A great looking lawn is just grass under totalitarian rule….
It goes without saying that lawns are grown in a natural environment so it’s inevitable that weeds will want to grow and thrive just as much as the grass plants. Weeds germinate and spread into lawns by blowing in on the wind or by seeds being dropped by birds. There are dozens of common weeds which naturaly occur in our English lawns as our damp fertile enviorment in the UK often creates the perfect conditions for new weed seeds to germinate. Lush healthy lawns are less likely to be as vulnerable to weeds as lawns with a thin sward as it is more difficult for the weed seeds to establish. So all the more reason to keep your lawn weed free as long term it will save you a lot of work! That said, having a few weeds pop up in our lawn doesn’t mean it is in bad condition (or that you are a bad gardener) but if the lawn becomes infested with weeds it can quickly deteriorate.
Why treat weeds in your lawn?
Weeds can be invasive and tend to grow a lot faster than grass plants. Some have broad leaves which can choke out the lawn sward causing deterioration and some have a creeping habit which can spread through the surface of the lawn. So keeping on top of them makes a lot of sense even if it feels like a thankless task at times.
How effective is weed treatment?
There are still quite a few granular weed and feed products which are available to the general public which can be applied with a granular fertiliser spreader during the spring and early summer. These type of products can be moderately effective but are not as good as individual selective herbicides used by professionals.
Most common lawn weeds are fairly easy to control with a range of professional selective amenity herbicides but these products must be applied by a NPTC (National Pesticide Training Certificate) qualified technician. As the name suggests selective herbicides kill weeds but not grass, so whilst most weeds can be controlled, some such as Speedwell and Field Woodrush are not susceptible to modern day selective herbicides.
How do the pro’s handle weed control?
Most lawns will require at least one treatment per year to achieve good weed control, however, spot treatment rather than blanket treatment is favourable for long term control as it is more environmentally friendly. Mindful of caring for the environment residual herbicides should be avoided, but this does mean that new weeds can pop up from time to time during the growing season and require regular treatment.
Most weed treatments are carried out using spray application during the spring and early summer when the weeds are growing strongly and conditions are warm. Treatment can be carried out at any other time during the growing season providing the weeds are actively growing, although weeds should not be treated during periods of drought or during the winter months.
Unfortunately, there is currently no organic method of selectively controlling weeds in lawns other than digging them out with a garden fork as they appear – we actively encourage lawn lovers do this as we know how much they enjoy it…
Once treated it can take a few weeks for the weed plants to die and disappear from the lawn sward. Bizarrely some weeds might actually perk up before they start to die back and some stubborn weeds will often require a second treatment a few months on from the first.
What about Health & Safety for selective lawn herbicides?
All professional herbicides should be used by an NPTC qualified person and the product should be labelled as suitable for amenity use. We recommend that you refrain from using the lawn or letting pets on the lawn on the day of application so the product has a chance to dry and absorb. In all cases always follow the instructions on the label.
Grazing animals, such as pet guinea pigs and rabbits shouldn’t be allowed to graze on treated areas until the treated weeds have died back and become unpalatable. A good solution is to designate a non-treated area specifically for grazing.
Controlling weeds can be a real bind (see what we did there?) so why not let a professional provide you with a bespoke annual lawn care programme which includes weed control plus an array of other specialist treatments and services. You can also take a look at the weed guide offered by Lawntech to help you identify what little invaders have dared to grow in your lawn.