Turf Talk: Weed Control

Posted by on 25 May 2017 | 0 Comments

 Plant identification is an important part of lawn and landscape care.  Identification of a species allows us to understand the individual characteristics of a plant in order to make the proper decision of keeping or discarding.  Dandelions and white clover are well respected by the beehive owners in the Omaha and Council Bluffs areas but only a phone call away are a number of lawn care providers that could provide control of those broadleaf weeds.  This is where many opinions can come up against each other.  Some believe a weed is any broadleaf plant growing in the lawn.  On the other side of the opinion are ones who believe there is nothing wrong with a few dandelions or white clover here and there. 

Another point of view is that a weed is something that simply does not belong.  For example, when a wider bladed fescue is randomly growing in patches among a bluegrass and ryegrass lawn, many people would consider this wider bladed fescue a weed because it looks different or out of place.  However, when an entire lawn is established with a wider bladed fescue, the lawn looks consistent with nothing standing out.  In some terrains, landowners will take whatever they can get for foliage because the hills are so steep that erosion can be troublesome.  In another example is a single variety of daisy that dots a hillside of turf grass that flowers around Memorial Day and goes dormant soon after.  The homeowner knows not to use broadleaf weed control in the spring because it may damage the desired emerging flowers and will tolerate any dandelions until the wildflowers have gone dormant. 

In one of my favorite little cemeteries in the area are a number of low growing spring flowering bulbs growing around the headstones.  This particular group of volunteers who mow this cemetery value these low growing spring flowering bulbs more than the grass therefore they too show a few reservations about broadleaf weed control and will tolerate weeds like dandelions and white clover.  One way these care takers of this cemetery battle the dandelions and white clover is by mowing high.  By mowing high and not cutting off the desired low growing spring flowering bulbs, they are also creating a thicker lawn and a more difficult time for the broadleaf weeds to become established.  

Broadleaf weed control can be a good thing.  Knowing the proper timing and calibration of active ingredients should be at the top of the priority list for applicators but so should knowing when not to use broadleaf weed control at all.  A good lawn company will show a few reservations from time to time when applying broadleaf weed spray and proper identification of plant species will give accurate results.