Cool-Weather Lawn Care: How To Wipe Out Winter Weeds

By TruGreen January 17, 2016
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If you live in a climate with milder winter weather, winter weeds might be making your lawn their home. Here's how to get them out by spring.

<p>How To Wipe Out Winter Weeds</p>

Left unchecked, these weeds can spread, well, like weeds, potentially spoiling the appearance and health of the turf you work so hard to maintain.

In an ideal world, the pre-emergent weed control treatment you had is preventing weeds from sprouting in your yard. In the event that you didn’t get the treatment and weeds have already appeared, we’ve got tips to help you take back your yard. 

To help you remove weeds and prepare your yard for spring, we’ve compiled some of our best tips for wiping out the most common winter weeds, starting with:

Common Chickweed 

This winter annual usually grows in shaded areas such as under trees, in gardens or on the shaded side of your home. In colder weather it will grow in the sun as well. Common chickweed is also quite a hearty plant and can survive and bloom in temperatures well below freezing.Maintaining a thick lawn is your first defense for preventing chickweed, as it prefers sparser areas. 

Keeping your lawn mowed as tall as recommended for your type of grass can also help fend off chickweed. The following list will help you determine the correct length to cut your yard.

Recommended Mowing Lengths By Grass Species:

  • Bermudagrass (seeded): 1" to 1.5"
  • Bermudagrass (hybrids): .5" to .75"
  • Buffalograss: 1" to 2"
  • Centipede: 1" to 2.5"
  • Kikuyugrass: 1" to 1.5"
  • St. Augustinegrass: 1" to 2"
  • Zoysiagrass: .5" to 1" 

Despite your best preventative efforts, you may still find yourself with some of these little lawn invaders. Luckily, chickweed has a shallow root system, meaning the simplest course of action once it emerges is to pull it up by hand or find an herbicide treatment (part of a TruGreen lawn plan) that’s right for your yard. 

Henbit 

Like chickweed, henbit also shies away from thick, robust turf, so the best prevention strategy is a full, healthy lawn. Henbit can be a big problem in newly seeded lawns and can spread aggressively if not controlled. 

If you have an outbreak of henbit, it’s best to deal with it in early spring while the plants are still young and more vulnerable to herbicides. The longer you wait, the more the weeds will have grown and hardened, making them more resilient and potentially requiring repeated applications to kill. 

When selecting an herbicide to combat henbit, you’ll want to find a product specially formulated for cooler temperatures. If you’re not sure which solution to choose, the experts at TruGreen can recommend an ideal post-emergent herbicide to tackle your henbit problem. 

Dandelions

You’re probably all too familiar with these common lawn intruders, recognizable by their bright yellow flowers. And the equally familiar (and even more problematic) sight of those flowers maturing into hundreds of little seeds destined to blow across your yard. 

You’ll probably see more of these perennial weeds in the warmer months, but we mention them here because winter is the time to apply preventative treatments. Pre-emergent herbicides for dandelions are best administered in late winter before seeds germinate. 

If you’re already seeing yellow on your lawn, mowing down dandelion flowers before they turn to seed will go a long way to preventing further spreading. This won’t permanently kill the plant of course, so you’ll need root them out for a more permanent solution. There are a number of specialized tools available—commonly known as “dandelion diggers”—to make this process as painless as possible.

You can also contact us about an herbicide treatment after weeds have sprouted. 

Annual Bluegrass

This fast-growing winter weed can be particularly disastrous to the appearance and health of your lawn. Annual bluegrass (not to be confused with Kentucky Bluegrass can grow up to 15 inches tall and leaves behind ugly bare spots when it dies. And of course, that usually happens right around summer: the time of year you want to be outside enjoying your yard the most. 

Annual bluegrass is notoriously tricky to control once it spreads, so prevention, as always, is key. Keep grass cut fairly high to help develop strong roots and avoid overwatering, as this can make your lawn more susceptible to bluegrass growth. 

If you find any solitary annual bluegrass plants, try to remove them manually before they start producing seeds to prevent a larger infestation. If your problem is past that point, you’ll need a targeted post-emergent herbicide treatment. The specific type of herbicide to use will depend on the type of grass you grow. Consulting a licensed, certified lawn-care professional will take the guesswork out of the equation and get your lawn back to its lush, green glory in no time.

Think you’ve got weeds growing in your yard? Use this identification tool to determine what you’re dealing with. 

Whatever weeds rear their ugly heads on your lawn this season, a TruGreen specialist can expertly assess the problem and provide a post-emergent weed control plan customized to your specific situation. 

To learn more about pre-emergent weed control and the other services, visit them TruGreen.com or call 866.688.6722.

Need Help? Call 1-800-464-0171

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