Weed Prevention in North Texas: Is My Lawn Maintenance Routine Missing Something?
This summer, lots of people are thinking about the best ways to take care of a lawn or green space. So what do you do to make sure that you have healthy, green grass and a lush-looking yard space?
When it comes to figuring out if your lawn care schedule is on point, or a little off, it helps to look at some of the fundamental principles of maintaining healthy grass and keeping weeds and other lawn threats at bay.
Why Should I Work so Hard on My Lawn?
A good number of people groan when they realize that it's spring again, and that means they have to drag out all of their landscaping and lawn care equipment, or start dealing with a lawn care company over the phone. So why do we pay so much attention to our lawns, anyway?
While some of us would like to simply leave our outside spaces to fend for themselves, there are some compelling reasons to really put care and effort into preserving a nice, green outdoor space.
Usable Space - Do you want to host outdoor parties during the summer? Do your kids want to play outside? If so, you benefit quite a bit from having a nicely manicured lawn. Some people think about outer space as just ‘the domain of nature’ -- that is, until they decide they want to have a party out on the lawn, or play outdoor games, or let the little ones run around for a while. In those moments, you really enjoy the work that you've put into keeping your lawn nice.
Rules and Regulations - Another very effective reason to put work into lawn care is a homeowner’s association. These clubs that run different kinds of housing developments have a lot to say about your lawn and how it looks. Specific rules often apply -- in some cases, the HOA might mow for you, but in other cases, it's strictly the responsibility of the homeowner. Even where there is not a homeowner’s association, a lot of local communities have laws requiring mowing grass to a certain height and keeping weeds under control – this report from the Midland Reporter-Telegram shows efforts in and around Fort Worth to make property owners comply with grass and weed laws.
The Environment - When you're doing certain kinds of sustainable lawn care and maintenance, it actually helps the environment around your property. Keeping invasive weeds down can help provide a balance in the local ecosystem. Having well-kept and safe spaces can serve the needs of different kinds of wildlife. So when it's done right, lawn care isn't just done for the sake of the people who live on the property.
Core Principles of Lawn Maintenance
In order to give your grass the best chance at vibrant growth, and keep different kinds of weeds under control, keep in mind our four fundamental components of seasonal maintenance:
Mowing - establish a mowing schedule, and stick to it. Make sure grass is kept at a consistent height. It's also extremely important to look at the actual mowing height that's used. While it might be tempting to shear off most of the grass to give a lawn a neat ‘buzz cut’ look, it actually can be bad for grass, especially in the heat of summer. Mowing a few inches higher gives grass the ability to maintain its own natural air conditioning system, and can leave your lawn much healthier toward the end of the season.
Aeration - Aeration helps with compacted soils. It's common practice to remove plugs of soil in order to help the turf to breathe.
Seeding - It's also important to seed bare areas, or areas where the original grass just didn't seem to take - you may want to seed after aeration as well. Good seeding ensures that you'll have a consistently green space, not one where there's rich, dense grass on some areas and bare patches on others.
Fertilizing - Just like any other kind of plant, or animal for that matter, grass needs nutrients. Professional lawn care companies apply specific kinds of fertilizers during the season to keep grass healthy, and this can also help keep down weeds, because the grass is in better shape.
Some Myths about Effective Weed Prevention
In order to help customers prepare for summer, we’re also going to mention some of the myths that often come up around herbicide schedules.
Applying weed prevention herbicides is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It's not a service where everybody should get the same result. It's something that's customizable to each customer's yard. Here are some ideas that will help you to better understand how herbicides are applied, and how they should be used for the most effective, efficient and sustainable results.
“Everyone needs herbicide every year” -- if you believe this one, you're not paying attention to the reality of how weeds develop, and how they're dealt with in a lawn or other space.
Think about your garden, if you have one. Over time, you start discarding the weeds as they come out of the soil. Eventually, you end up with a space that doesn't have many weed seeds in it. So there's no need to fight the weeds anymore, because they aren't really there.
This same principle can be applied to lawn care. If you don't have a lot of weeds in the yard, you're not going to benefit from heavy herbicide applications.
“You should always apply herbicides first thing in the season” -- this is another one that can sometimes be a little misleading. While it can be good to nip weeds in the bud and start with herbicides at the beginning of the season, in some cases, it can be easier to kill certain types of broadleaf weeds in the fall. Lawn care technicians will have to look carefully at your particular lawn area to figure out what type of schedule is best.
“You always need consistent application” -- this one isn't true either. Some lawns may need entire blanket herbicide application. But with others, spot spraying can do the trick. It might not be effective to send tanks shuffling all over the lawn space, where you could just hit a few patches with herbicide and be done with it. We always help our customers to look at the equation of cost, labor and effective result. Rather than just going in and blitzing every lawn regardless of what it looks like, our technicians make informed and professional decisions about what to do in a particular green space.
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