Have questions about when and how to seed your lawn this spring? Consult Spring Green's Lawn Care Guide for all the answers! Weed control is the biggest problem facing wildflower establishment for direct-seeded projects. Learn more about weed control methods in wildflower gardens. Apply Weed Control When Seeding?! Yes, You Can! For years, professionals lived by a simple rule when establishing a new lawn or overseeding: never apply weed control as it will limit the ability
6 Things to Consider Before Seeding In The Spring!
It’s spring! The weather is becoming warmer, and you’re ready to get outside and turn your attention to lawn and landscape projects. While spring may seem like a great time to seed some of those thin or brown patches in your lawn, it may be better to wait. Here’s why. Spring seeding makes it difficult to effectively control annual weeds, such as crabgrass, with pre-emergents. Pre-emergents stop weeds by creating a barrier below the soil surface to keep the weeds from ever sprouting. However, the same pre-emergent that kills crabgrass seedlings will keep your new grass from sprouting, too.
Putting off your early spring application of pre-emergent weed control can give crabgrass, and their weeds, a strong foothold. Once established, crabgrass spreads very quickly and can crowd out your new grass. Choosing to seed after pre-emergents have been applied also presents problems. Raking, or cultivating, the soil for planting will break the pre-emergent barrier under the soil and decrease its effectiveness. Conditions are best for planting lawn seed in the fall. Soil temperatures are ideal in late summer and early fall for quick germination of your lawn seed. Seeding in the fall allows your new turf to develop a strong root system before heading into the next season’s hot, dry summer months.
If Spring Seeding Can’t Wait, Consider These 6 Things!
- Wait to sow your seeds until soil temperatures reach 55 degrees (use a meat thermometer to check soil temperatures at a 1” depth).
- If you have bare spots that you must seed in the spring, mark the seeded areas with straw or light mulch so pre-emergents can be avoided in those areas.
- Keep the seeded area well watered, as crabgrass thrives in dry soil.
- Mow the area normally once the new grass is as tall as the rest of the lawn, to avoid the new turf growing too tall and lanky.
- Weed control applications should be avoided on the young grass until it has been mowed 3 to 5 times.
- If you plan a general, or large area seeding, a special program of crabgrass control should be worked out to prevent problems in the summer.
For further information, visit our core aeration and overseeding page or contact your local Spring Green professional
The Importance of Removing Weeds and Weed Seeds in Your Planting Site
Weed control is the biggest problem facing wildflower establishment for direct-seeded projects and one which has no easy solution. Weed seeds are present in many situations and lie dormant, but viable, for long periods. A weedy area converted to wildflowers will have a large reservoir of weed seeds in the soil, ready to germinate when conditions are favorable. In most cases, it is advisable to consider weed control in two phases – as part of site preparation prior to planting, and as an important component of a post-germination maintenance program.
Weed Control Methods
Before planting, existing weeds and unwanted vegetation can be removed in a number of different ways.
- Using the no-till method
- Applying a non-selective, non-residual herbicide such as a glyphosate product
- A combination of tilling and an herbicide.
- For additional weed control after site preparation, a soil fumigant that kills weed seeds may be used
Smothering of existing weeds and vegetation is an option for small-scale planting projects and can be done with black plastic that is UV stabilized. This method “cooks” the vegetation and weed seeds in the topsoil. The edges of the plastic should be covered with dirt to prevent airflow underneath the plastic. This is a good option if you wish to avoid the use of herbicides. However, smothering usually takes a full growing season to successfully kill perennials that can regrow from the roots.
Repeated tilling is another good option if you wish to avoid the use of herbicides. The initial tilling removes the existing vegetation, and then repeated tilling every three weeks for a full growing season will help to deplete the weed seeds in the soil by killing newly sprouting weeds. In dry areas, providing supplemental water will encourage weed germination and regrowth so that repeated tilling can be effective.
An effective, no-till method to prepare a seed bed is to apply a glyphosate herbicide and allow the vegetation to die back (usually about 10-14 days). Use a scalper to remove the dead thatch and scratch up the soil surface. The top surface of the soil is lightly roughened by the scalper and makes a good seed bed. Once seeds are sown, go over the area with a roller or cultipacker to cover the seeds.
Methods for Extremely Weedy Areas
- Till soil or spray vegetation with glyphosate herbicide. When using an herbicide, allow vegetation to die, then rake out the dead debris. If aggressive, perennial weeds such as bindweed are present, using an herbicide is more effective than tilling.
- Irrigate to encourage germination of weed seeds near the surface; most seeds will germinate within two weeks if consistent moisture is available. Do not till the soil again because this will bring even more weed seeds up to the surface.
- Spray any new growth with glyphosate herbicide.
- After raking out dead vegetation, allow soil to recover for 3-4 weeks before planting seed.
Once the seeds have germinated, further weed control is usually necessary. If practical, pull all weeds as soon as they can be identified. Other successful techniques are spot-spraying with a general herbicide or selectively cutting weeds with a string trimmer. Be sure to remove weeds before they reseed.
Many unwanted annual and some perennial grasses can be controlled with the herbicides Grass-B-Gon®*, Ornamec®* and Fusilade®*. These post-emergents do not affect broad-leaved plants so they can be applied over existing flowers; they are most effective when sprayed on new growth and young plants. Take care to avoid treating areas with desirable native grasses or fescues.
*Observe all precautions and follow manufacturer’s recommendations for application.
Apply Weed Control When Seeding?! Yes, You Can!
For years, professionals lived by a simple rule when establishing a new lawn or overseeding: never apply weed control as it will limit the ability to raise a healthy stand of turf. This meant that weeds had free reign to germinate and compete with the new turf for up to a full month. Then they would need to be controlled once the turf was established.
Now there’s a new product with pre-emergent weed control that you can apply when you seed –whether bare-ground seeding or overseeding.
Lebanon’s ProScape® Starter Fertilizer 21-22-4 with Mesotrione is ideal for use during turf establishment (bare ground seeding, sodding, sprigging or plugging), renovation or overseeding. The mesotrione ingredient is a game changer that offers pre-emergence control of 33 listed broadleaf and grassy weeds. It even controls crabgrass!
The 35% slow release nitrogen from methylene urea insures continuous feeding throughout the early stages of the plant’s life, while the Mesotrione controls weeds for up to 6 weeks. Weeds sprout white and then die quickly without harming the new grass.
This product is a game changer: Healthier new turf with fewer noxious weeds to eradicate later. Invest less effort and get instantly better results.
Get it now from your experts at Central. Contact us for more information.