If the weeds within your lawn could talk, what would they say? Most homeowners think of weeds as annoying and ugly little plants that pop-up in the most inconvenient spots; however there are more to weeds than meets the eye.
Unhealthy and Compacted Soil
Most homeowners are aware that compacted soil can be harmful to the lawn and that it is recommended to have an aeration done every fall to reduce this compaction to increase water and air flow to the root system; however most may not realize that compacted soil is also a breeding ground for main weeds, such as plantain. Plantain, or broadleaf, thrive in compacted areas because they do not need many nutrients and do not need much oxygen or water.
Healthy but Compacted Soil
Some weeds grown and tell us that the soil is in good conditions, but needs aeration and seed to reduce the compaction and thicken it up. Henbit, chickweed, and thistle like to grow in fertile, nutrient-rich soils but prefer these soils to be compacted and the lawn to be thin.
Grass needs a combination of 17 different nutrients to grow properly, when any of those levels are out of balance, the grass may not grow as well or may not grow at all. Fortunately for weeds, they do not need as many nutrients to grow so they can pop-up almost anywhere and prefer areas of weak soil because the grass is usually sparse in those areas, so it’s a win-win for weeds. Two of the most common weeds to find in weak soil areas are clover and crabgrass.
Small slopes or slight bumps within a lawn may not mean much to the average person or may not even be visible to the average person, but these small slopes can create drainage issues. Drainage issues may cause water to pool in a specific area or constantly runoff through a certain area, keep the soil moist for long periods of time. Homeowners often deal with weeds such as nutsedge (water grass or nut grass) and spotted spurge throughout the summer months. While both of these weeds can be tricky to treat, a recurrent issue with them, especially within a given area, may indicate poor drainage.
Preventing Conditions That Promote Weeds
Compacted and bare soil, whether healthy or not healthy, promote the perfect breeding ground for weeds. Annual fall core aeration and overseeding help reduce this compaction while introducing new life into the lawn which helps to thicken it up. The thicker a lawn, the less room weeds have to grow.
To determine if the soil is healthy or unhealthy, it is important to conduct a soil analysis periodically. A soil analysis should be done annually for poor soil that requires additives or at least once every few years for soil with good pH and organic levels.
Drainage issues should be addressed sooner than later when water loving weeds pop-up in the same spots year after year. This can be as simple as adding a bag of top soil and seeding the area, or running a below ground drainage system throughout the area to help disperse the water quickly and more effectively.
Sum it up
Before getting mad about weeds that pops-up within the lawn, step back and listen to what those weeds have to say; each one tells its own story of why it picked that specific spot to grow. In addition to listening to what those weeds have to say, aerate and overseed the lawn annually and conduct regular soil analysis to prevent any “weed friendly” conditions within the lawn. Also, be on the lookout for drainage issues that may promote the growth of weeds within the lawn.
It is always a good idea to consult with a lawn care professional and ask any questions you may have. Look around, ask friends or family, and research companies on the Better Business Bureau to find a company that you can trust.