Question: How should I manage weeds in my lawn?
Answer: If you have a large landscape, consider letting some of the yard grow without weed control and decide on a smaller area to maintain as a weed free lawn.
Mowing your “natural” areas on a regular basis will prevent some plants from seeding and will keep those areas manageable. Honey bees and other pollinators will thank you for allowing the dandelions, henbit, dead nettle, clover, asters, daisies, thistles and other flowers to grow.
For the lawn area that you decide to keep weed free, you may find there is not a one answer that fits all. For example, if you see a lot of clover, you may have low nitrogen content in your soil. If there is a lot of sedges and buttonweed, you may have drainage issues. If you have goosegrass, compaction could be an issue. Carpetgrass indicates a low PH and plaintain grows in soils with a higher PH. Lots of spurge? Maybe you have a nematode problem. Solving these issues is a good place to start. It is also a good idea to submit soil to our local extension office for testing in order to identify possible nutrient deficiencies.
Make sure you are growing a turf type suitable to our area, such as bermuda grass or zoysia grass. Mow only 1/3 of the height at a time and mow to the right height for the type of turf you are growing. Bermuda grass should be mowed to 1/2” to 1 1/2” depending on variety and zoysia to 1” to 2”. In August, mow to a higher height, especially with zoysia grass.
If herbicides are necessary, start in February/March with an application of pre-emergent herbicide such as prodiamine, pendimethalin, or dithiopyr to Bermuda and zoysia grasses. If broadleaf weeds are a problem, you can use 2,4-D (Trimec, Weedout, Weed B Gone). In May through July, fertilize your lawn based on soil test recommendations. To control crabgrass that escaped the pre-emergent herbicide, you can apply quinclorac. In August through September, if annual bluegrass is a problem, you can reapply the pre-emergent herbicide. Simazine is recommended if needed in November or early December.
Good luck developing that perfect lawn and have a happy week in your garden!
Do you have a gardening question? Call the Pontotoc Extension Service at 662-489-3911 and ask to leave a question for the Master Gardeners. Pontotoc County Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who help the MSU Extension Service and serve the people of Pontotoc County.