“Help my lawn is nothing but weeds!”
Most of us have been there at some point. It’s a common feeling when a sudden and surprising explosion in weed growth threatens to take over your yard.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to restore your lawn to perfect condition.
So in this article, I’ll show you the chemical and natural methods you can use to get the situation under control.
And the essential maintenance practices to keep it that way.
Let’s dive in.
Help My Lawn Is Nothing But Weeds
You’ve got a number of options when it comes to getting rid of weeds from your lawn.
The best choice comes down to how hands-on you want to get and the size of the job that needs doing.
Chemical herbicides are the easiest method of killing weeds. And they’re often the most effective.
But you have to make sure you choose the type. Non-selective weed killers that contain glyphosate — which include most versions of RoundUp — are very effective at killing vegetation. But they’ll kill your grass as well as the weeds.
This is fine if the lawn is completely infested and you just want to kill everything so you can reseed and start again.
But if you don’t want to kill your grass and just want to get rid of the weeds then you’ll need to choose a selective weed killer for lawns.
These are specially formulated to kill broadleaf weeds and certain types of grassy weeds while leaving your grass and other desirable plants — flowers etc — unharmed.
Before you choose a product it helps to know what types of weeds are growing on your lawn. Why?
Because different herbicides are good at killing different types of weeds. Some are specially designed to be effective at killing crabgrass. While a different product might be more targeted at nutsedge.
But most of them kill a range of common weeds such as clover, dandelion, purslane, chickweed, etc.
Check the back of the bottle to make sure it will take care of your weed problem. And also take note of the types of grass it’s safe to use it on.
This is important, because although selective weed killers are designed not to kill grass, certain types are sometimes vulnerable. In particular, St. Augustine grass requires you to choose your herbicide carefully.
Weed killer is easy to use. Most products come as a concentrate that you dilute with water. Add the mixture to a backpack sprayer and you can quickly cover a large area. Or direct it for spot treatment.
You can also get ready to use weed killer that comes already diluted, and you can spray it directly from the container.
But some people don’t like using chemicals in their garden. Particularly if they have small children or pets that like to play on the grass.
Fortunately, there are some natural methods you can use.
Natural Weed Removal
Vinegar is sometimes recommended as a natural weed killer. But your normal table vinegar won’t do the job.
Instead, you’ll need a stronger acetic acid solution of between 10-20%.
It works on contact, destroying the parts of the plant it touches. But unless you can target the roots of the plant, the weed will grow back. So you’ll need to repeat the treatment regularly.
Vinegar is useful for spot treating weeds, but mostly on hard surfaces. Because it will also burn any grass it touches as well. So you have to be very careful when using it on your lawn. For most people with a lawn full of weeds this makes it impractical.
Another natural treatment that people sometimes use is corn gluten meal. This acts as a weed preventer that stops weed seeds from germinating. Apply it to your lawn in the spring and early fall for best results.
But it won’t get rid of weeds that are already there. The best natural method for that is doing it yourself by hand.
Removing Weeds By Hand
Pulling weeds out by hand, or removing them using a garden tool such as a weed puller, trowel, or shovel is an effective method when done right.
But there are some drawbacks:
Firstly, you have to be careful to make sure you remove the entire root system of the weed. Because if you leave any of it behind, it might grow back again.
And secondly, it’s a lot of hard work. Particularly if you’ve got a whole lawn to clear.
A useful tip is to water the ground before you attempt to pull or dig out the weed to make it a lot easier.
Stopping The Weeds From Coming Back
Once you’ve got rid of your weed problem — by chemical or natural means — it’s time to make sure they don’t come back.
There’s a number of things you can do to prevent them.
Crowd The Weeds Out
Growing a dense lawn of grass makes it difficult for weeds to establish themselves in your lawn and crowds out any weed seedlings that start to grow. Denying them the light, water, and nutrients they need.
So if you’ve got a thin and patchy lawn it’s time to fix the problem by overseeding it.
Before you start, you should take some time to analyze the problems responsible for your poor quality turf in the first place.
Is it suffering from:
- Poor drainage
- Soil compaction
- Lack of water
- Lack of aeration
- Inadequate sunlight
- Insufficient nutrients
- General neglect
Come up with a plan to fix any problems so your new grass will thrive.
Then rake away the debris leftover after weed removal and loosen the soil.
Next, make some aeration holes. And then scatter the grass seed using either your hands, a handheld spreader, or a broadcast spreader.
Water the area immediately to wash some of the seeds into the aeration holes. Also, use the water to help with the break up of the aeration cores pulled from the ground.
Remember to water lightly each day after sowing the seeds until they germinate, soaking the top inch.
After, revert to less frequent but deeper waterings. Why?
Because soil that has a high moisture level is an ideal breeding ground for some species of weeds such as nutsedge and crab grass.
Mowing The Right way
If you want to keep weeds out of your lawn it’s actually a good idea not to mow your lawn too close to the ground.
Instead, set your mower to its highest setting so you leave the grass to grow longer. This helps with crowding out weed plants.
It’s also a good idea to leave your grass clippings on the lawn. As they decompose they will add nutrients to the soil and encourage healthy growth.
But this isn’t as important if you remember to fertilize.
One of the most important steps you can take to deal with a thin lawn is to make sure it’s getting enough nutrients.
Using an NPK fertilizer — Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium — can help to give your grass the primary nutrients needed for strong and healthy growth.
Another product you can try is weed and feed. This kills the weeds in your lawn and fertilizes at the same time.
It’s easy to improve a weedy lawn with a bit of planning and some hard work. You can kill weeds naturally by hand. Or spray them with a selective herbicide for a quicker and easier job.
Lawns also become overrun with weeds without proper maintenance. So good lawn care is important to keep grass weeds from easily invading and colonizing your backyard.
Have you tried reclaiming your lawn from weeds? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.