The Worst Northern Lawn Weeds and How to Get Rid of Them
Proper lawn care practices can prevent intrusive weeds from emerging. These practices generally include mowing, fertilizing, watering, pest control, and soil testing. When mowing, it's important to mow at the tallest height for the type of grass you're growing. If you're using fertilizer, be careful not to overuse the product. Watering is also a critical aspect of lawn care. To ensure that your lawn is watered deeply and infrequently, you may want to use an irrigation system.
Pests can lead to harmful lawn diseases, so it's best to treat them before they get out of control. You can do this by regularly checking your lawn for any damage. Poor soil quality also indicates an unhealthy lawn. Lawns that are being taken over by weeds may need to balance the pH level in the soil. Depending on your lawn's soil quality, you may need to add lime or sulfur. Applying one of these nutrients to your soil will adjust its pH balance.
Northern Lawn Weeds
Black henbane- Although this annual or biennial weed possesses stalks that are as long as most leaf blades, its most recognized for its vein-like rosettes and powerful odor. This toxic plant may cause humans to develop headaches or feel nauseous. Black henbane can also poison any livestock that consumes it.
To control this potentially harmful plant, you will want to use 2,4-D (2,4-Dichlorphenoxyacetic acid), dicamba (3,6-dichloro-2-methoxybenzoic acid) or a combination of both. If you're concerned about its seeds spreading, you may want to apply herbicides, like tordon or glyphosate, to plants that are developing flowers.
You can eliminate black henbane without the use of harsh chemicals. For instance, if the affected area is small, you may want to remove the weeds by pulling them out of the ground. If this approach fails, you may have to dig up the weeds. Keep in mind that these plants are toxic, so it's recommended that you wear gloves and long clothing when taking care of weeds in your lawn.
False chamomile- This weed closely resembles daisies. It's most commonly found near road ditches, gardens, and other areas that are already overrun with weeds. Although scentless chamomile and false chamomile share some similarities, false chamomile has fewer leaves and is less bushy.
You can control false chamomile using a sulfonylurea herbicide. If the infestation is small, hand-pulling weeds can be an effective approach. Mowing the lawn before its flowers blossom can also prevent these plants from forming.
Field bindweed- This plant with its white or pink cone-shaped flowers spreads through its root systems. For this reason, a systemic herbicide is needed to eliminate field bindweed. Unlike other herbicides, a systemic herbicide is absorbed by the plant's roots, destroying it from the inside.
Perennial broadleaf weeds- Perennial broadleaf weeds include dandelions, field bindweed, white clover, ground ivy, and broadleaf plaintain. When dealing with perennial broadleaf weeds, it's important to correctly identify the type of weed that you're dealing with. This is because perennial broadleaf weeds can only be controlled using a post-emergent herbicide. This type of herbicide can damage surrounding plants if not applied carefully. Although post-emergent herbicides can be used to control existing weeds, they cannot stop weeds from sprouting.
It's best to apply a post-emergent herbicide during the late summer or early fall. Applying herbicides during the spring can stunt weed growth; however, it will be more difficult to kill the plant.
Perennial grassy weeds- These are the most difficult weeds to get rid of because there are no selective herbicides available. For this reason, it's important to remove perennial grassy weeds, like quackgrass, annual bluegrass, and tall fescue, before they're able to establish themselves. To remove the weed, you can use a shovel to dig up the plant. You can also apply a non-selective herbicide; however, this type of herbicide can kill healthy grass.
Annual grassy weeds- It can be difficult to spot an annual grassy weed because it looks a lot like regular grass. Weeds, like crabgrass and foxtail, populate sidewalks and driveways because they're drawn to the hottest, thinnest parts of a lawn. With that being said, it's unlikely that an annual grassy weed will take over a healthy lawn.
If your lawn has annual grassy weeds, using a pre-emergent herbicide can control the problem. Although there are some herbicides that can eliminate annual grassy weeds, the weeds must be fairly new.
Weeds can be a problem for homeowners in the North. Fortunately, lawn maintenance can prevent these types of weeds from popping up in your lawn. If you're unable to rid your lawn of these weeds, you may want to contact a lawn care company.