DIY Fall Weed Control

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Did you know that the fall months are an ideal time for controlling a weed problem in your lawn? As the weather cools and nature prepares for winter, your actions actually set the stage for the health of your lawn during future seasons, and gaining control is far easier than you may think. This article will discuss steps homeowners should take in the fall to rid their lawn of weeds and pests in this beautiful autumn season.

Weed Behavior

A side profile of weeds growing.

If you’re anything like me, you don’t spend a whole lot of time staring at the ground, inspecting your lawn. It’s there and I mow it, but I never stopped to consider the diversity of life contained in my own front yard, including numerous species of weeds. But did you know many of these plants actually germinate in the fall? Perennial weeds including annual bluegrass, chickweed, henbit, and clover weed grow root systems during cool weather. According to experts, the time of growth is what makes fall an ideal time to begin eliminating such plant species from your landscape.

Plants grow through the process of photosynthesis. Essentially, leaves above ground absorb sunlight and convert it internally to food reserves to be used in less ideal environmental conditions. By dropping man-made products onto the lawn during this period, you can interrupt growth and eventually kill the plant.

What Works in Fall?

A spray bottle and a dandelion.

Experts agree the best way to combat a terrible weed problem is to use a product that can be absorbed in any stage of the plant's growth. Some weed killers are packaged as a one-two punch combining pre and post-emergent herbicide, meaning the plant's growth cycles can be infiltrated both before and after it has grown enough to be recognized as a plant.

With pre-emergent herbicide, the whole yard is essentially treated. Labels often suggest “watering in” product as an attachment to the end of a hose for easy application and to let the chemicals soak in. This is said to stop new weeds from growing to fruition in the first place.

Post-emergent herbicide is basically as it sounds. It features chemicals that are most commonly purchased in liquid forms, used to infiltrate the germination process of fully-grown yard weeds. Understandably, this process takes time to work and requires multiple applications, but to the serious lawn lover the work is worth the reward.

Though this process is said to work well in combination, it's not the most friendly for the environment, or for pets or homeowners. There are a number of more natural recipes and techniques shown to be effective against the germination process of weeds that work and can meet physical lawn changes and ethical standards. An example of this includes the very popular vinegar salt solution: mix 1 gallon of white vinegar, 1 cup of table salt, and one tablespoon of dish soap; spray directly on weeds.

Additional Tips

Did you know that the length of your grass can greatly impact the health of your lawn and the amount of weed growth? Research shows that in fall, we are able to mow more frequently than in the heat of summer, since the grass doesn't need the height to protect it from the heat of the sun.

Not all fertilizers are created equally. Many lawn care lovers purchase expensive pre-season and post-season fertilizer, which commonly gets applied when the weather turns cold. Experts now say such products are less effective on unwanted weeds than once thought. In comparison to sprays and natural DIY alternatives, money can be better allocated elsewhere.