Common Question for a County Agent

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Contributed by John Monzingo, Assistant County Agent

A very common question county agents get asked is, “how do I get rid of or control this weed in my lawn?” In a previous article I talked about the definition of a weed. In this article I want to address “typical” weeds that can cause issues in your yard and different options for weed control.  Common weeds in our lawn include yard burr, Virginia buttonweed, hen bit, thistle, and dandelion to name a few. 

The first method of weed control is mechanical hand removal. Hand removal does not simply imply using your hands to physically remove the weed. It can mean weeding by hand but also using tools such as shovels, hand spades, rakes or even specialized tools to remove weeds. As you well know this is both labor intensive and time consuming. You need to make sure you remove the entire weed, because missing a part of the weed means it could possibly reappear. 

Another way to control weeds is by chemical. This probably the easiest and preferred method of weed control. Before herbicides are applied, the weed must be properly identified. Herbicides can be a non-selective that will kill everything or selective type targeting only certain weeds but will not damage other plants. Herbicides can be applied as a pre-emerge or post-emerge. When one uses herbicides, be sure to follow the directions on the label of the herbicide and use proper safety equipment as recommended on the label of the product before mixing and applying.  

The final method I will discuss is cultural control. It involves soil and plant health with proper maintenance. I heard a soil scientist state “weeds are natures band-aid.” Simply put if you have a bare or unhealthy soil, weeds will come up to help make the soil healthy again. One of the quickest ways to help keep soil and lawn healthy is proper mowing height of the grass that is growing in your lawn. By cutting the lawn at proper height, you promote stronger roots, help build drought resistance and help build disease resistance. Cutting the grass too short invites disease and insect issues and makes the yard susceptible to weed development. The next step is to do a soils test. Doing a soils test will help determine the proper nutrients your lawn needs. Applying the proper nutrients to your lawn will help the grass grow strong and healthy. Thus, eliminating room for weed development.

As you can see there is not a simple approach to weed control in a lawn. With a combination of mechanical, chemical or cultural controls, weeds can be better controlled and almost eradicated from your lawn.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 318-927-3110.

It is the policy of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service that no person shall be subject to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, or disability.


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