At Heritage Lawns and Irrigation, we’ve been in the lawn care business for over two decades. In that time, we’ve learned a lot about weeds. One thing we know for sure is how much homeowners despise them. So if you’re still dealing with weeds, we’d like to help. There are some possible reasons you still have weeds and we’d like to make some suggestions to help end your ongoing frustrations. Check for these problems and call us if you need professional lawn care help.
Your Soil Is Not Balanced
When we come across a lawn that isn’t thriving, the first thing we do is soil sampling. Soil sampling tells us what your lawn needs and then we can use the type and amount of fertilizer needed to get it back to being healthy and balanced. How does a lawn get out of balance? Fertilizers typically contain nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, which are all essential to a healthy lawn when used properly. But when improperly applied, they can be harmful to your lawn. Tree debris from large oak trees can affect the pH level in your lawn as well as salts from de-icing agents and just plain hard water. The pH level in your lawn can change over the years as the soils mature and the organic matter levels change. In Kansas City, your lawn’s acidity level should be between 6.1 and 6.9 for a fescue lawn. Once we find out what your soil needs, we can adjust your fertilization program for optimal growth.
The results of a soil test will answer four critical questions:
- What nutrients does your soil need?
- What type of fertilizer should we use?
- How much fertilizer should we use?
- How often should we fertilize?
When your lawn gets exactly what it needs, it grows healthy and thick. And a healthy lawn is your best defense against weeds.
Related Read: Improve Your Soil Through Soil Amendments
You Used the Wrong Seed
Pay attention to the grass seed you’re buying to seed your lawn. Not all grass seed is created equal. Many people don’t realize it, but most grass seed contains weeds. The next time you’re at the store, read the labels. It will tell you the percentage of “weed seed” and “other crop” contained in the bag. Even a small percentage of seeds in these categories can mean hundreds of weeds in your yard.
Also, make sure you’re planting the right grass seed for your Kansas City lawn. A thick healthy lawn is your best defense against weeds. Having the proper turf variety is a big piece of the beautiful lawn puzzle. The right grasses will naturally give you better color, better coverage and fewer problems like weeds, diseases and pests. We recommend a mix of about 50% blue grass and 50% fescue. The fescue allows the lawn to be tough and durable enough to withstand the heat and drought typical of Kansas City summers. And the blue grass makes the lawn soft and green enough to look and feel good when your stroll around barefoot.
Your Grass Is Too Thin
Thin grass can lead to weed problems. A thick lawn chokes out most weeds naturally. If your lawn is thin, there are several options you can try:
- Aerate Your Lawn
- Check for Proper Drainage
- Make Sure You Are Watering Properly
- Seed with the Proper Type of Grass Seed
- Make Sure You Are Mowing Properly
Bad Mowing Practices
Believe it or not, the way you mow will affect the health of your lawn, which will, in turn, affect the amount of weeds in your lawn. With a fescue/bluegrass lawn, keep your mower at three to three and a half inches in height. It keeps the grass from stressing under the heat of summer. Make sure you are only mowing one third of the length of the blade at a time. Cutting off too much of the blade at once will stress your lawn making it susceptible to disease and drought. If your lawn gets too tall, mow once at a higher height and then a day or two later at the desired height. Also, when edging, keep your weed whip vertical to avoid scalping your lawn.
Make sure you are mowing with sharp blades. Dull blades will tend to break the grass leaving brown and jagged tips. This injures the grass blades and leaves them open to infection and diseases.
Bad Watering Practices
Not watering enough, too much, or incorrectly can also lead to more weeds by making your grass less healthy and able to withstand the heat and drought conditions of summer. We suggest deep watering to avoid drought stress. Long, deep watering encourages deep root growth that will sustain the turf in arid times. We also suggest watering in the morning, not at night, to give the blades a chance to dry before fungus decides to move in. If the problem is moisture related, many times it can be corrected with proper set up of the sprinkler system. Aerating your lawn will help also. Aeration improves the drainage and air circulation and lets the roots get the water and nutrients they need.