The prevalence of weeds is a problem for any gardener and the laborious task of getting rid of a lawn full of weeds can seem never-ending. Just as the last one is pulled up another pops up in its’ place. But that’s an inevitable part of getting your lawn ready for the summer season.
Most people with a lawn strive to have their green space looking as pristine and pretty as possible. The presence of weeds is often an unwanted distraction that not only diminishes the look of the lawn but also can cause problems for the lawn, grass, and other plant life nearby.
Weeds can serve some early good purpose; dandelions can provide an early source of pollen for bees prior to spring and summer flowering. But the majority of weeds are a blight and many people are keen to keep weeds away from their precious lawns.
If you’re wondering how to get rid of a lawn full of weeds, keep reading!
What are Weeds?
A weed is a wild plant that sprouts and grows in areas where they shouldn’t be present.
Some weeds are perennial meaning they come back year after year. Dandelions, for example, are perennial weeds as they don’t perish at the end of the growing season but instead become dormant in winter before sprouting in spring.
Annual weeds grow each season from seeds that have been spread by the donor plant. These seeds traveling by being on the wind or being caught in the fur of wandering animals. The seeds germinate in the soil before sprouting the following growing season and the process starts again.
Common Lawn Weed Types
It is easy to group weeds into one all-encompassing category; but there are three main types of weed, each with its’ own characteristics.
Broad-leaf weeds have large flat leaves that don’t resemble typical grass and are easy to identify. A well-known example of a broad-leaf weed is dandelions.
Grassy weeds can be more difficult to spot as they resemble the grass found on a typical lawn. They also grow in much the same way. Examples of a grassy weed include crabgrass and foxtails.
Grass-like weeds have similar characteristics and are closely related to grassy weeds; however, they are often more tubular in shape and are not flat. Wild garlic and wild onion are two well-known examples of grass-like weeds.
Left to run rampant, weeds can take away essential soil nutrients as well as sunlight and moisture from lawn grass which can prove detrimental to the health of the grass, preventing its’ growth. Leaving you with a lawn full of weeds.
The best way to tackle weeds is to eliminate areas where they can take hold, and having a healthy lawn makes it difficult for weeds to thrive.
Why is My Lawn Full of Weeds?
Weeds enjoy areas where the grass is weaker and thinner, allowing them to take root by invading spaces where the grass isn’t strong or healthy enough to repel the weed.
A patchy lawn can also provide a great haven for weeds to set up shop. Dealing with patchy areas by planting and growing fresh, healthy grass can make it harder for weeds to take hold.
Flourishing weeds compete with grass for moisture and soil nutrients. However, due to the root systems of weeds, they often win the battle leaving your grass undernourished and lacking in the water and nutrients needed to grow healthily. This in turn allows existing weeds to flourish while inviting other weeds to also invade.
Getting Rid of Weeds
In order to have a healthy lawn, you need to make weeding a regular part of your lawn and garden care routine. The sooner weeds are removed – before they have a chance to properly take hold – the better for the lawn.
And while getting rid of weeds can be time-consuming, it’s worth it in the end with a lush, green, and healthy lawn as a reward.
Some of the most common ways to get rid of a yard full of weeds include:
The automatic choice for many is to reach for a chemical weedkiller which is an effective – if slow – way of controlling weeds.
However, a chemical weedkiller can damage the soil as well as prove hazardous to pets and people. Careless spraying can also negatively impact the lawn by killing the nearby grass and opening the way for more weeds to take hold.
If using chemical weedkillers it is better to apply directly to the weed in order to minimize the potential for the chemical to damage other parts of the lawn.
As an alternative to a chemical weedkiller, consider using vinegar. The acidity dries out the weeds although it might take a little longer to begin seeing results.
Removing the Weeds
Removing weeds by hand takes time and is a job that has to be done properly. It isn’t enough to simply pull the weed out of the ground as some or all of the root might break off and remain in the soil leading to later regrowth.
It’s always better to remove the weed plant in its’ entirety by digging out the roots. Just be careful that the weed doesn’t spread seeds during the removal.
Keeping your lawn well maintained can help you prevent a lawn full of weeds by reducing the number of weeds that might take root. In addition, careful and regular grass cutting allows for healthier grass to grow, much like a haircut in humans removes dead-ends and allows for thicker, healthier hair to grow in its’ place. The same holds true for grass.
Take care, however, not to cut the grass too short. This can lead to thinner grass patches which in turn can allow weeds to ingress. Also, while mowing directly over weeds might chop them down for removal, it can also spread the weeds’ seeds over a greater distance while leaving the root unharmed.
Edges and corners can be difficult to reach for a conventional mower so the use of a string trimmer to address hard to reach areas is a good idea. There is a range of trimmers available to suit many budgets, some with basic cutting functions, others with additional features. Check out this list of string trimmers if you’re interested in purchasing one.
Planting New Grass Seed
Another way to get rid of a lawn full of weeds is to plant new grass seed. Complement your existing lawn and address patchy areas where the grass is thinner by planting new grass seed.
The new grass will help to thicken already existing grass while filling in barer patches. This makes it harder for weeds to invade and take hold.
Also, make sure to water your lawn regularly, perhaps adding the occasional lawn food mix to promote healthy growth. When watering the lawn you should do so early in the morning or in the evening when the heat isn’t as severe. You should also try to avoid watering in direct sunlight where possible.
Having a healthy, beautiful lawn is something all homeowners strive for, but weeds can quickly turn your lawn into an uneven, ugly field. If you’re wondering how to get rid of a lawn full of weeds, these tips can help you achieve a lush, beautiful lawn.