Easy Tricks to Keep Your Lawn and Garden Weed-Free

Weeds. When you’re trying to maintain an attractive and healthy lawn and garden, they are the bane of your existence. It always seems like when you get rid of one, a dozen more pop up in its place. Weed eradication can easily feel like a losing battle, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With a few easy tricks gathered from the pros, you can stay ahead of the weeds and keep your lawn and garden healthy and thriving all season long.

Know Your Weeds

The first step to any effective lawn weed control plan is to understand what you’re dealing with. Getting rid of dandelions, for example, requires a different approach than eradicating crabgrass or plantain, quickgrass, or thistle. Identifying the weeds in your lawn allows you to create a more effective plan, as there is no one method that will kill all weeds. In some cases, pulling the weeds out is the best option, while others will respond better to herbicide application. If you spot weeds in your lawn, do some research to determine what you are dealing with and uncover the best methods of getting rid of them.

Be Proactive

The best way to deal with a weed issue to keep it from happening in the first place. There are two main ways of doing this.

· Don’t Give Weeds a Place to Grow. Weeds tend to be opportunists, meaning that they will take root where there is space and enough sunlight for them to thrive. In some cases, weeds appear as a result of an issue with the soil; ivy and moss, for instance, will appear where the ground stays damp and lacks drainage. To keep weeds from popping up, focus on maintaining optimal conditions for grass, and filling in bare patches that could be enticing to weeds. When your yard is filled with healthy, strong grass, there is simply nowhere for weeds to go.

· Kill Weeds Before They Start. In addition to keeping your grass healthy, applying pre-emergent weed killers can stop weeds before they even start. Pre-emergent herbicides are often mixed with fertilizers designed for application early in the season, helping your grass grow while preventing weed seeds from even germinating.

Take Care of Your Lawn

Since taking care of your grass and keeping it healthy is the best approach to preventing weeds, it’s important to know what that looks like. All too often, homeowners overcomplicate their lawn care, doing more damage than good. To help keep your grass in good shape, do the following.

· Water correctly. Watering your grass infrequently, but deeply, is much better than frequent shallow watering. Watering too often doesn’t give the roots enough water, and thus they grow shallow, which encourages the growth of weeds like crab grass. Your lawn needs about an inch of water per week (two inches in especially hot or dry areas), so use a rain gauge to determine when

your lawn has reached that level. Different areas of your lawn may need more water than others, so watch which areas seem to dry out first.

· Don’t over fertilize. When your lawn appears to be faltering, the temptation is often to feed it. However, most lawns only need to be fed once or twice a year, which will provide adequate

nutrients for the season. The right amount of fertilizer encourages deep root growth and helps prevent sparse areas that allow weeds to take hold. Too much fertilizer can feed weeds, so be sure to follow the feeding recommendations for your area and type of grass.

· Mow properly. How you mow your lawn can also effect weed growth. When you cut the grass too short, it reduces the plants’ ability to produce nutrients that support health. Ideally, your grass should

be cut between two and four inches, depending on the type of grass you have. This could mean that you skip a week or go longer between mowing, and that’s okay. Also, be sure to keep your lawn mower blades sharp (some people even coat the blades with cooking spray) to ensure they make clean cuts and don’t tear or crush the blades of grass. When grass isn’t cut cleanly, it becomes more susceptible to disease and doesn’t grow strong, creating a hospitable environment for weeds.

Keeping weeds from overtaking your lawn isn’t difficult, but it doesn’t require some diligence. If nothing else works, post-emergent herbicides can address the issue, but with the right care and preventive actions, you can avoid having to take drastic measures and still have a gorgeous lawn.

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