It’s early spring, but where should you start in your lawn? The beginner’s guide to Idiot Proof Lawn Care begins with learning two different types of weeds we deal with in Midwest lawns: grassy weeds and broadleaf weeds. Each type will require different methods and modes of action to be eliminated. However, once you have learned the synergy and relationship between these weeds and their mutual goal to destroy your beautiful turf grass, you will understand how eliminating one helps to eliminate the other.

What are “Grassy Weeds”?

First on the list are grassy weeds like crabgrass. But what is crabgrass? Crabgrass is an annual grassy weed that germinates from seed every spring. It grows low to the ground and prostrate, forcing out weak and summer-stressed turfgrass for prime real estate in your front yard.  These weeds form seed heads in late summer then die at the first frost, leaving bare spots for winter hardy broadleaf weeds to move in and take hold and allowing plenty of room for the next generation of grassy weed seeds to sprout next spring. Crabgrass is a specific plant, but there are other annual grassy weeds, like foxtail and goosegrass, that look very similar and are often confused with crabgrass. These weeds will follow a similar pattern and will also be controlled with Prevent.

How to Stop Crabgrass in the Lawn
Best Crabgrass Preemergent

How to Control Crabgrass

The best way to control crabgrass and other annual grassy weeds is to use a crabgrass pre-emergent like PREVENT. The job of a pre-emergent is to stop the grassy weed seeds from sprouting, preventing them from spreading out and creating the bare spots. Preventing crabgrass starts in early spring before the soil warms and dormant crabgrass seeds germinate. Apply the first application of PREVENT from Mid-March to Mid-April and another in late May to early June. Grass Pad’s split application formula has been tested and proven to outperform other one-step pre-emergent formulas available at box stores and hardware stores. PREVENT also contains slow-release turf food for healthy spring green-up. 

What are Broadleaf Weeds?

Dandelions, henbit, and plantain are examples of broadleaf weeds that are common in our area. The name “broadleaf weed” refers to the style of leaf on the plant, but they also function in a different manner than the grassy weeds. Broadleaf weeds can survive the winter and will not be controlled by PREVENT. As spring soil warms, broadleaf weeds fill in and stretch out in those same bare spots left by dead crabgrass. Therefore, eliminating crabgrass in spring will reduce the broadleaf weed invasion in the fall.

How to Control Spring Broadleaf Weeds
Broadleaf Weed Killer

How to Control Broadleaf Weeds

Since we can’t prevent these weeds from coming up, we need to control them with a post-emergent called WEED and FEED. Post-emergent is a fancy way to say that the weeds need to be big enough to make them an easy target for  the granular WEED and FEED to stick to their leaves. This professional strength broadleaf weed herbicide plus turf food is applied anytime between April and June as needed. Apply on a sunny day when temperatures are above 65°, on a wet lawn or a morning dew so the granular product sticks to the leaves. Do not apply if rain is expected within 48 hours and no mowing 48 hours before or after application.

More Grass Equals Fewer Weeds

A wise man once said, “Weeds will not make a lawn bad; bad lawns will make weeds.” Think about that statement and let it sink in, and it is precisely the truth. Weeds can only move into a lawn if there is room for the weed seeds to grow and spread. The best weed preventer for your yard is thick, healthy, vigorous grass. Eliminate the bare spots, and you will eliminate the weeds. The secret to an idiot proof lawn is to start early and get good turf grasses to fill the bare areas before the weeds do.

If you want your lawn to be thick, lush, and green with fewer weeds, follow the Idiot Proof Lawn Care Program. Each application is formulated to reduce weed pressure and feed the turf grass encouraging health and vigor to crowd out the weeds. Don’t let the lawn intimidate you; it’s not rocket science. Come on down to the Grass Pad and let our Green Team show you Grass Pad’s Idiot Proof Lawn Care Program