So it finally snowed heavily in late January, the first snow of the season and it was a big one. Many areas had 2 feet of snow but drifting made some piles 3 to 4 feet. It took a while to dig out, who knows how many more snow days we’ll see until spring? Today as I write this article the next few days will be 40 to 60 degrees! How do environmental factors affect lawn weeds?
With spring fast approaching, cool-season broadleaf weeds can be a major problem during periods of mild temperatures and abundant rainfall. Many homeowners have reported seeing yellow dandelion flowers and “puff balls” into December. Since we did not really have a harsh winter kill, these weeds may be running rampant in your lawn this spring. Trying to control broadleaf weeds in early spring can be difficult particularly if temperatures are below 50 degrees and the weeds are not really actively growing. Spot sprays may work better at this time of year but be aware, control may be poor. If you do not plan to do any seeding this spring an early application of Crabgrass Preventer plus Green Up can help to control and suppress 10+ broadleaf weeds such as bitter cress, chickweed, henbit, oxalis and more provided it is applied prior to the germinating of these target weeds.
Wild Onion (wild garlic) and bitter cress are the first early spring broadleaf weeds that appear in lawns and sometimes landscape beds. These are difficult to control because the air is cold and they stand tall and upright making it hard for granular controls to stick to the leaves. You can weed-whack these plants and then spray properly labeled broadleaf weed controls for best results. Once you rake your lawn of debris and start mowing the grass, these weeds tend to disappear once the lawn starts to fill in. They are then forgotten until next year when yes, they will appear again.
Keep an eye out for more insects appearing earlier than unusual in your lawn and in larger populations. This also is due to the mild temperatures and wet fall we had last year with little harsh winter weather to kill off existing populations. Grubs may not have had to burrow as deep and may be in abundance this spring. Monitor your landscape beds because many times this is where grubs tend to appear first, once you start digging around.
Begin to keep records of where certain weeds and insect appear over the years so you can monitor these areas for best control solutions. Remember, the best control of lawn problems is a healthy growing lawn. Let’s change our thinking from killing everything to growing better quality turf. By targeting your use of pesticides only when and where they are really needed we can help give Mother Nature a break. Perhaps you have not introduced some of the new and improved grass seed varieties to your lawn for a number of years? Is your soil pH off? When was the last time you tested your soil? Have you fertilized your lawn in the last year 2 to three times or more? A great lawn can only happen when you take the proper steps each year. The Super Bowl is over once you read this article. Let’s hope that winter is finally over too and let’s start working towards growing a great lawn this year!