Dandelions and crabgrass can take over an entire lawn in one season. Getting rid of a weed infestation requires work and money. If you don't have these weeds in your lawn already, keeping your lawn help you avoid them. Catching dandelions and crabgrass in the early stages saves you a lot of work in the long run.
A Healthy Lawn
When mowing, the length of the grass should be 2 1/2 to 3 inches. This prevents dandelions and crabgrass seeds from taking root in the lawn. Seeds need sunshine to take root and grow, but they can't get it in a dense lawn. Most lawns need 1 inch of water a week. Test for moisture by sticking your finger about 3 inches down in the soil; if it's moist, don't water. Lawns planted in clay soils need frequent watering for shorter periods, because they absorb only 1/4 inch of water an hour. Since light, frequent watering creates the perfect environment for weeds to grow, be careful to not overdo it. Fertilize according to the specifications of your species of grass.
If there are forsythia shrubs in your area, take note of when they bloom in the spring. That's when the soil reaches the optimal temperature for crabgrass germination. Crabgrass, an annual, produces thousands of seeds from midsummer through early fall. If you don't kill them with a pre-emergent fertilizer at this time, it means a lawn full of crabgrass in the summer. When purchasing pre-emergent herbicide at your local garden center, read the label to see if it kills crabgrass.
A yellow flower shoots up from the center of dandelions. During the next stage of growth, the flower goes to seed and forms a round, fluffy, transparent ball. A slight wind will reseed your lawn with dandelions. If you want to get rid of dandelions, kill or remove the tap root before they go to seed in early spring. Use a pre-emergent herbicide or pull by hand.
If you don't already have a weeding tool, get one at your local gardening center. The weeding tool has a long handle with a two-pronged fork on the end. Shove this tool down into the soil as closely to the base of the dandelion as possible. The tap root is very long on a mature weed, so push the tool down as far as it will go. Using a prying motion, loosen the weed in the soil. Once loosened, it should come out easily. If the tap root comes out broken, dig down deeper to get the rest. If you'd prefer not to pull weeds, buy a pre-emergent herbicide at any garden center and spray the dandelions. Read the directions and use accordingly.
White vinegar or boiling water can be poured on the weeds to kill them. Wait a week to see if the vinegar does the job. If not, use the pre-emergent herbicide.
Use a post-emergent herbicide if it's past spring and re-seeded weeds are growing. Most herbicides treat several weeds at once. Make sure that crabgrass and dandelions are stated on the label.
- Colorado State Extension: Control of Annual Grassy Weeds in Lawns
- "Ultimate Lawn Guide"; Ken Collier; 2009
- "1001 All-Natural Pest Control"; Bader; 2007
- "The Organic Lawn Care Manual"; Paul Tukey and Nell Newman; 2007
- Photo Credit dandelions image by Sebastian from Fotolia.com
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