Weeds are the bane of existence for homeowners all over the world. If you've ever left your home for a weekend getaway during the summer months, you understand how quickly weeds can take control of a lawn, flower bed, or garden. Weeds can even overtake a lawn, turning the turf into a nursery for dandelions and clover, which seem to claim more ground with every passing season.
How can you get a handle on weeds in your lawn or garden? Should you use chemicals or attempt to control them by hand? When is the best time to address the problem - before or after germination?
The truth is, every lawn and landscape is different, thus requiring its own plan of weed-attack. What follows is some basic information meant to arm you with the tactics and weaponry to combat the nastiest of weed infestations. And remember: THIS IS WAR!
As winter eases its grip and springtime approaches, you likely start thinking about the tasks you need to accomplish when the busy season hits. This is the time of year when you plan to stay on top of your landscape chores, perhaps even devising a regular schedule to tackle weeds.
Suddenly, it's mid-July and there are more weeds in the garden than flowers. What went wrong?
The enjoyment of spring and summer often gets in the way of the best yard care intentions. So, instead of planning your attack during the spring months, it may be better to actually go on the attack with a little pre-emergent weed control.
There are numerous advantages to pre-emergent weed control:
One drawback of pre-emergence weed control is that you don't know exactly where the weeds will grow. This necessitates a broad application, as opposed to spot-applying post-emergence herbicides. Another limitation to consider is that most pre-emergence herbicides do not control perennial weeds. However, to overcome this problem you may consider adding "cultural control" to your arsenal.
Cultural control of weeds includes the use of mulches, which act as a line of defense to weed growth. There is a wide variety of mulches on the market, each with its own benefits. Some of the most popular include bark mulch and nutrient-rich mulch, like compost. It should be noted that compost may actually promote weed growth, so we are going to focus on bark mulch exclusively.
Bark mulch not only controls weed growth, it also helps the garden to retain moisture while enhancing the landscape's beauty. Mulch should be 2 to 4 inches in depth, depending on its size. If the mulch layer is too deep, it could trap an overabundance of moisture and kill the plant or tree. It's also worth noting that pre-emergence herbicides should be applied under the mulch whenever possible.
No line of weed defense is 100% effective, so there are times when a frontal attack is the only option. There are a number of products on the market that will help control and kill growing weeds. While there are concerns about the use of herbicides on gardens and lawns, the truth is that problems arise when these products are used incorrectly.
It's important to use the right amount of herbicide in a given area, so that runoff doesn't affect other plants, flowers, or trees. This means that you must pay careful attention to the amount of herbicide you use during an application, while monitoring the frequency of its use. Mapping out a schedule for herbicide application is your best bet, and if you're unsure how to do it, speak with a landscape maintenance professional.
If you're opposed to the use of herbicides to control weeds, then you're left with few alternatives other than the tried-and-true method of hand weeding. This is a method that requires little training and skill, other than the knowledge of how to pull weeds from their root, before they go to seed. And using the right tools help, too.
The biggest drawback to hand weeding is that it's time consuming. Falling behind on your hand weeding will also cause other problems, and can even make the task seem overwhelming. However, if you have concern about the use of herbicides, then this is undeniably your best option to combat weeds.
The "War on Weeds" is a messy occupation. Sometimes it makes more sense to hire a professional to handle the job instead of worrying about mulch varieties and how to properly use herbicides.
At Apol's Landscape Maintenance, we can incorporate a weeding program into your overall regular landscape maintenance program. Whether you prefer traditional herbicide application, or a more organic approach, we will accommodate your request and your landscape will look great either way.
Contact us today and find out more about how we will help you win the "War on Weeds" in your yard.