Weeds can be defined as unwanted plants or plants growing out of place. Proper identification and some understanding of how and why weeds are present in a lawn are important when selecting the best control strategy. Knowing whether or not weeds were previously present in a particular area also helps homeowners prepare control measures in the future. A well-maintained and healthy lawn is able to combat weed problems, but a lawn suffering from nutritional deficiencies, insect attack or disease will quickly decline and become susceptible to invasive weeds.
Knowing a weed’s growth habit is important when developing an effective weed management program.
Broadleaves, or dicotyledonous plants, have two cotyledons (seed leaves) when the weed seed germinates. Their true leaves have net-like veins and usually have showy flowers. Examples include Chickweed, Bull thistle, Yellow Woodsorrel, Florida Pusley, Spurge, Beggarweed, Matchweed, Dandelion Pennywort (Dollarweed) and a variety of clovers.
Grasses are monocotyledonous plants that have only one cotyledon, or seed leaf, present when seedlings emerge from the soil. Grasses have hollow, rounded stems with nodes (joints) and parallel veins in their true leaves. Examples include Crabgrass, Goosegrass, Crowfootgrass, Dallisgrass, Bullgrass, Annual Bluegrass, Alexandergrass, Cogongrass, Torpedograss, and Smutgrass.
Sedges have triangular-shaped, solid stems, while rush stems are round and solid. Both sedges and rushes favor a moist habitat. Economically important members include Yellow and Purple Nutsedge , Globe, Texas, Annual, and Water Sedge.
Weed Life Cycles
Weeds are also classified based on their life cycles, which is the period between seed germination and plant death.
Annual weeds complete their life cycles in one growing season. Summer annuals complete their life cycles from spring to fall. Winter annuals complete their life cycles from fall to spring. Summer annual grasses, as a class, are generally the most troublesome weeds in turf.
Weeds that complete their life cycles in two growing seasons are called biennials. Most biennial plants show only vegetative growth during the first growing season, and flowering occurs during the second growing season.
Weeds that require three or more years to complete their life cycles are considered perennials.
The first and best method of weed control begins with proper management practices that encourage a dense, thriving turf. Healthy turf shades the soil so sunlight can’t reach weed seeds ready to germinate. A thick turf also minimizes the physical space available for weeds to become established. Several management practices promote a healthy, dense grass and help reduce the cost of weed control while maintaining the aesthetics of the lawn.
Proper Turf Care
Proper fertilization, watering, mowing, and pest control are required to produce a dense turf that can prevent weed infestation. If turf is over- or underwatered, over- or underfertilized, or mowed too low or too infrequently, the turf is weakened and the weeds move in. Sharpening the mower blades can reduce turf damage and the chances for weed invasion. It is very important to understand that weeds don’t create a void; they fill a void.
Pest damage makes the turf more susceptible to weed infestations by creating spaces for weed establishment and reducing the turf’s competitive ability. Specifically, tunneling from mole crickets disrupts the soil surface, enabling weed seeds to readily germinate. Other insects and diseases can cause areas of turf to become bare. These open areas are usually slow to recover and enable weeds to become established and grow quickly. High nematode populations also thin the turf and make it less able to recuperate from environmental stresses.
Protecting Your Lawn with Routine Treatment
At Patrick Exterminating, we have dedicated our business to the treatment of St. Augustine grass for over 30 years. Our routine lawn service includes fertilization and insect control for turf-damaging insects, broad-leaf weed control and fungicide applications as needed utilizing liquid sprays. We have the experience to ensure a vibrant, weed-free St. Augustine lawn all year long, providing trusted and reliable service to residents of Martin, St. Lucie and Northern Palm Beach County. We invite you to call us at 772-286-8612 or contact us online to schedule your no-obligation lawn evaluation. Then, just say NO to weeds!
Source: University of Florida IFAS Extension
Patrick Exterminating – Since 1988
Just Say No to Bugs!
226 SE Gran Park Way, Stuart, Florida 34997
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