With all the trees, bushes, and flowers in full bloom, spring in the New River Valley is certainly a beautiful time of year. However, along with all those things we love to see in bloom, we also see a lot of things blooming that we’d rather not see—namely, weeds.

From clovers to dandelions and everything in between, these pesky weeds detract from the curb appeal and fullness that we want our lawns to have. So how do we prevent these things from taking over our yards? If you’re like many homeowners, you may feel out of your league when thinking about all the products and options for weed control. Here is some information about the two main types of herbicides—pre-emergent and post-emergent—that will hopefully help you understand a little bit more about what to use when.

Pre-Emergent Herbicides

Pre-emergent herbicides are products that prevent the germinating weeds from establishing in the lawn. They control annual grassy weeds (think crabgrass) by inhibiting cell division in the young root system. The failure of the root system to develop results in the death of the young seedling weed shortly after germination.

In our area, for cool season grasses, pre-emergents should be applied in the early spring and/or in the late summer/early fall. The spring applications primarily target summer annual weeds such as crabgrass, goosegrass, or foxtails. Fall applications primarily target annual bluegrass and winter annual broadleaves such as henbit, deadnettle, and chickweed.

Post-Emergent Herbicides

Post-emergent herbicides work to control weeds after they have already germinated. They work by traveling down the plant stalk and into the root system to kill the weed. So to achieve control with post-emergent herbicides, weeds must be actively growing.

In our area, for cool season grasses, post-emergents should be applied later in the spring and/or in the late summer and into the fall. VCE recommends that cool-season weeds should be treated when temperatures are ≥ 50˚ F. For warm-season weeds, temperatures ≥ 80˚ F are required for maximum control. Green Care is currently applying our spring post-emergent treatments for our clients.

Weed Control Tips to Keep in Mind

1. Identify the weed so you can choose the right herbicide. Remember that to be successful in controlling the weed, you have to properly identify it and understand its lifecycle. Only once you do that can you begin to navigate which product to use. VCE puts it this way:

“Choose wisely when selecting post-emergent herbicides. The label specifically indicates what chemicals are in the product, how to properly and safely apply them, and what weeds will be controlled. Particularly in the spring, there are many ‘weed and feed’ products available on store shelves containing a variety of herbicides. Be sure to distinguish the products that are PRE (traditional ‘crabgrass herbicides’) versus those that are POST (traditional ‘dandelion herbicides’). A PRE does nothing to control an existing weed and a POST is useless to control germinating weeds.”

2. Use the product properly. To achieve the best performance and for the safety and health of your turf and yourself, be sure to follow the instructions on the label. VCE puts it this way:

“Are there any restrictions on grasses to which the product can be applied? Is irrigation required or is it detrimental? Any restrictions on air temperature during application? These are but a few of the important considerations. For instance, many standard POST broadleaf herbicides will seriously damage warm-season grasses if applied during spring transition. Most broadleaf herbicides require dew on the leaf surfaces when applied as granules to insure absorption into the leaves. The label points out these precautions. Similarly, these same POST broadleaf herbicide products can be very particularly injurious to desirable ornamental plants following spring treatments if they are not applied carefully. Follow the label and you will achieve the desirable response with virtually no risk of undesirable consequences.”

Let Green Care Help with Weed Control

We hope this information is helpful in figuring out how to best tackle the weed problem in your lawn. However, if you still feel overwhelmed, we don’t blame you! We at Green Care are weed control specialists. Our programs are designed to prevent and treat weeds that arise in your lawn. Our fertilizing service also helps to improve turf density, because a thick lawn is your best defense against weeds.

So if you don’t already, let Green Care handle your weed control with a personalized program that is custom fit for your lawn. Get in touch with us today to get started!