Managing Weeds

Our demonstration site incorporates several management programs including organic lawn care, popular 4 step granular programs as well as a site-specific integrated pest management approach. We include cost per acre of various programs for homeowners to understand the economics of managing weeds on multi-acre lawn sites.
We demonstrate application technologies available to homeowners to apply weed control chemicals including advantages and disadvantages of various approaches [dry granular products vs. spray products] along with the investment dollars required. We review the cost of purchasing garden center weed control products; educating the audience on substantial cost differentials of similar products.
Weed invasions into turfgrass can be significantly reduced by maintaining dense stands of turfgrass. Turfgrass species should be adapted to the site to be maintained in a dense, vigorous condition. Managing turfgrass inappropriately, such as scalping, provides openings for weed invasion resulting in degradation of the turfgrass stand. Severe drought can allow weeds to invade through the thinning stand of turfgrass. Tall fescue is more drought tolerant than perennial ryegrass; after a drought, weeds were more invasive in perennial ryegrass.

Pointing to a seedling crabgrass in May. Homeowners interested in controlling crabgrass with herbicides should apply a pre-emergence treatment several weeks prior to crabgrass germination. Generally corresponding to forsythia bloom. Once crabgrass germinates, control becomes very difficult for homeowners usually requiring professional applications of herbicides.

Crabgrass competing with turfgrass in July dies in October. Plants can grow over 1 foot in diameter producing thousands of seeds for future years. Crabgrass flourishes in drought, leading to degradation of the lawn. Close mowing increases crabgrass populations. Mow above 2 1/2 inches.
Broadleaf weeds including dandelion and broadleaf plantain shown above are readily controlled after establishment with an array of herbicides available at garden centers. The twisting leaves are a typical response to a herbicide application several days prior.

Properly managing the appropriate turfgrass for a site can reduce weed invasion through competition from the turfgrass. An aggressive drought tolerant turfgrass above was able to provide a dense stand of turfgrass resisting weed invasion.

Homeowners benefit from understanding what pesticides are available at garden centers and interpretation of labels [EPA requirement] including safe handling and storage. It is important to properly identify and use the appropriate product for the intended pest.

Homeowners many times apply liquid pest control products to their lawns and landscapes. Backpack sprayers are a cost-effective efficient mechanism to apply liquid products on larger properties. A review of safe and accurate handling procedures is included in training.