Know Before They Grow

Weed prevention tips for lawn care novices

(Family Features) The old saying goes that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If you’re new to caring for a lawn, you may not know that this is especially true when it comes to your yard. If left untreated, weeds can weaken or even destroy a healthy stand of grass.

These simple lawn care tips, courtesy of Bayer Advanced lawn and garden expert Lance Walheim, can help you ward off weeds and enjoy healthy, green grass year-round.

Start with the basics.
Grow turf that is so thick and strong, weeds can’t find an inch to take root by watering and fertilizing properly. Watering too much or too little encourages weeds. Water deeply (6-8 inches) and allow the lawn to partially dry before you water again.

Before fertilizing, read the label carefully to ensure that you have the correct timing. You may also want to conduct a soil test so you know you’re applying the correct blend of nutrients for the soil quality in your region. Local cooperative extension offices are useful resources to help you get started.

Also beware of bare spots or parts of the lawn that are not thriving. These areas are an invitation for weeds, so find the cause quickly. Trouble spots can be caused by insects, disease, chemical spills, objects left too long on the grass or broken sprinklers. Once you’ve resolved the issue, re-seed the area with grass seed that matches the rest of your lawn.

Mow at the right height.
Grass needs to be the right height to combat the growth of weeds. Grass that is too short exposes weed seeds to sunlight and promotes germination. Ideal blade height varies depending on grass type, time of year and growing conditions, but the most important thing is to never remove more than one-third of the leaf surface at any one time.

In general, cool-season grass, like fescue or Kentucky bluegrass, or grasses in shade grow best when maintained at a taller height, approximately 2 1/2-4 inches. If you have warm-season grass, including zoysia and Bermudagrass, maintain it between 1-3 inches.

Get tools to help.
Specialized tools and products make it easier to remove weeds. A simple garden hoe can do wonders with young seedlings, and dandelion weeders are perfectly designed to remove deep-rooted dandelions.

You can also reduce manual labor by treating your lawn with a time-saving selective herbicide product like Bayer Advanced Season Long Weed Control for Lawns, which controls broadleaf lawn weeds like dandelions and clovers. This herbicide not only kills the weeds you can see, but prevents new weeds from growing for up to 6 months. Plus, it’s rainproof in just 1 hour, which is perfect for rainy spring months. It is not for sale, use or distribution in New York. Be sure to read product labels carefully to understand what weeds will be killed or prevented.

For more information or to learn more about mowing, watering or fixing bare spots, visit

Photo courtesy of Getty Images


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