Weed Prevention In Southern Lawns & Landscapes

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This article will help you to learn about preventing weeds in the lawn and garden in the South.
by Brett · All Zones · Weeds and Invasive Plants · 0 Comments · August 30, 2010 · 15,193 views

Ever get tired of spraying weeds in the lawn and in landscape beds? If so, it might be time to consider weed prevention. There are several methods for preventing weeds in the lawn and in landscape beds. Of course, if weeds have already sprouted in your lawn or landscape you'll have to either pull or spray them, but it's never to late to start a program for prevention.

Weed Prevention in the Lawn

Regarding the lawn, there is no better way to prevent or at least reduce the population of unwanted weeds than by establishing a healthy, thick turf that eliminates the soil space and sunlight necessary for weed seeds to sprout. However, this is easier said than done. And even when we do everything right, having successfully established a thick turf, there are still some stubborn weeds that find a way to sprout and spoil the show. Even professionally managed and maintained golf courses can't eliminate all the weeds. This is when they turn to weed prevention products that serve to kill weed seeds or seedlings before they can sprout or establish themselves in the turf. There are weed prevention products designed just for this purpose. When used properly, these weed preventers can provide you with a weed-free lawn, eliminating the need to spray.

What is the best time to apply weed preventers in the lawn? Because there are both warm season and cool season types of weeds, and weed seeds literally fly in with wind or are dropped by birds at all times of year, weed prevention products can be applied at any time of year. That being said, in the South, there are times during the year, such as in early spring and in early fall, that greater numbers of various types of weed seeds germinate (sprout). So, the best time to broadcast a lawn weed preventer product is late winter to early spring, and again in early fall.

What is the best pre-emergent weed control to use on my lawn?
This depends on your location and what particular brand of lawn weed preventer your local nursery and garden center carries. Most garden centers offer two options for lawn weed prevention:

1 - Products containing weed preventer only. These are used during times of year when you do not want to apply a fertilizer to certain types of lawn grasses. For example, in the South, a good time to apply weed preventer on bermuda, centipede, St. Augustine or zoysia lawns is in the month of February. At this time of year these lawn grasses are dormant so you don't want to apply a fertilizer, only a weed preventer.
2 - Combination products containing both fertilizer and weed preventer. These combination products are great for weed prevention durin the times of year when the lawn also needs to be fertilized.

Many nursery and garden centers offer step-by-step, do-it-yourself lawn fertilization and weed prevention programs. These are very easy to follow and are precisely timed to get the best results.

Click here to see the 5-Step D-I-Y Lawn Care Programs customers at my nursery and garden center use to feed the lawn and control weeds

Check with your local nursery and garden center professional to see what products he or she recommends weed prevention in the lawn.

Weed Prevention in Landscape, Garden or Flower Beds

Landscape, garden and flower beds are non-lawn areas where shrubs, trees, groundcovers, annual bedding plants, perennials and other types of plants have been arranged and planted together in a "bed.' Some type of mulch is often used in these beds to cover areas between plants. Mulch, and spreading groundcover plants such as low-growing junipers, ivy and many others, are great for reducing the population of weeds, however these methods are never 100 percent effective. That's where weed preventers designed for safe use around plants and trees come in. These weed preventers will not harm established plants and can prevent weed seeds from sprouting in both the cool and the warm seasons. I don't recommend using weed prevention chemicals in vegetable, fruit or herb gardens.

What is the best time to apply weed preventers in landscape and garden beds and islands?
You can apply weed prevention products any time of year, especially if and when you are planting a new garden bed in your yard. Whenever we dig we turn up soil and, with that, weed seeds. Some weed seeds, such as crabgrass, can remain dormant underground for many many years. And it isn't until we turn the soil, expose these seeds to sunlight, that they finally sprout. Every time I change out the flowers in my seasonal flower beds I apply a weed preventer. Just make sure not to use a weed preventer in garden areas where you intend to plant seeds or where desirable plants re-establish themselves by reseeding each year, such as in a wildflower garden.

If you garden in the South and are wanting to prevent weeds year round in garden beds, perhaps the best time of year to get a weed preventer on the ground is in late winter. This is when soil temperatures are beginning to warm and many warm season weeds are preparing to sprout. That being said, weeds blow in with the wind year round, so, if you're reading this article in late spring, it's never too late to get a pre-emergent on the ground!

What is the best weed prevention product for garden beds?
There are many types and brands of weed prevention products. All are probably effective. At our nursery and garden center we carry products containing Treflan, which is a product that can provide up to a full year of weed control, depending on soil type and amount of rainfall. I apply Treflan (Hi-Yield Herbicide Granules) in February to existing beds, and anytime that I've dug and planted a new garden bed. If we have a lot of rain during the spring and summer I reapply it in the early fall to prevent cool season weeds from sprouting.

IMPORTANT TIP: Since your garden beds will be filled with various types of plants that might require specific types of fertilizer and feeding times, avoid using combination fertilizer and weed prevention products, such as Preen & Green, in garden beds. Fertilize plants separately and consult with your local nursery and garden center professional regarding the nutrional needs of various types of plants.

Check with your local nursery and garden center to see what products they stock and recommend for your area.

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