Weeds can be the bane of many homeowner's lives, but not everyone wants to spray down a lawn with herbicides. You may have children or pets, or you could simply be worried about the effects of herbicides on native bees and other wildlife. Whatever the case, you have choices when it comes to keeping weeds out of your lawn. The following are a few non-herbicide tactics to overcome the weeds.
Foster Lush Grass
The thicker and lusher your grass, the less likely that weeds will take over. To this end, avoid mowing your lawn too low. Maintaining a grass height between 2.5 and 4 inches helps shade out weed seedlings and prevents damage to the grass.
If you develop bare patches, over-seed the area so that grass -- not weeds -- repopulates the spot. Another culprit of poor grass growth is compacted soil. Aerating once a year prevents this and also encourages lush grass growth.
Finally, if you do spot a weed, pull it by the roots before it has a chance to flower. This can stop a problem before it has a chance to get started.
Water to Avoid Stress
Many weeds thrive in marginal conditions, which means they take over when your lawn grass is stressed. The most common source of lawn stress is water issues.
As a general rule, you should only water once or twice a week, but the watering should be sufficient to thoroughly moisten the top 6 inches of soil. This encourages grass to send out deep roots suitable for surviving and thriving in some drought stress. In hot or exceptionally dry climates, you may need to water two to three times weekly.
Maintain a Clean Edge
Some weeds spread into the lawn from nearby flower beds or a neighbor's lawn. While you can't do much about windblown weed seeds, you can prevent weed invasion by roots.
Maintaining a clean edge is the key. Use an edging material, such as vinyl edging strips, to create a barrier between the lawn and other landscape areas.
Use a mechanical edger around the perimeter of your lawn to create a small trench between sidewalks and the grass. This trench doesn't just give your lawn a clean, attractive boundary, it helps prevent weeds dragged in on shoes or bike wheels from making their way from the sidewalk to your lawn.
For more help in maintaining a weed-free lawn as naturally as possible, contact a local lawn care service.