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Understanding Weeds

Weeds are simply plants that grow in the wrong place.  There is no such thing as a weed-free environment.  Weeds have three major life cycles:  annual, bi-annual, perennials; and within annuals and perennials there are several different types.   Weeds will always be a task to manage year round, every year!

There are many other types of weeds such as simple perennials, creeping perennials, bulbous perennials, etc. which complete the cycles.  Weeds come in thousands of shapes and variations.  They can be described by the basic structure which generally places them in one of two groups:  Broadleaf and Grassy Weeds.

Some common summer annuals include Crabgrass, Foxtail, Velvet Leaf, Pigweed, and Spotted Spurge to name only a few. 

Summer weeds germinate in the spring and produce seed before dying in the fall.

Some common winter annuals include Downy Borne, Henbit, Mustard, and Pennycress to name only a few. 

Winter weeds germinate in the fall producing roots and groups of leaves called Rosettes.  They remain inactive until spring, at which time they mature, produce seed and then die before summer.

Weeds have an amazing capacity to reproduce by seed alone; most weeds can produce an enormous number of seeds.  These seeds are widely spread by animals as well as the elements.  Each seed is actually a time capsule that remains viable for a long time, even up to 20 to 100 years in your soil.  Aerating, digging and general disturbing of the soil will cause these seeds to germinate if sunlight reaches them in your lawn.  Keeping grass cut at 4” will help shade these dormant seeds.

Mother Nature has also given weeds other tricks.  Some spread by stolon, which are stems creeping above the ground that root as they grow.  Other weeds like thistles and quackergrass spread underground by rhizomes.  You can pull or dig them up, but unless you get all their roots, they just grow back again.  Control weeds when they are young at the beginning of their growing cycle.  Stay vigilant and be proactive.  You can control weeds in your gardens, flowers, shrubs, etc… when their reseeding cycle is broken.  You will be glad you stayed on top of it.  Don’t use toxic herbicide around your home.  If you need to spray weeds, use my product “Cinge”.  I developed it to be non-toxic to your family, pets, vegetables, flowers, soil & our environment.

Post emergent treatments will only kill what the spray comes in contact with.  Weed seedlings that are present in these treated areas will germinate and return within days or weeks and will continue until all ground seeds have germinated or die.  Do not spray weeds when temperatures and humidity are above the recommended requirements for safe application.  Therefore, there will be times when balance care will need to be applied on a timely schedule by you.  Keep weeds and grasses cut and bagged to help prevent the spreading of these undesirable weed seedsHand pull weeds when they are small and before they develop seed heads and spread their seedlings for the next year.


Grassy weeds

Grassy weeds such as Bermuda and Dallas grass are some of the most troublesome and unattractive grasses.  When these grasses produce seed heads they must be kept cut, either daily or weekly to help reduce reproduction for the next season.

Again in early-to-mid August these grasses must be killed using Cinge which is an organic weed and grass killer and should be applied in the early morning when possible.  The grass when sprayed will actually change shades, the Bermuda weeds will be a light gray color, while fine fescue will be darker so you can see the sprayed areas, therefore allowing you to keep your kill down areas confined to the targeted grasses. 

Repeat this process after 2 days to achieve a total kill down of the undesired areas and if needed, spray at recommended rate ONLY (more is not better).  With total death in place, scalp these dead grasses off at soil level.  Removal of dead grass and debris is necessary because if left, it will inhibit seed germination.  Now these areas will be ready for Jackhammer and seeding in September.  Recovery of these areas through re-seeding will be long.  This application of repair unfortunately promotes broadleaf weeds.  Do not be alarmed by their presence.  You will not treat fall weeds until after 4 mowings of newly seeded areas and only if grass is not under weather stress.  However you can hand pull weeds as needed.  But avoid trampling down new grass.  If you do, then take a rake or lawn blower and stand the grass back upright to avoid killing the grass.


Understanding Pre-emergent weed control.

Pre-emergent weed products applied to turf grass will never be a complete control.  Pre-emergent products only control a small amount of the grass and broadleaf weed families.  This is why weeds still emerge throughout the year.  If you are following your year round turf control program and weeds continue to appear, these weeds are species that there is no pre-emergent control for.  Post emergent herbicides will be needed to control these varieties, but only after they emerge or by managing by hand pulling.

Control means to kill as seen and to slow their aggressive nature.  The invisible barrier that is formed when pre-emergent weed and grass controls are applied are weakened by and/or their longevity shortened when the ground is disturbed by dogs, spinning mower wheels, pulling of weeds, weed eating(over time), excess rain, drought, core aeration raking and thatching.

The main reason weeds are so tough to control is that they simply are tougher than other plants.

Controlling weeds in the turf areas only and letting weeds go untreated in beds, woods, and fields will help supply more weed seeds to turf and make lawn appear more undesirable.

Weeds have an evolutionary mechanism of survival built in through centuries that insure their continuing success despite all of the devastation that we have planned for them.

Because different weeds grow during different seasons, weed control is and will always be, an all year, every year challenge.  Stay proactive!