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The War Against Lawn Weeds

Contributed by: Mallory Kelley, Regional Extension Agent

Many of you have given up the battle to treat your lawn on your own, and many of you are still waging war yourself and wondering “What am I doing wrong?” Well, if you want to get ahead of the game, a pre-emergent applied in February is the way to go! This article will hopefully give you several tips from pre and post emergent products to fertilizers to help you achieve the beautiful lawn you are hoping for. 

The most popular product out there that seems to have it all, the “one stop shop” for all your lawn needs is the “weed and feed” products. I am often asked if this is the correct way to treat the lawn.  In central Alabama, there is not a large window of time during which this product would be beneficial, but it can be used in May or early June when an extra application of fertilizer would not hurt, and the application of the pre-emergent chemical in the product will help prevent weed seeds from germinating through the summer and into the fall.

The best and most effective control of weeds in the lawn may take a little more effort than the “weed & feed”, “all in one” products, but you can save money and time in the long run applying them separately.  Pre-emergent weed killers should be selected based on the type of grass you have.  These weed control products are preventative, so they should be applied before the weeds are visible in the lawn as they prevent the seeds of the weeds from germinating.  These and can be applied any time of year except during “green-up” or to newly seeded or sprigged lawns, but again February is a great month as we will soon have spring like temperatures and spring weeds will start to germinate.  Do not reseed a lawn for 4-6 months after a pre-emergent chemical is applied and remember to always read and follow all label instructions when making applications of any chemical.  I have provided information below to access our website for a list of all Pre and Post-emergent chemicals on the market so you can correctly select the chemical that is best for your lawn situation. Don’t forget, a post-emergent herbicide is only going to kill a weed that has already begun to grow in the lawn.

Fertilizers are generally applied twice throughout the year, first in early spring during green-up and then again in mid-summer.  Fertilizer type and amounts should be based on soil test results, not guess work and anytime is a good time to have a soil test.  Soil tests will provide you with the correct type of fertilizer and amounts needed for your specific lawn. A soil test will also indicate whether lime is needed, and lime can be added at anytime of year. Remember, lime raises the soil pH.  A soil test will help you become more accurate in your fertilizer application, provide your grass with the exact nutrients it needs and save you money down the road.

For information on proper care of your turfgrass visit our publications online at www.aces.edu and search for the type of grass you have.  Also, for a list of pre and post-emergent chemicals that are available and the type of lawn they can be applied to, visit our website and search for: IPM Weed Control or access this link:  http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-0500-B/VOL2-2011/home_lawns_weed.pdf

Join us in February for our lunch and learn gardening programs in Central Alabama.

All Programs are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

EVERY MONTH from 12:00-1:00, Bring a Sack Lunch, Drinks Provided!

February’s Topics and locations:

Montgomery: The 1st Wednesday of EVERY month, Armory Learning Arts Center, 1018 Madison Ave.              For more information: (334)270-4133

Topic: Home Gardening Facts, Mallory Kelley, Regional Extension Agent

Wetumpka: The 2nd Tuesday of EVERY month, Elmore Co. Extension Office, 340 Queen Ann Road     For more information: (334)567-6301

Topic: Backyard Birding and Wildlife, Hal Smith, Wild Birds Unlimited

Prattville: The 1st Thursday of EVERY month, Trinity United Methodist, 610 Fairview Ave., Prattville AL           For more information: (334)361-7273

Topic: Rose Gardens, Gloria Purnell, Master Rosarian

***Coosa: Monday, February 26 from 11:00-1:00 Coosa County Extension Office, 13999 AL Highway 22, Rockford, AL

For more information: (256)377-4713

Topic: Seed Starting and Grafting Techniques, Mallory Kelley, Regional Extension Agent