Why does it seem like some lawns sprout weeds faster than the grass grows in spring? Is yours one of them?
There’s no secret to preventing weeds. The reason some lawns are more susceptible to the typical broadleaf weeds we see in Westchester, NY is because of poor soil quality or improper maintenance—mowing grass too short, improper irrigation, thinness of the lawn and lack of fertilizer.
Grass doesn’t thrive in these conditions, but weeds do just fine. In fact, weeds quickly fill in bare spots and encroach on areas of the lawn where grass is thinning out.
Treating weeds after you see them is a constant battle. The best way to keep your property weed-free is by preventing weeds from growing in the first place. Winter is the time to be thinking about spring weed prevention so you can set your lawn up for a healthy growing season this year.
Which Spring Weeds Are a Problem in Upstate New York?
First, let’s clarify something about the weeds you find popping up in lawns in early spring, after the last evening frost. They are actually winter annual broadleaf weeds that tolerate cold weather, overwinter, and flower in spring or early summer. So, these weeds fester underneath your snow-covered lawn until the top inch of soil warms up to 55 to 58 degrees. Then, the weeds rise to the occasion and spoil the look of your property.
According to the Cornell University Cooperative Extension, the most common winter annual broadleaf weeds that crop up in spring are chickweed, corn speedwell and henbit. The good news is, all of these weeds can be prevented with a well-timed, preventive lawn care program, whether your property is a quaint residential lot or you oversee an expansive commercial site.
What’s the Best Way to Treat Spring Weeds?
We always begin by walking the property to identify areas that need treatment. We know that healthy, thick turf prevents weed infestations. From there, we prescribe a lawn care program that suits your property’s needs. The program includes pre-emergent herbicides that target weeds that have not yet emerged from the soil. The weed preventive forms a barrier at or below the soil surface. When weeds attempt to sprout, they make contact with the barrier and die back before you even see them.
When you take a preventive approach to stopping weeds, your lawn requires fewer inputs. You’ll reduce the amount of weed spot treatments required because you’re managing weeds before they appear.
The Biggest Mistake
The biggest mistake people make is trying to control spring weeds after they see them in the lawn. By then, it’s too late to prevent them. In Westchester, NY, crabgrass and broadleaf weed prevention begins in late spring after snowmelt. The key is to be sure the weed prevention is in place before the soil gets too warm. Because crabgrass is a grass, most combination herbicide and lawn fertilizer products, known as weed and feed fertilizers, generally won’t kill it so areas are spot treated by killing and removing dead crabgrass plants and reseeding.
Do You Have to Use Weed Control to Maintain an Attractive Lawn?
A thick, healthy lawn is the best defense against weeds—and it’s naturally sustainable.Weed control is organic when the focus is on soil health, lawn maintenance best practices and minimizing the use of products with a preventive approach. By addressing spring weeds before you see them, you can get the results you want for your lawn without an excessive use of products.
At Neave Group, we begin our customized turf healthcare program with a free lawn analysis so we can understand what’s going on in your turf. We diagnose any problems and identify concerns that could escalate without preventive measures. Our certified lawn care professionals arrive on site, on schedule to manage weeds and disease.
Beat the spring weeds by calling us for a free site analysis today. We’d be happy to answer any of your questions about our lawn care services and the products we use.