Broadleaf weeds are an unwelcome guest in any outdoor space. And it’s no wonder why: these plants—the likes of which include dandelions and chickweed—can compete with lawns for sunlight, water, air and nutrients as well as prey upon weak areas of the lawn and invite in pests and diseases.
While preventative measures are the best way to control broadleaf weeds that can emerge in the springtime (a topic we’ll discuss more in an upcoming blog post), many homeowners find themselves working against an existing population. If you’re in a similar scenario with your Ohio lawn, you’ll be happy to learn there are ways to put these commonly spotted weeds to rest and improve the overall health of your lawn.
As we’ll showcase here, the course of action you take will depend on the size and type of broadleaf weed population as well as how receptive the weeds are to treatment.
How to Control Existing Broadleaf Weeds in Your Ohio Lawn
Pull Weeds By Hand
When the population of broadleaf weeds is relatively small, pulling weeds by hand is a viable option. This is best suited for situations where the weeds are younger as their roots are weaker and easier to pull out from the soil with care. (Mature weeds are more stubborn to pull and tend to break at the root, leaving behind remnants of the root system that can cause weeds to sprout once again.)
If you’re dealing with younger broadleaf weeds, the best time to take action is right after you water your lawn or after it rains. That’s because weeds are easier to extract from wet soil. Once this foundation is set, you can use a simple tool like a garden spade to loosen soil around the plant’s roots and then pull out both the weed and its entire root system to prevent future growth.
Apply a Postemergence Herbicide
When dealing with a larger population of broadleaf weeds, or when stubborn weeds continue to grow back after being pulled by hand, applying a selective postemergence herbicide specific to broadleaf weeds is recommended. These products are designed to interrupt the chemical processes that fuel the growth of broadleaf weeds without causing harm to any other areas of an established lawn. (The alternative, nonselective herbicides, will kill any types of plants in a lawn without discretion between different types.)
In terms of timing for the herbicide application, there are a few factors to weigh. On one hand, weeds need to be actively growing so they can effectively absorb the applied herbicide. On the other hand, weeds that are too mature can require stronger chemicals or multiple applications before the herbicide takes effect.
With these elements in mind, the typical timeframe for a postemergence herbicide treatment of broadleaf weeds is late June—once weeds are established but before they seed. This avoids hot and dry conditions that minimize control of the herbicide in midsummer and the thicker roots that can have the same effect in late summer.
Looking for a more proactive approach to controlling broadleaf weeds in your Ohio yard? The multi-approach solution from Weed Pro will help keep weeds at bay while remaining friendly to the environment. Contact the office closest to you for details.