How to Kill and Prevent Common Weeds for Better Lawn Maintenance

Prevent and remove common weeds with simple instructional steps from Home Matters.

Pesky lawn weeds can be the bane of any homeowner’s existence, but they don’t have to be. If unsightly weeds are ruining your dreams of a lush, healthy lawn, maybe it’s time to try something new. Instead of pulling weeds all summer long, try taking a preventative approach this year.

Common weeds

The first step is to learn how to identify common lawn weeds in your area. While different types of weeds pose problems across various areas of the country, some of the consistently biggest troublemakers are dandelions, crabgrass, clover, and ground ivy, sometimes also called creeping Charlie.

• Dandelions
• Crabgrass
• Clover
• Ground Ivy

Refer to a weed identification guide to find out what specific problems you are dealing with, or take a sample of each weed to your local garden center for help.

Prevent Weeds from Growing

It also may be helpful to take steps to keep garden weeds from spreading to your turf.

Step 1
Adding garden edging to the borders of flower beds and planting areas can help prevent weeds from creeping into your grass. Mulching flower beds and around shrubbery and trees can also help stifle weed growth. Or, consider adding landscaping rock or using river rock instead of mulch, which can help prevent weeds in landscaping while conserving water. Adding a synthetic landscape barrier to garden plantings can also help control weed growth.

Garden edging

Step 2
Most lawn professionals agree that the most effective way to fight weeds is by having a healthy, thick, vigorous lawn. You can accomplish this through including correct fertilizing, watering, and mowing practices. For weed control, it’s important to fertilize your lawn enough, but not too much. That’s because too much fertilizer may help promote some types of weed growth, yet too little can result in a sparse lawn that is susceptible to weed attack. The type of fertilizer you should use, as well as the frequency and fertilization schedule, depend on your turf type and growing season, so ask your local garden center or lawn professional for guidance.

Sprinkler in yard

Step 3
For most turf types, it’s best to water your grass less frequently but deeply to encourage strong root growth. Shallow root growth can actually encourage some weed seeds to germinate. It’s also best to water early in the day, when possible. Correct lawn mowing practices are also important, including mowing at the highest level recommended for your type of turf and keeping your lawn mower blades sharp for clean grass cuts.

Weed killer spray

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Step 4
If in spite of your best lawn maintenance efforts, you continue to have problems with stubborn weeds, it may be time for weed killers. There are some homemade weed killers that you can try, such as boiling water, salt, vinegar, and newspaper covers. If you feel that herbicides are needed, be sure to use a product that’s made specifically for your turf type. There are three main types of herbicides. Pre-emergent herbicides are formulated to kill germinating seeds and are often used for crabgrass. Post-emergent herbicides attack weeds that are already growing, and weed-and-feed products combine fertilizer and weed control for one-step convenience.

Don’t let weeds control you this growing season. Stay one step ahead with diligent maintenance and your lawn will be the envy of the neighborhood.


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AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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New Jersey Residents: The product being offered is a service contract and is separate and distinct from any product or service warranty which may be provided by the home builder or manufacturer.