Few things could ever be less welcome than weeds in a lawn, and the trouble is that once they’ve become established, shifting them becomes something of an ongoing battle. It’s obviously far better to make sure they don’t get the chance to take over in the first place, if for no other reason than it spares you all those hours of laborious weeding.
Fortunately it doesn’t have to be as difficult as it might seem, if you follow these six straightforward tips to a weed-free lawn.
1. Don’t Skimp On a New Lawn
If you’re making a new lawn from scratch, don’t skimp on the quality of seed or turf you use, or the essential time and effort of fallowing the site properly. If you buy the best quality you can that’s appropriate for the type of lawn you need from a reputable supplier, then the chances of importing weeds become very small indeed. Failing to fallow throughout the summer before sowing in the autumn will, however, be almost guaranteed to inject a whole range of weeds into your new lawn. Hoeing and raking the soil periodically will bring new annual weed seeds to the surface, and once each new crop begins to germinate, you can eradicate the unwelcome seedlings by careful use of the hoe or with a suitable weed-killer, ensuring a clean environment for your new grass to grow in.
2. Get the Mowing Right
With an established lawn, always make sure you have your mower blades set at the correct height for the type of lawn and the time of year, and that they’re sharp enough to cut cleanly. Scalping by cutting too short, or leaving too long between each mowing, may weaken the grass and allow weeds to find a way in – so remember the old maxim, ‘little and often’.
3.Scarify – But Not Too Much!
A thorough scarification is an essential part of a good lawn maintenance regime. Not only does it help shift the thatch that builds up, but it’s also a great way to control any creeping weeds that may have found their way in to the turf. That said, don’t overdo it, as over-enthusiastic scarification could begin to thin the grass and that leaves an open invitation for weeds to colonise the gaps.
4. Watch Your Watering
Periods of drought are stressful times for the grass plants, and a weakened turf will be ripe for weeds to invade when conditions recover. Water the lawn once a week, or perhaps twice if the dry spell is really severe, taking care to cover all the lawn and avoid water-logging any one area to keep your grass in good condition.
5. Don’t Forget To Feed!
Grass benefits from an occasional dose of fertilizer just like other garden plants, and a healthy lawn that’s in peak condition and growing vigorously is ideally placed to outcompete any weed seedlings that do manage to find a toe-hold. Simply buy a good quality lawn feed and follow the instructions – it’s probably the simplest way ever to help keep your lawn weed-free.
6. Deal With Damage
Keep an eye out for any signs of disease in your turf, and any bare or damaged patches, which could give weed seeds a ready-made place to germinate and grow. Treat the affected area promptly, re-seeding or re-turfing if needs be; in the long run, it’s a sure-fire way of stopping a small problem becoming a much bigger one.
If you follow these six simple steps, you should be well on the way to a weed-free lawn and all that’s likely to remain is a quick bit of hand weeding or the occasional use of a weed-killer to control the odd few that do invade.
When it comes to lawn weeds, that proverbial ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure!