Winter Weed Prevention Tips

winter weed prevention tips

Winter is coming! The rest of the country is looking forward to snowmen, snow angels, a white Christmas, and a nice blanket of snow. Sadly, Texans know winter for southern states looks a little different.

A blanket of snow seems like a nice idea, but sadly it is not manageable down here in the slightest. The southern states settle for slightly cooler temperatures, dormant grass, and a lot of holiday cheer. 

No matter what time of year it is, no one wants a lawn full of weeds. Texas lawns may be dormant, but the weeds are just as active. The northern states are lucky, they have a nice, thick blanket of snow to cover up those undesirable weeds; where Texans are stuck with looking at the weeds or getting rid of them.

In many cases, the winter weeds take away from the beauty of the lawn and will often overtake the desired grasses leaving your lawn looking barren or patchy during the summer. Winter weeds are often difficult to control, the best course of action is to prevent them in the first place. 

Here are the best ways to prevent winter weeds!

Fertilization

The first step to weed prevention should always be Lawn Fertilization. Fertilization aims to deliver the nutrients your lawn needs to grow and thrive.

Those nutrients will be absorbed and strengthen your turf’s natural defense against invasive weeds. Fertilization is basically the first layer of defense. It delivers nutrients to the soil to be readily absorbed by the grass.

In times of stress, the roots of the grass will be searching for the nutrients it needs to survive.

When there is a lack, the grass will begin to decline, giving way for weeds to encroach. Fortifying your lawn through fertilizer is truly one of the best things you can do for your lawn and to prevent weeds.

Mow Heights

There is a common lawn care misconception that in the winter a higher mow will allow the grass to better insulate itself and protect itself from the cold and frost of the winter season. While your lawn is in dormancy, growth is going to slow down, but it is still important to maintain a proper canopy height.

Maintaining a proper mow height for your lawn is an important step in creating healthy growth in the coming spring and summer months, but there are many other monthly, annual, and bi-annual practices you can employ to maintain a healthy, thriving lawn.

Did you know: Letting grass grow too high can cause fungus like fall brown patches. If you would like to learn more about maintaining a proper mow height to prevent weeds, you can read more about it here.

Preemergent

The best way to prevent winter weeds is through the use of pre-emergents. While a lot of people struggle to get rid of winter weeds in their lawns, you may be surprised to discover, there is no better way to handle winter weeds than to prevent them in the first place.

Many types of winter weeds typically germinate in the fall and then grow and flower throughout the winter. Although most winter weeds will naturally burn away in the spring heat, the seeds those weeds leave behind will stay dormant until they germinate the following fall.

Applying pre-emergent treatments will help to control both annual and perennial weeds.

Winter Weed Guide

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the winter weeds that can encroach on your lawn. Some may be treated and controlled topically, whereas stronger weeds, like grassy weeds, can only be removed at the detriment to the surrounding turfgrass, if at all.

Here is a shortlist of the most common winter weeds in North Texas.

Henbit

henbit weed

Typically is a sparsely hairy weed with purple flowers and a light green hue. You can typically prevent the seeds from germinating by pulling the weeds before they flower.

Be sure to correctly apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall is correctly applied to create a barrier above the ground.

Annual bluegrass

bluegrass

Bluegrass is an especially tricky weed. The best way to treat this particular winter weed is to ensure you have a healthy lawn with a strong root system to choke it out.

Even still, the surest way to help your lawn fight off bluegrass is by applying fall pre-emergents.

Chickweed

chickweed

Chickweed is easiest identifiable by delicate white flowers and sticky leaves and stems. It germinates in the fall so it is best to use a pre-emergent to prevent weeds at their presence.

If you happen to miss the window for prevention, it is best to hand-pull the weeds in gardens and lawns. Chickweed has shallow root systems, and can also easily be choked out by healthy grass.

Dandelions

dandelion

This yellow winter weed is one the most common weeds across the country. It is fairly easy to eliminate, typically you can just apply a post-emergent herbicide in the fall to penetrate directly to roots.

The primary issue with dandelions is it spreads far and fast! Make sure to be proactive in treating dandelions so they do not take over.

Mulching and Other Practices

Pre-emergents are also extremely effective at preventing weeds in flower beds. It is also important to use mulch in flower beds to prevent weeds from germinating. Mulched areas should have 3-4 inches of canopy. It is important to refresh your mulch yearly.

Look to the Professionals

Preventing weeds can be extremely stressful. As much as we wish there was a magic potion to apply to the lawn that could give the perfect weed-free environment, it just doesn’t exist.

You need to take into account the time of the year, the weather, and the anatomy of the weed. This is one of the many services that we perform as a comprehensive property care service.

When you use a professional lawn care team like Gecko Green, not only do you get expert care, but also 30+ years’ worth of expertise in treating North Texas Lawns! Trust a lawn expert to take care of your lawn and make it the best lawn on the street. Call us today for a free quote!

Call to prevent winter weeds today!