Any homeowner in Pennsylvania will tell you that the most annoying part of owning a home is summer weeds. With all the summer plans and spring chores you have to do, the last thing you want to worry about are weeds popping up and ruining the look of your yard. However, if you take action early and stay alert, you can make your yard impenetrable to annoying weeds.
Summer weeds can sneak into your yard by hitching a ride on the wind or from messy birds. If you already took care of the spring weeds, then summer weeds should be few and far between.
If they do rear their ugly heads again, it is a possibility that you have more going on than meets the eye. Is the grass thin or are there bare spots where the weeds are? When was the last time your soil pH was checked? Is the soil compact or do you have a thatch layer? These conditions as well as weather patterns play a huge role in how your lawn looks during the summertime.
During summertime not only does our grass start to go dormant to protect itself but so do the weeds. When temperatures rise weeds grow more slowly and develop thicker cuticles which reduces movement of herbicides through their root system; making them harder to control. During the spring and fall when the weather is cooler and there is more moisture in the air weeds are able to take in the herbicide appropriately, thereby getting down to the root system and killing the weed.
Weeds will grow where there is room for them to grow; but if you have a thick, healthy, and full lawn the chances of weeds having the room to grow is reduced significantly.
Common Weeds in Pennsylvania
Crabgrass is an opportunistic weed. It tends to pop up in areas of thinning or weak grass. Commonly seen alongside paved surfaces or fence lines where people often string trim or mow to short. Cutting too short means you are removing the mature part of the grass blades and leaving the immature blades behind. These “baby” blades of grass cannot withstand the stresses of heat, too much rain, not enough rain, or everyday traffic on a lawn; and over time the grass eventually dies out and crabgrass moves in.
Oxalis is a ground-hugging plant like clover. Its heart-shaped green leaves turn a deep red color in late summer. It has yellow flowers and can thrive in the sun or shaded areas. Get this weed out early as it can produce a ton of seeds.
Black medic has heart-shaped leaves and yellow flowers. It can be confused for oxalis, but a way to tell the difference is the long stem on its central leaf and the black seed pod it gets in the summer.
This fast-growing sedge likes to grow in moist, compact lawns. As it has the unique ability to reseed itself due to its underground nutlets; pulling this out of the lawn is not advisable as this method can help it spread even more throughout your lawn.
The two main types are broadleaf plantain and buckhorn plantain. They look the same except the leaves of the buckhorn plantain are noticeably wider and longer. But both are ugly and do well in compacted soil in full sun.
Irrigation and Mowing Practices
An herbicide application can get you a head start on effective weed control, but what you want to achieve is a yard that can naturally fend off pesky weeds. Good lawn care practices like proper irrigation and mowing techniques will work alongside a proper balanced fertilization program to help keep your grass thick and healthy. These practices will work to prevent weeds from moving into your lawn and taking over.
Established lawns need 1-1 ½ inches of water a week and any watering that you do should be done in the morning and not the evening; so as not to encourage the growth of fungus or disease. Mowing between June – early September should be done once a week and cutting at a high setting of 3 ½ inches. Making sure not to cut off more than 1/3 of the blade as that can weaken your grass blades, causing harm and possible issues later.
Hire The Lawn Care Pros at LawnRx
By far, the best way to make sure weeds are eliminated from your yard is by getting lawn care service from LawnRx. Our five-step lawn care program is based on the recommendations from Penn State and is designed for western Pennsylvanian cool season grasses.
Call us for more information at (724) 539-1003 or get a free estimate here. Don’t forget to check out our educational blog with interesting articles on lawn care, weed control, lawn diseases, pest control, and more! Follow us on Facebook for all of the latest news and offerings from LawnRx.