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Guide to Spring Weed Control

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Many of us make spring lawn resolutions. Does "this is the year I'll have no lawn weeds!" sound familiar? If you're eager to keep weeds in check this season, starting off right in the spring really can make a difference. But overzealous weed control can also take your lawn in the opposite direction, a bad start that will trouble you all season. Read on for tips to help you keep lawn weeds at bay without harming your lawn.
How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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Consider Preemergence Weed Control

Some lawn weeds can be killed even before they start growing. Preemergence herbicides stop weeds from germinating in the first place. If you've had a problem with crabgrass in the past, treating your lawn with a crabgrass-fighting preemergence herbicide two weeks before crabgrass germinates in your area is one of the best weed control tools at your disposal. A spring application can make all the difference.

Not all Lawn Weeds Are Best Killed in Spring

Unfortunately, broadleaf perennials, which include common lawn weeds like dandelions, are best tackled in the fall. So even though yellow dandelions may be most unsightly during the spring, you're better off spot treating them and bagging the dandelion heads than applying a weed killer to your entire lawn. Instead, fertilize and overseed to thicken your lawn in the spring. You'll be fighting weeds anyway--the denser and healthier your lawn, the less likely lawn weeds are to flourish.

If You're Planting, Make Your Weed Control All Natural

New seeds and herbicide--whether it's pre- or post-emergence--don't mix. So if you're planting a lawn this spring or even just filling in a few thin patches, skip the weed killer and instead try alternate weed control methods. Soft spring soil makes hand-pulling easier. And the old weed-killing trick of pouring boiling water on invading plants still works wonders.

Spring weed control--done right--really can help your lawn all growing-season long.


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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