Your lawn has made it through another hot, dry, New England summer. If you are like most people in the North Shore, you have probably suffered through another round of outdoor watering restrictions or complete bans. Being unable to water your lawn means at this point of the season, it may be looking a little thin and weedy in spots.
These weeds can be annuals that will die with the frost or perennials that can grow year after year in your lawn. This Better Homes and Gardens site has a nice slide show of common lawn and garden weeds.
The Fall Growing Season
Weeds in general are very opportunistic and don’t like to fight for resources so they thrive in lawns with thin or patchy root systems. As we approach fall, we’ll see cooler temperatures and higher moisture levels, everything needed for weeds to grow strong and take over your lawn.
Your lawn may have winter annuals or perennial weeds appearing this time of year. Most lawn weeds in the fall can be controlled with broadleaf herbicides just like in the spring and summer. Fall weed control is not only important to keep your lawn looking nice before winter but because it prepares your lawn to come up stronger and healthier the following spring.
I Have A Lawn Service But I Still Have Weeds
Weed control in the heat of summer can be difficult for several reasons. Most chemical products used to control weeds can’t be applied above a certain maximum temperature. This can vary by product, but the typical limitation is somewhere between 850F and 900F.
Secondly, if the conditions are overly dry, the weeds won’t be taking up the product and moving it down into the roots where it can kill the plant. Which is why fall weed control is so important because these herbicide applications can be more effective than they were earlier in the season.
Also, not all weeds germinate at the same time so you may see new types of weeds in the fall that weren’t even in your lawn earlier in the season. Even if you had a pre-emergent herbicide applied in the spring, it won’t help fight off these new weeds because it breaks down over time and isn’t effective this late in the season.
If your lawn care provider is unable to control the growth of weeds in the fall, they may not be applying a post emergent herbicide or not applying it correctly.
If you have a thin lawn that is plagued with late summer weeds, here are a few things you can do to help reduce the issues for fall. If you haven’t yet scheduled it, consider having a core aeration performed on your lawn. This will allow for more water and nutrients to get down in the soil. It will also relieve compacting and allow the roots to grow deeper and utilize those nutrients.
Add in an over-seeding at the same time. The best defense against weeds is a thick full lawn of desirable grass species like annual bluegrass, perennial rye, and other cool season turf types.
Timely fertilization will also help the grass recover and fill in those thin spots before the end of the growing season. Also, if you can, keep watering. While the fall recharge rains are usually abundant, regular watering can help a lawn recover from stress and prepare for the winter ahead.
A dead weed doesn’t produce any seeds, so don’t be afraid to apply a selective herbicide application to remove existing weeds in your lawn this season to reduce the seed load for next season.
Prevention is always the best practice in lawn care so prepare for next spring and plan to apply a pre-emergent to prevent crabgrass and weeds from becoming a problem in the first place. There are some DIY products that can be effective but for best results contact a trusted lawn care provider who can offer a seasonal program to fit your needs.
Get More Info From The Pros!
Looking for more information on fall weed control or just ready to let the professionals take over your lawn care needs? The Grassmaster Plus team is ready and willing to answer any questions you have and can provide you a free quote on your lawn care services for the season. Contact our local office today!