryman will be able to help you select an herbicide that is most effective for your needs. To aid in your search, we have included a table of lawn herbicides available on a retail basis.
Notice that there are NO preemergent herbicides listed, since they have not been packaged for homeowner use. If your lawn has a history of weed problems, or you want to be assured that your lawn remains weed free, you may want to consider a lawn service to recommend and apply an annual preemergent application for you. If you would like more information you can contact our support team at 1-800-4-MARATHON