It is September and we seem to be transitioning into the time when temperatures are cooler and growth of warm season lawns has slowed down. It’s tempting to put away the lawn mower and forget about your lawn for the winter, but wait! There is one more task you need to take care of within the next two weeks, before you put your lawn care chores to bed for the season. It is time to put out your pre-emergent weed killer for winter and early spring weeds.
Now you might be thinking, “What? Why should I worry about spring weeds right now?” Because right now is the best time to prevent big weed infestations and reduce your use of herbicides in the spring. You will get better control and more bang for your buck with pre-emergent weed control products than you will
if you wait until March and April, when weeds are larger, harder to kill and have set a new crop of seeds that will keep you in weeds for years to come.
You know what I’m talking about. Those purple-flowered henbit weeds invade and turn your whole lawn weedy before it has a chance to even green up. Not to mention chickweed, hairy bittercress and a slew of other winter annual weeds that are nearly impossible to kill once you notice them in March. They start germinating much earlier than you notice them!
Some things to remember:
1. READ THE ENTIRE LABEL: When it comes to any pesticide, the label is the law. It provides you with instructions for how to apply the herbicide, what safety equipment you need, what type grasses it is safe on and what weeds it will control.
2. Pre-emergent weed killers are safe on well-established lawns, but you should not use them on newly established grasses or on lawns you plan to reseed or overseed this fall. They will prevent your grass seed from growing just like they do the weed seeds.
3. Pre-emergent weed killers will not kill existing weeds. They work when they are taken up by tiny plants that have just germinated from seed and prevent them from growing to maturity. Your summer annual weeds will be gone as soon as it gets really good and cold (but consider a spring application for summer annual weeds next year).
4. Read and follow ALL label instructions: The label is the law. Oh, did I already say that? Well, that just goes to show how important it is.
Put your pre-emergent herbicide application out between now and Oct. 1 for best results. You can learn about other lawn management chores that you can mark on your calendar at the University of Georgia Turfgrass Website’s publication: Turfgrass Management Calendar for Georgia. Timing is everything and the time for weed control is now!
For more information on lawn and gardening topics, contact Paulding County UGA Cooperative Extension at 770-443-7616 or look for us online at www.ugaextension.com/paulding.