When it comes to weed management, herbicide technology has revolutionized our ability to manage common turfgrass weeds. However, these granular powder and liquid marvels are just tools in an overall strategy for integrated weed management. When we consider the use of incorrect herbicides or poor fundamental techniques such as mowing or watering with that idea in mind, plan your next move around a reference book on plant identification and calendar before selecting any kind of chemical weapon against those pesky invaders! The integrated approach to managing the annual onslaught of weeds means first outsmarting the weeds and then using tools like herbicides to finish them off.
What does it mean to outsmart weeds?
“What type of environmental factors will weeds thrive in?”
It’s a question that many turfgrass managers ask themselves, but it can be difficult to answer. Thankfully, certain weed species indicate whether or not conditions for other types of weeds exist. If you see these “indicator” plants thriving near your lawn then the environment is likely conducive to other problematic growth as well and should be investigated more closely before any damage occurs.”
The weeds in your yard can tell you a lot about the condition of that area. If prostrate knotweed, spurge, and goosegrass all persistently grow on compacted soils or if nutsedge is concentrated there then compaction may be an issue. Annual bluegrass often grows where drainage isn’t ideal so it’s worth remedying problem sites to prevent future herbicide applications from becoming necessary.
Weed life cycles
Outsmarting weeds also requires knowing both the weeds themselves and their life cycles. Weeds can follow one of four life cycles: summer annual, winter annual, biennial or perennial.
- Biennials are relatively rare in both nature and turfgrass systems, so they don’t warrant much discussion here beyond the simple fact that their life cycle occurs over two years.
- The annual life cycle is a unique process that you and I have to tend with our lawns. Summer annual weeds, as the name implies enjoy their most active growth during summer following germination in spring while winter annuals typically grow through fall before completing their 12-month lifecycle next year’s Springtime! Common winter annual weeds in turf include annual bluegrass, wild garlic, chickweed, and henbit.
- Perennial weeds are pesky plants. They can stick around for several years and cause a lot of trouble, but luckily there are ways to get rid of them! One way is weed control with chemicals that kill the plant while it grows in your lawn. Another option would be using an organic method like digging out some pieces of root or spraying herbicides onto the leaves where they grow from underground stems called rhizomes – this will either prevent new roots from growing or make existing ones wither away if you keep on top of things! You might also want to try covering up their flowers when they start blooming by planting grasses over them so someone won’t accidentally step on one and bring more seeds into your yard…
Weed control strategies: broadleaf weeds
Selective broadleaf herbicides include the phenoxy group (e.g. 2,4D, dichlorprop), benzoic acid group (dicamba), and pyridine carboxylic acid group (clopyralid). More recently introduced to the turf market is quinclorac; the newest of these products comes in a mixture with phenoxy chemicals called carfentrazone which was just released for use on home lawns last year by Monsanto Company – one can only imagine how excited homeowners are about this new product!
If you want a more lush lawn, then it is important to know how herbicides can affect your turf. Herbicides will kill all the plants in their range when they are applied so that’s why established gardens and yards don’t typically have problems with this chemical weed killer. However, seedlings of turfgrass tend not to be as efficient at breaking down these chemicals which means new grass isn’t always able to stand up against them well enough – especially because most products require three mowings before being used again or even sooner for some brands.
The life cycle of your weeds dictates when to apply herbicides. Fall is a good time, as perennials are at their weakest and the new reserves they send for winter will be depleted after applying an effective treatment in fall. Planting a new lawn in the fall? If you don’t want to wait, be sure your soil is moist when applying postemergence herbicides. These will work best if they’re applied before perennial broadleaf weeds send out their resources for flower production during early spring – right after being mowed 3 times and before any seeds or roots of annual plants developing from seed banks within the top few inches of the earth’s surface that are still warm enough to sprout them!
To maintain a healthy, weed-free lawn it is important to use the right tools for the job. One of these tools includes post-emergent products that are applied in spring as well as fall and can control broadleaf weeds when necessary.
A pre-emergency alternative would be Isoxaben which controls annuals but doesn’t interact with overseeding programs like post emergents do. The best way forward? Talk with your local Norditropin fertilizer dealer about what you need.
As warmer weather approaches, it is important to remember that there are only a few months left in which post-emergence control of annual broadleaf weeds will be most effective. If the weed has already begun flowering, then the application of herbicides may not yield good results because resources have been allocated elsewhere.
Sprays are the best way to apply post-emergence broadleaf herbicides as they provide better coverage of target weeds. If you’re worried about drift, then granules might be your go-to option since it’s less risky and more efficient in large areas with sensitive plants nearby.
Weed control strategies: annual grasses
It is challenging to control one type of grass in another. With a few post-emergence options, like MSMA and quinclorac available, pre-emergent herbicides have become the standard for annuals. Strictly speaking, they don’t kill germinating seeds but rather prevent new shoots from emerging through the soil surface once applied; inhibiting root as well as shoot growth when encountered by plants that come into contact with them while trying to grow. This makes them highly effective in developing weeds but also possibly detrimental to newly established turfgrasses.
Mow newly seeded turfgrasses at least three times before applying pre-emergence herbicides to assure safety. Siduron and quinclorac are exceptions because they can be used in conjunction with the seeding of most cool-season turfgrasses. Oxadiazon is another exception, it can be used to control weeds during sod or sprig establishment; however, dithiopyr has some early post-emergence activity on annual grasses so property timing is critical for that product alone!
The warm temperatures of spring are the time for tree flowering, but soil temperature is more consistent to use as a gauge. Crabgrass will germinate when it reaches 55°F in late spring and annual bluegrass can be detected at this range once fall sets in.
Despite the variable climates that we experience, soil temperatures and timing for summer annual grass control ranges from February in the southern Transition Zone to May in northern states. For winter annuals like perennial bluegrass, application time ranges from August in northern areas to early fall south of us.
Summer annual grass control often requires a repeat application later in the growing season because most pre-emergence herbicides don’t persist in soil for the entire growing season. Luckily, there are two types of products that do not require additional applications: prodiamine and dithiopyr. With these long-lasting treatments, you only need to apply them once! Just make sure to water it all into your garden so they can get down deep where they’re needed – we know how hard summer is on gardens as well as our plant’s health.
Control of perennial grasses
Three approaches are available for the control of perennial grasses and each has an upside, a downside, and its unique characteristics. Mechanical removal is labor-intensive but can provide temporary relief. Nonselective herbicides work well on cool-season perennial grasses during the dormant season in warm-season turf while selective ones provide more targeted action against troublesome weeds like dallisgrass or quackgrass with less risk to plants you want around than other types – including your lawn! The best herbicides for perennial grasses are those with systematic activity, such as glyphosate or glufosinate. When time is an issue and you can’t wait a few weeks before making another application of this kind of chemical to kill your target weeds to get the best long-term results.
Selective herbicides are the most challenging way to control weeds in turf because of their biological similarity. To combat this, timing is key and should focus on when the weed is growing actively rather than your precious grasses. For example, applying a selective herbicide such as fenoxprop or fluazifop may only suppress warm-season perennials like bermudagrass but getting complete kills would be unrealistic.
As the weather gets colder, you should know how to properly take care of your lawn. For example, when dealing with weeds and grasses in a managed turf environment, be it for golf courses or other athletic fields, it is important not only to first focus on keeping your plants healthy but also being diligent about looking out for any possible dangers that could come from weed growth like fungi. You can always find great ways here on our blog.