How do weeds end up in your landscape? Most weeds travel to your yard by means of wind, birds, rain, application of soil amendments, transported soil, garden seeds that are not weed-free, or gardeners with seeds already on their clothing. They will always be present in your landscape, but with appropriate planning and management, your landscape will be able to thrive as a lawn or established garden without the hassle of overgrown weeds.

Most weeds will grow in unhealthy lawns. Weeds thrive in conditions where regular landscape care is not maintained. For example, regular weed control, soil improvements (adding compost or mulch), consistent watering, and application of fertilizer will greatly improve your chances of owning a weed-free landscape.

How to improve your chances for a weed-free landscape:

Develop a landscape plan. Your landscape plan should include areas in your yard conducive to sun/shade requirements, problem areas where soil is exposed to sunlight (which increase chances for weed seed germination).

Remove all established weeds from your landscape. Weeds can be removed by digging or pulling. Direct removal of weeds and spot-application of herbicide treatments increase your chances for long-term improvement to your landscape while protecting the surrounding ecosystem. Pesticides and herbicides should be used as a last resort towards controlling weeds in your landscape. Most landscapers will be able to determine which lawn management program is best for your landscape. Before applying any type of pesticide or herbicide your landscaper should properly identify the type of weeds present in your yard. Most weeds have distinct characteristics pertaining to growth habits and appearance. Common weeds include: annual weeds, winter annuals, summer annuals, perennials, broad leaf weeds, and grasses.

Annual weeds live for one year and will germinate from seed. Crabgrass is an annual weed that can be prevented by planting healthy sod in bare patches, cutting your lawn at 2 ½ to 3 inches high, and maintaining a thick and healthy lawn with existing shade trees. These applications will prevent further germination of weed seeds.

Perennial weeds will live for more than two years and frequently lie dormant around summer months and reappear during the fall. Common perennial weeds include Quack grass and Dandelions. For Quack grass the area should be treated with a glyphosate (familiar brands include Roundup or Kleenup), the soil should be tilled and replanted within a week.

Establishing control measures to ensure a weed-free landscape such as eliminating seedlings that take root in your landscape, forming a prevention landscape maintenance plan, repeating your weed prevention plan every year, and maintaining dense turf growth in landscapes are all ways you can reduce the amount of weeds in your landscape.

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