Treating weeds in the lawn seems like shoveling snow in a blizzard. Eliminating weeds successfully requires more than one strategy. A combination of methods eliminates weeds most effectively, and that puts you ahead of the game. After that first aggressive treatment of weeds, just a little weed maintenance keeps them at bay all year long. Keep in mind that a healthy lawn is the best deterrent for weeds.
Mowing your lawn too close exposes the weeds to what they need to thrive: sunshine. Set your lawn mower as high as possible. When the grass grows taller it shades the weeds, which cuts them off from the life-saving light. Keep a healthy lawn by seeding, mowing, watering, fertilizing and using herbicides. This creates a dense turf that crowds out the weeds.
Pull the Weeds
For weed pulling to be effective, you must eliminate the roots. Getting rid of the dandelion's tough taproot requires more than pulling by hand. Ask for a hand-weeding tool at your garden center. The long handle with two prongs at the end does the job remarkably well. Pull back the leaves on the dandelion and shove the weeder deep down in the soil next to the root. Use a back-and-forth prying motion to loosen the root. Grab the dandelion as close to the base as possible and pull. The weeder tool works well on all weeds such as crabgrass and clover.
Spray with an herbicide if you want to get rid of weeds quickly with as little labor as possible. Apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the early spring, before the weeds go to seed. If the weeds go to seed, count on baby weeds sprouting up by the dozens. When you miss that pre-emergent window of opportunity in the spring, use a post-emergent herbicide in the fall. Check out all the herbicides at your gardening center. Some of the herbicides kill only the weeds, not the grass. Others kill the weeds and fertilize the grass at the same time. Use weed killers at any time of the year, but spring and fall are the best times to successfully treat your lawn.
Spot-treat weeds with white vinegar if you prefer to stay away from harmful chemicals. A controversy surrounds the use of vinegar. Although vinegar does work to kill weeds, the process takes much longer than an herbicide takes to eliminate them. Pour the vinegar in the middle of the weed so it sinks down to the roots.