Everyone wants to have a beautiful, green lawn with healthy grass to spend quality time with their family and loved ones. But having dandelions poking their way through the grass is one of the most frustrating experiences that you can face.
While it’s pretty easy to dig a few pesky weeds in your lawn using your hands, you’ll need a more holistic approach if your entire lawn is filled with weeds. So, let’s discuss an effective method to help you understand how to fix a lawn full of weeds.
Why Your Lawn is Full of Weeds
Before we discuss the detailed methods to remove weeds from your lawn, let’s discuss why you have them in the first place. The following are the most common reasons why you have a lawn full of weeds.
- One of the most common reasons why people have weeds in their lawns is that they cut their grass too short. That’s because short grass becomes susceptible to weed invasion. So, you should set your mower to high settings.
- Most weed types can thrive with a limited amount of moisture. It means they can compete with your plants and grass for moisture. So, if you don’t water your lawn adequately, you’ll end up with a weed invasion.
- Weeds can grow easily in compacted soil but that’s not the case with almost all grass types. If you have compacted soil in your lawn, due to poor composition or high foot traffic, your grass won’t receive the moisture and nutrients it needs to survive. But weeds can thrive in this condition.
- Weeds can also grow if you add too much mulch over your landscape fabric. That’s because mulch, after breaking down, creates a perfect environment for weed growth by collecting wind-borne seeds.
- Poor quality mulch can contain weed seeds, and using it will lead to weed growth in your lawn. Therefore, make sure that you buy high-quality mulch from a trusted and well-reputed nursery to maintain a healthy lawn.
- Don’t toss weeds in your compost pile, especially if you use the compost on your lawn. The temperature inside the compost heap can reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit, which it’s enough to kill weeds. However, the compost pile can have cool spots where weeds can survive.
Types of Weeds Commonly Found in Lawns
The following are the three different categories of weeds that you can find on your lawn.
Grassy weeds resemble grass and they grow one leaf at a time. As they look like grass, it becomes pretty difficult to identify and get rid of this type of weed.
Usually, these weeds grow in compacted soil in over-watered lawns. Some of the most common types of grassy weeds include crabgrass, quackgrass, annual bluegrass, and foxtail.
While grass-like weeds, as the name implies, also look like grass, you can identify them by paying attention, as each leaf is tubular or triangular. The leaves of these weeds are hollow and they usually thrive in over-watered lawns with compacted soil and short grass.
Some of the common examples of grass-like weeds are wild onion, nutgrass, wild garlic, and nutsedge.
Broadleaf weeds typically have wide and flat leaves and they thrive in soil with a poor composition of nutrients. Some examples of broadleaf weeds include dollarweed, thistle, henbit, chickweed, ground ivy, oxalis, dandelions, clover, and plantain.
Division by Life Cycle
Weeds are also divided into the following three different categories in terms of their life cycles.
- Perennial: These weeds can produce seeds over the course of several years.
- Biennial: These weeds can produce seeds only during two seasons (back-to-back).
- Annual: These weeds can only produce seeds during one season.
How To Fix a Lawn Full of Weeds: Step-by-Step Guide
If your lawn is full of weeds, consider using the steps listed below to fix it properly.
Step 1: Pull the Weeds
The first step of the process is to pull as many weeds as possible using your hands. Use the information discussed above to make sure that you’re removing weeds, not grass.
Keep in mind that total manual removal won’t be possible and it’ll also be very time-consuming. So, consider removing what you easily can and then mow your yard to two to three inches in order to prepare it for the next step.
Step 2: Choose a Weed Killer
The next step is to choose the weed killer. There are two types of products available in the market, including pre-emergent herbicides and post-emergent herbicides.
You’ll need to opt for post-emergent herbicide as you already have weed invasion in your lawn. It’s important to note that almost all non-selective herbicides will kill your grass, along with weeds. If you don’t mind that and are planning to regrow everything from scratch, you can go with such a weed killer.
But if you have healthy grass and you want to protect it, consider going with a selective herbicide. However, you’ll need to identify the weed species you have in your lawn to choose the right selective herbicide, which is specially designed to kill those species.
Step 3: Apply the Weed Killer
Once you have the right product that you want to use, you can start applying it on your lawn. But before you open the herbicide, ensure your personal safety by wearing protective gloves, safety goggles, and a face mask.
In addition, choose the right time for the herbicide application. You don’t want to apply a selective herbicide during the day under intense sunlight as it’ll increase the risk of damaging the grass.
If there’s a chance of precipitation in the next 24 to 48 hours, then wait as the rain will wash away the weed killer. Don’t forget to read the instructions written on the product’s package carefully and follow them for effective application.
Step 4: Remove Burnt Weed
You’ll need to wait for at least a week after applying the weed killer and it’ll take time to kill weeds. Some herbicides can even take up to a month before you start seeing results.
You’ll find the information regarding the timeline on the product’s packaging. Once the specified time has passed, you’ll see that the weeds in your lawn have turned brown.
At this stage, use a rake or shovel to remove those weeds thoroughly and then aerate the soil to reduce compaction. It’ll help your new grass to receive moisture and all the nutrients it needs from the soil.
Step 5: Amend the Soil
Now you’ll need to determine the pH level of your soil. You can take a sample of your lawn soil to a local nursery for this purpose. It’ll help you choose the right soil conditioner to amend the physical qualities of your soil based on the grass/plants you want to grow.
Step 6: Lay New Sod or Reseed
You can now lay down sod or add grass seed to the soil using a garden spreader. If you’re on a tight budget, then going with the traditional seeding method will suit you better. However, you need to bear in mind that some grass species can take up to three months to grow.
So, if budget is not your problem and you want to see results quickly, you should consider laying down new sod. Regardless of the method you choose, you’ll need to take care of your lawn once the grass has grown.
Step 7: Water and Maintain the Lawn
Keep the lawn soil moist after sodding/reseeding, but avoid making it soggy. Once the lawn is established, keep it weed-free by preventing the soil from becoming nutrient deprived or compacted.
How to Prevent Weeds from Growing in Future
The following is the list of tips that you can use to prevent lawn weeds from growing on your lawn in the future.
- Aerate your lawn soil at least once a year to prevent soil compaction.
- Spread high-quality fertilizers across your lawn to maintain the nutrient balance in your soil.
- Use the highest settings of your mower to mow the lawn. It’ll keep the grass taller and prevent wind-borne weed seeds from receiving the sunlight they need to grow.
- Water your lawn regularly to keep the soil moist, but not soggy.
- Treat your lawn with a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring to kill weed seeds and vulnerable small weed plants.
- Use landscape fabric or mulch to cover the parts of your lawn without grass to prevent weeds from growing.
- If you’re adding new plants, such as vegetables and flowers, to your yard in spring, make sure that you plant them close to one another. It’ll create a more shaded area around your plants, making it difficult for lawn weed seeds to grow.
Weeds can eat up all the essential nutrients you have in your lawn soil that your plants and grass need to survive. While it can be time-consuming to remove weeds from your lawn, you can reclaim your lawn with a little patience and effort.
We hope this guide has helped you understand the correct way to deal with the weed problem in your lawn to make it green and healthy again. Remember to use the preventative measures discussed in this guide to keep weeds from growing on your lawn again.