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Dealing with Weed Grass

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

My father called me up the other day to ask what he could do about the orchard grass that was invading his lawn. My answer, unfortunately, was not a lot.

The trouble with weed grass is that there's not an herbicide that harms it without harming your lawn. Your lawn and the pesky weed are just too similar. The best weed control bet is to spray the invaded areas with a non-selective herbicide, wait a week, and then reseed them. My father couldn't stand the idea of dead spots, so he took a paint brush and spot-treated his whole lawn. But for those who are less meticulous, here are a few other possibilities.
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Preemergence Herbicides

These herbicides, applied before your weeds germinate for the year, do a fairly good job controlling a few types of weed grasses, crabgrass among them. If you've got a weed grass invader like Bermuda or bentgrass, though, you're out of luck. To know for sure what types of weeds a preemergence herbicide will control, check the label.

The Shovel

Digging out weeds can be hard, but you and a square-tipped shovel can go a long way toward ridding your yard of weed grass. If you notice weed grass creeping into your yard, practice some manual weed control before it spreads any farther.

Weed and Lawn Annihilation.

Sometimes you have to take the good out with the bad. A little weed grass is better than a dead lawn, so don't go overboard. If you've got weed grass spots you can't seem to conquer, though, killing the grass and the weed in the area and then replanting will give you a fresh, weed-free start. Just remember to wait at least a week before reseeding.

Weed control may be tiresome, but with a little effort, it can usually be done.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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