Fairway Green, Inc
9 Ilene Ct, Suite 14 Hillsborough, NJ 08844
Phone: (908) 281-7888

Category Archives: Weed Control

Controlling Summer Broadleaf Weeds

During the summer, there are many broadleaf weeds in home lawns.  Some look similar to each other and often times these weeds are confused with each other.  What are broadleaf weeds?  Broadleaf weeds are dicots characterized by their broad leaves and network of veins. Whichever weed your lawn has, broadleaf weed control can help get the results you desire.

Black Medic

The black medic weed is often confused with clover and oxalis.  While black medic, clover and oxalis all grow similarly and have common features, there are many differences that distinguish the three apart from each other.

Black medic is found in mostly dry and compacted soils, it will grow along the edges of walkways, patios, driveways, etc., or in thin areas of the lawn.  It germinates from seeds in the spring and grows throughout June, July and August.  This weed can tolerate low mowing heights because of its (low, flat, stretched out) growing pattern, and it is able to grow out to 2 feet in length.  While this weed does not fully root into the ground, it does have a very deep taproot that anchors it into the soil.  Also, black medic weeds have the ability to make their own nitrogen, which is why they can outcompete turf in low nitrogen soils.

The foliage has a trifoliate leaflet arrangement at the end of the stem, similar to clover and oxalis.  The leaves have a mid-vein with pronounced rib-like veins running off vertically with a notch at the tip of the leaf.  One distinguishing characteristic is that the leaf stem on the center leaf is slightly longer than on clover and oxalis.  Black medic also produces small yellow flowers.  Once the flowers get to maturity, they form tightly coiled black seedpods, hence the name “black medic”. Like many weeds that are problem some in the summer months, broadleaf weed control can be used to control black medic in your lawn.

 

 

White Clover

White clover begins to grow in the fall when the soil temperatures are between 50 and 60 degrees and remains present annually.  Similarly to black medic, white clover is able to tolerate low mowing heights and can produce its own nitrogen making it thrive in low nitrogen soils and therefore out compete turf.  White clover forms into a mat-like pattern, meaning the leaves are arranged in threes and occasionally fours (four leaf clover or the classic shamrock shape). Further, the leaves have a white ring towards the bottom of the leaf, which distinguishes it from black medic and oxalis.  The root system is similar to

Further, the leaves have a white ring towards the bottom of the leaf, which distinguishes it from black medic and oxalis.  The root system is similar to black medic in that it has a deep taproot and spreads by stolons.  The flowers that are produced are white with a pink hue formed into a rounded head.

Oxalis

The final summer weed to note is Oxalis.  Oxalis can go by many names, but is commonly referred to as “woodsorrel” or “sourgrass”.  Their leaves are made up of 3 heart shaped leaves that are attached to the top of a stem and the leaf color ranges from green to purple.  Additionally, the oxalis weed produces a small 5 petal yellow flower at the end of its short stem.  Under intense heat this weed’s foliage often reddens, wilts and turns downward towards the ground.  The seeds germinate when air temperatures reach 60 to 80 degrees and have a similar root system to that of clover and black medic.  The plant produces seed pods which can expel the seeds out to 10 feet in all directions.  One seed pod can produce between 10-50 seeds and one plant can produce up to 5000 seeds per year.

Broadleaf Weed Control

There is a type of preventative treatment for broadleaf weeds; however it is cost prohibited in a residential lawn setting.  To control these types of broadleaf weeds, a post-emergent herbicide is used, and there are many different herbicides to choose from.  Be sure to follow the directions provided on the label about application.

Other ways to help control broadleaf weeds is through cultural practices.  Proper watering, mowing and fertilizating helps keep the lawn vigorously growing and outcompeting the weeds.

Water deeply and infrequently to improve growth of the lawn.  To start (underground irrigation systems) water your lawn 1 hour per zone twice per week.  For hose-end sprinklers water 2 hours per zone twice per week.  Water your lawn between midnight and 6 am.  Avoid early evening watering. For a more in-depth description of watering properly, check out this blog article.

Mowing your lawn regularly at a reasonable height is another important practice. We recommend keeping the grass at 3-3 ½ inches in length and only taking 1/3 of the grass blade off at a time.  Mowing below recommended grass height aids in depleting the grass of its energy reserves, and also thins the lawn’s canopy and encourages weed growth.

Regularly fertilizing your lawn helps stimulate the growth of the grass plants and outcompete the broadleaf weeds.

Also, regularly seeding bare or thin spots in the lawn will help keep those sections thick and dense to reduce weeds.

Conclusion

Even the best manicured and professionally maintained lawns eventually get some type of weeds.  At the end of the day, all three of these weeds can be controlled with good cultural practices and herbicides.  If you are unsure on how to treat these types of weeds on your own with a herbicide, choose a professional lawn care company to help.  A professional lawn care company like Fairway Green Inc. has access to state-of-the-art tools, techniques and the best products available to produce the highest quality results.

If you are in our service area or have any questions about controlling broadleaf weeds, feel free to contact us at 908-281-7888 or visit our website at www.fairwaygreeninc.com

Crabgrass Prevention and Control

What is Crabgrass?

Crabgrass is an annual grassy weed that is a problem in most home lawns throughout the country.  As an annual, it completes a full life cycle in one season and germinates from seeds that were dropped during a previous season by a mature crabgrass plant.  One crabgrass plant produces thousands of seeds which can live in the soil for many years before germinating.  Crabgrass starts to germinate when soil temperatures reach 55-60 degrees and stay at that range for about a week. For New Jersey, this is typically sometime in late April or May, but can vary from year to year depending on the weather.  Crabgrass will continue to germinate throughout the summer as well.   

Why does Crabgrass grow in my lawn?

Crabgrass is typically found in stressed areas of lawns that are thin, bare, and have poor growth.  Common examples of these areas are along curb edges, driveways, and walkways.  It favors these areas because these types of areas are hit hardest by stress throughout the season.  That being said, even a well-maintained lawn can still have annual issues with crabgrass.

What options are available for Crabgrass prevention and control?

There are many options available for crabgrass prevention and control.  Here are some helpful tips to help you this season:

  1. Crabgrass prevention can be accomplished by apply a crabgrass pre-emergent every year. Crabgrass pre-emergent needs be applied in the early spring season (March & April) and it is also recommended to complete two treatments. The second treatment should be applied 6 to 8 weeks after the first treatment and is meant to reinforce the initial treatment and increase the duration of the product into the summer season.   Crabgrass pre-emergent products typically lasts in the soil for about ten to twelve weeks depending on site conditions and cultural practices.  A crabgrass pre-emergent creates an invisible barrier in the soil and controls the plants once they cross the barrier.  For more information on how pre-emergents work, follow this link to our Landscape Bed Weed Control Blog. Try not to disturb the soil after the crabgrass pre-emergent has been applied.  If the barrier becomes compromised (core aeration, dethatching, seeding, construction, etc.), crabgrass will most likely emerge in these areas.  Because crabgrass is very similar to desired grass species, the pre-emergent will also control any new seeding you may have completed.  For this reason, (and many others), spring seeding is not recommended.
  2. Once the crabgrass plant has emerged, it’s too late to apply any pre-emergent controls. This is where a post-emergent crabgrass control will come in handy. Post-emergent crabgrass controls are applied as a liquid, directly to each plant.  This will control the crabgrass plants after they’ve already started growing above ground.  A post-emergent crabgrass control will NOT prevent new growth of crabgrass nor will it control actively growing broadleaf weeds.
  3. Keep the lawn thick for additional help with crabgrass prevention. Any bare or thin areas should be seeded in late summer. A dense lawn not only helps shade the soil, keeping it cooler, but it also provides less space for the crabgrass plants to grow.  See steps 6-9 below for additional tips on keeping the lawn thick.  All of the following steps will not only help with crabgrass prevention, but also improve overall health of your turf.
  4. When mowing the lawn, keep the grass blades at a height around 3 – 3 ½ inches and only cut off 1/3 of the grass blade at a time. Keeping the canopy of the grass tall will help shade the soil beneath, keeping it cooler which will help reduce crabgrass from germinating.
  5. Edges of driveways, walkways, patios, pools etc., typically get cut too short with a weed wacker. In addition, uneven ground can result in short mowing heights or even scalping. Both scenarios are problematic when it comes to crabgrass prevention and control.  Scalping weakens the grass plant and makes it more susceptible to injury and death when stressed.  Once turf grass is in decline and more of the soil is exposed to sunlight, crabgrass seeds can germinate in those areas.  Be extra careful mowing uneven areas and using the weed wacker along the edges to avoid cutting your turf too short.
  6. Water. Watering will not only help improve color but will aid in growth as well. By watering correctly early in the season, and continuing thru August, you will be promoting good turf growth which will make it difficult for crabgrass plants to move in.
  7. Fertilize regularly. Fertilizing on a regular basis will help stimulate growth and create a thicker lawn. When the lawn is thick and vigorously growing, it will shade the soil and create more competition against the crabgrass plants.  A thick and healthy lawn is a great way to help with crabgrass prevention.
  8. Core aerate the lawn annually. Crabgrass thrives in compacted soils. By core aerating regularly you are creating better soil conditions.  This also helps improve water and nutrient movement to the roots, resulting in a stronger root system and healthier lawn.
  9. Lime the lawn if the pH of the soil is low. The pH is the measure of the alkaline or acidity of the lawn soil. When the pH is in the proper range (6.3 – 6.5) the lawn will utilize all of the nutrients it gets during the year, creating a healthier, stronger and vigorously growing lawn.  For more details on Soil pH, here is a link to our pH and Lime blog.

Conclusion

Don’t let crabgrass become a pain in your grass!  The steps above will not only help you with crabgrass prevention and control, but they also promote a healthier lawn.  With the tips above, you and your lawn professional can reduce crabgrass and make your lawn look beautiful for years to come.  If you are in our service area or have any questions, feel free to contact us at 908-281-7888 or visit our website at www.fairwaygreeninc.com

Applying Pre-emergent Weed Control for Landscape Beds

What is Pre-emergent?

A pre-emergent is a type of weed control used to control broadleaf weeds as they germinate and before they become a problem. There are many products out on the market today. Most times it is a granular (pellet) formulation type product that is used but liquids are also available. For many landscape beds, weeds will seemingly infest over-night and homeowners will spend countless hours picking them by hand or paying a landscaper to pull them out. Applying pre-emergent weed control will give you a fighting chance to keep a little green in your wallet and the weeds out of your hands.

How does Pre-emergent for landscape beds work?

Pre-emergent works by creating an invisible barrier in the mulch/soil area. Weeds are controlled as they germinate and come in contact with the barrier.

Not all weeds and grasses are controlled by one type of pre-emergent product. There are pre-emergent products that work on annuals, some that work on perennials, and even ones that work on both. Product choice is extremely critical to ensure you don’t harm desired plants that are in your landscape beds that have not emerged by the time of application. This is especially true for homeowners that have desired perennials in their landscapes.

For example, daffodils in the picture would have been controlled if the wrong pre-emergent herbicide was utilized. We recommend applying pre-emergent weed control that is safe for your desired plants and still controls the majority of weeds. For the few undesired weeds that emerge later in the season, a non-selective herbicide like Round-up can be used directly on the weed. Always be sure to read the label prior to applying pre-emergent weed control in your landscape beds.

Applying Pre-Emergent: How to Choose the Ideal Locations?

Pre-emergent weed control for landscape beds can go on mulch, wood chips, shredded rubber mulch, rocks, stone type areas, etc. A granular product can be spread with a low volume back pack sprayer or hand crank type spreader. Driveways, walkways, and other high traffic areas should be avoided with a pre-emergent. The more traffic there is on an area, like a rock driveway where cars travel daily, the faster the material will break down and reduce its capabilities to control weeds. Weeds in these types of areas can be controlled with a combination of pre-emergent and post-emergent products, but this is outside the general scope of this blog.

Things You Can Do In Your Landscape To Help Reduce Weed Growth.

There are some things that you or your landscaper can do in the landscape beds to minimize the weeds.

  1. When installing new planting beds around your property, use a breathable landscape fabric instead of plastic or vinyl. Once trees, plants and flowers are planted and beds are edged, cut and lay down the landscape fabric prior to mulching. This will create a barrier that will help reduce weeds. The fabric can be purchased at any garden supply store and are easy to cut to any size you need. Depending on the thickness of the material, it can last anywhere from 2 to 5 years in most landscape beds.
  2. One of the easiest ways to reduce weeds in your landscape beds is a layer of quality mulch. Not only does mulch help retain moisture, but it also creates an additional barrier to reduce the weeds. Most homeowners prefer a double or triple shredded hardwood mulch that has been dyed. The dye used, which comes in many colors, will help the mulch retain its color for up to a year. A layer of mulch that is maintained around three to four inches is all that is recommended to help reduce the weeds in your landscape beds.
  3. Hand pulling weeds is also an effective way to reduce visible weeds. Keep in mind that by hand pulling the weed/plants, some of the roots may be left behind in the soil. Even if it looks like you got it all out, one little piece of root left in the soil can regrow the plant.
  4. Minimize traffic on the mulched areas. Try to not move the mulch around by raking or digging in the bed. This will disturb the mulch and weeds can start to grow.

Conclusion

Weeds are a nuisance and your time is valuable. One surefire way to help with weed management throughout the season is to treat them preventatively by applying pre-emergent weed control to your landscape beds. As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Here is a link to our tree and shrub service page where you can learn more about our Landscape Bed Weed Management Program. Also, if you are in our service area and have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us at 908-281-7888

9 Ilene Ct, Suite 14, Hillsborough, NJ 08844 United States | (908) 281-7888
Phone: (908) 281-7888