Treat weeds before they happenThe best way to save your garden from being overrun by weeds is to take care of them before they even have a chance to take root. Preemergent herbicides are one way to do this. As the name suggests, these remedies are meant to treat weeds that have not yet emerged from the soil. For those wondering, both commercial and natural varieties — like corn gluten — are available.If you’re buying commercial, which herbicide you should purchase depends largely on what type of weed appears most frequently in your lawn. You’ll want to be sure to read labels carefully throughout the entire process. Each preemergent must be mixed to the manufacturer’s instructions, then distributed at a specific rate throughout your target area. All preemergents are activated by water, so make sure to give the area a good soak after you’ve finished the application.
Know what type of weed you’re facingBelieve it or not, not all weeds are created equal. There are actually three distinct subtypes of weeds and each has its own ideal prevention strategy. The types are as follows:
- Grassy weeds: These weeds may look similar to the grass on your lawn. In fact, they’re even considered grasses. Examples include crabgrass, goosegrass and barnyard grass. The way to attack these weeds is to keep your grass longer and to water it deeply. Longer grass shades the soil, helping to prevent the weed seeds from germinating, while longer, infrequent waterings help encourage strong root growth for your grass.
- Sedge weeds: Sedge weeds look a lot like grassy weeds, but they have unjointed stems and are most often found in marshes and bogs. It’s important to note the difference because herbicides geared towards grassy weeds will not work on these varieties. Some common types of sedge weeds are yellow and purple nutsedge, wild onion or garlic and Star of Bethlehem.
- Broadleaf weeds: Broadleaf weeds are the most common weed variety found in gardens. Their leaves are wide and flat with net-like veins. This type of weed includes dandelions, ground ivy, white clover and violets.