CHEMICAL-FREE WEED WARFARE
You can have a good looking, virtually weed free lawn without the use of chemicals. You can have a good looking, virtually weed free lawn without the use of chemicals. Now that I have hypnotized you into believing this, you must understand the laws of the lawn. 1). What is a weed? A weed is, terminology wise, a plant that is out of place or in the wrong place. On a putting green at a golf course, Kentucky Bluegrass would be a weed, whereas on your home lawn, bentgrass is the weed. Society’s perception of a weed has changed over the years. Clover was soft to walk on, mows well, smothers other weeds as well as fixing nitrogen from the air. It was sold by the tons and mixed into lawns. It wasn’t until a company came along and said that clover didn’t fit into a “modern” lawn did it fall from grace. By the way, the company also sold a chemical that would kill the clover. What about dandelions? Are they weeds? Not to the kid blowing puffballs, or the old man making dandelion wine or the farmers in Vineland, New Jersey. They grow dandelions in neat little rows for their tasty greens that are sold up and down the east coast. On those farms, turfgrass is the weed. The most important question you can ask yourself is, “Can I stand a few weeds in my lawn?” As my father always told me, weeds stay green all summer long and your lawn looks green from the road, so they can’t be all that bad. If you must remove the weeds, do so with cultural methods, such as the dandelion fork. To keep future weeds out, the best defense is a healthy, thick lawn. If the lawn is thick and vigorous, there won’t be any room for the weeds to elbow their way in. Keeping your lawn 1/2” higher in the summer will not only keep the roots long, but will also shade out the newly emerging weeds. If you have a weedy lawn, good grass care will eventually force the weeds out, but this will take time. You can quicken this time by doing the elbow grease of pulling, chopping and cutting the weeds. This will not be as easy as spraying the lawn with herbicides, but there are plenty of reasons to avoid using chemicals. Chemicals are poisons, plain and simple. And as I have stated earlier, chemicals can slow down the biological processes that strengthen the grass plants, decompose thatch, and discourages diseases. There are several bad management practices that can lead to weeds; 1). You are growing the wrong type of grass for the area. 2). Your soil is compacted 3). Heavy use 4). Improper fertilization 5). Drought or improper watering habits 6). Mowing too closely 7). You shouldn’t grow grass in that area.
HOW TO BEAT CRABGRASS
How would you feel if I told you that you could reduce the amount of crabgrass to nothing without work, chemicals or weeding? The University of Rhode Island has showed that higher mowing alone reduced crabgrass on their test plots to almost nothing over a five year period. They also found out that the non-chemical control worked better than the chemical control, even though it took time. The second study was done over 50 years ago by the Ohio Extension Service. It showed that a late season fertilizer (November) got the grass growing earlier which in turn crowded out the crabgrass. The third method is more drastic and should only be used on severely populated crabgrass areas. Cover the area with the black weed fabric that is available on the market today for ten days. The crabgrass will be dead when the fabric is removed, but the regular grass will be yellow and will recoup by two weeks. Although this is the drastic method, sometimes your lawn will only be crabgrass and this method will be the best way for you to overcome crabgrass.
Lastly, applying an organic product called corn gluten twice per year will help reduce the amount of weeds. Notice that I didn't say eliminate. This product does take time to become effective, so for complete control you are looking at 2 to 3 years. The good news is it won't harm you or your children or pets, so taking a little more time to work is okay with me. The best time to apply is late fall and early spring, then you will be apply to apply grass seed in early fall and have it germinate before the next application. Also this product is an organic fertlizer as well, so you will be getting the benefit of adding nutrients to the soil to help the grass become healthy and strong.