In the Southern region of the United States, we see vegetation growth year round. Even though the winter months mean dormant, brown lawns, just waiting to grow and be manicured back to their lush green beauty, it means the opposite for the weeds in your lawn. While your lawn equipment may be enjoying lazier days during the winter, weeds may be taking advantage of this and could cause issues for your lawn later in the year, especially after the spring season hits full swing, and vegetation is growing fast.
Dormant brown lawns will not compete with the weeds, and therefore, the weeds have unhampered access to water and sunlight. The soil in your yard remains moist and due to the cooler weather, the soil also remains cool as well. This also means less evaporation of moisture, creating efficient growing conditions for weeds. Winter weather that brings higher than average precipitation promotes growth spurts for common low-lying weeds.
- 1Winter weed patches just keep growing
Winter weed patches, if ignored, will increase in size each year, and annual weed growth will remain in the same areas as previous years, as the seeds that different types of weeds produce will take root where they fell. The largest majority of weeds react to warming trends, boosting reproduction as opposed to increasing in size. Temperatures in the upper 60’s to lower 70’s will stimulate seed production, but the weeds may remain smaller in size.
There are few varieties of weeds that can be sufficiently stopped by pulling the weed plant and roots out. Some species of weed will respond to this, but will require repeated weeding each year. This is because some seeds most likely will have spread, meaning it may take a few years to see the weeds disappear completely. Keep in mind that even the most diligent weeding will not produce perfect results.
- 2Your lawn mower can help tame weeds
Another option to removing weeds and the seeds they produce, is to use a lawn mower to remove winter weeds and their seeds from your lawn. You will want set your lawn mower to its lowest recommended cutting height for your type of grass, and mow weedy patches, making sure to use your grass bag to collect and properly dispose of the clippings. Honda lawn mowers are perfect for this type of mowing chore.
Honda’s Microcut, twin blade design will chops weeds and grass clippings and efficiently, which means less chance of rouge weeds and their seeds will be collected in the grass bag, and not dropped back onto the lawn. Other mower brands such as Toro lawn mowers, also have mulching and bagging capability.
This technique works great for tall, standing weeds, but not so well for low lying or turf level creep weeds. These types of weeds will require a more aggressive and more direct approach, which could mean the use of herbicides to control active low lying weeds.
- 3Get to know the types of weeds in your lawn
It is a good idea for you to inspect your lawn and ‘get to know’ the types of weeds that grow in your lawn. Identifying and understanding the growth patterns of the weed varieties you want to rid your lawn of. A great place to start is the weed type identification resource, provided by the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA). You can find this information at http://wssa.net/weed/weed-identification.
It is always good policy to make safety the top priority when working in your yard, especially if you are using lawn mowers, trimmers, and other outdoor power equipment. Make sure that you remove winter debris such as twigs, branches and even rocks from the area in and around weed patches you plan to mow. These items can become projectiles sent flying by your lawn mower, and pose a the risk of injury and damage to nearby people, pets, vehicles and property.