When lawns are neglected many different types of weeds can begin to pop up. Sometimes the greenest parts of our lawn are the weeds because they smother the grasses below as the weeds become more established. Many people believe that chemical herbicides will get rid of their weeds, but these chemicals are dangerous to the environment and animals. Herbicides also do not fix the root of the problem which is underground in the soil. If your lawn is mostly weeding you need to fix your lawn from the bottom up.
Getting rid of weeds is best done by getting down and using hand shovels to dig out the weeds, root, and all. There are chemicals on the market that kill the weeds that are above ground but do nothing to stop the root of the weed from growing a new plant. A vinegar and detergent at home solution can be injected into roots of weeds if you do not want to pull them out manually. This at home method has gotten positive results in all lawn types.
Improving the Soil
If you want to keep your yard weed free you must start with the soil. Aerating your lawn will create 3-4 inch holes in your soil that are spaced a few inches apart. These holes in the soil will allow for more nutrients to reach the roots of the grass, better air circulation, and help break up compacted soil so that organisms like worms can process the dirt. Aerating can be done with a machine or a hand tool.
During soil aeration you can also look at your soil and determine whether your soil is too compacted or not getting enough nutrients. High quality soil will be rich and dark in color and will crumble easily. If your soil ribbons or is compacted you may have a lot of clay in your soil. If this is the case, you will want to apply a topsoil layer to your lawn next. A topsoil layer, also called topdressing, is a mixture of sharp sand, loamy soil, and compost/peat. This mixture is spread evenly about an inch thick over the lawn. Use a garden rake to work it into the ground and the aeration holes. Over time, this topsoil will work its way down to break up the clay and allow for better drainage and nutrient delivery.
Keep in mind that compost can also promote weed growth so purchasing peat can be the best option for problematic yards. If your soil is not compacted you can use an organic fertilizer on your lawn. Many of these fertilizers will also prevent weeds from growing.
The next step to improving your soil is to water the lawn so that the topsoil can settle and work itself into the aeration holes. Your lawn should be getting one inch of water each week. You can measure easily with a rain gauge or decorative water collectors.
Most weeds prefer a pH of 6 or lower while other thrive at 7.5 or higher. Turf grass is best at a neutral pH level. You can purchase soil testing kits and alkaline sulfur from lawn and garden centers to balance the acidity in the soil.
Once your soil is saturated you can reseed your lawn. You want to make sure that you choose a grass seed that is native to your region and grows well in the environment of your yard. If you have many mature trees, you want grass that grows well in shade. When you choose your grass seed also make note of the cutting recommendations so that you know how long to let the grass grow before cutting it.
When new seedlings begin to grow, water lightly early in the morning once or twice per day. Once the grass has been through one mowing, switch to watering deeply one a few times per week.
Keep in mind that the key to getting rid of weeds is to keep your soil healthy. If you are having difficulties with your lawn, reach out to a lawn care specialist.