Although many homeowners dream of achieving a weed-free yard, eradicating pesky dandelions and crabgrass is sometimes easier said than done. No matter how green-thumbed you are, you’ll need to take the necessary precautions to keep the weeds at bay.
Invest in high-quality grass seed
When buying grass seed, your inner optimist might assume you’re walking away with 100% pure grass seed. In practice, a grass seed’s content label may deceive the beginner gardener and contain a slew of unwelcome ingredients not printed on the tin.
That said, carefully scrutinizing the ingredients on a bag of grass seed is a must. Unfortunately, many backyard gardeners fail to read the fine print. Consequently, they overlook that the average pack of grass seed also includes:
- Weed seeds
- Inert matter
- Sprouting matter
- Empty seeds
While none of these ingredients are grass seed and can leave a yard care enthusiast scratching their head when visions of vibrant grass don’t come to fruition, the item that should be a major point of concern is weed seeds. Unlike sprouting matter, weed seeds will have you breaking your back over the weekend to achieve a weed-free yard. And while most mixes include approximately 1% weed seed, that’s a surprisingly significant number if you want your yard to be the envy of your neighbors.
Before making a trip to your local home improvement store, remember that the higher quality your grass seed is, the lower the percentage of weed seed. With less yardwork on your honey-do list, you’ll be one step closer to a weed-free yard. With this in mind, only spend your hard-earned cash on quality grass seed from providers like this.
Dethatching is the process of removing debris from between blades of grass. This step is essential if your lawnmower doesn’t have a place to catch the summertime cuttings.
Grass that isn’t dethatched is more susceptible to weeds. To do the job thoroughly, use a dethatching rake or other high-caliber equipment. Additionally, be sure you clear away the dethatched matter once you’ve gathered it up. There’s no sense dumping weeds at one end of the garden if you have your sights set on a 100% weed-free front yard.
Cut the grass, but not too short
Unbeknownst to most weekly mowers, cutting your grass too short can sabotage your goals of achieving a weed-free yard.
Short grass can’t resist weeds as effectively as grass that’s grown a little. That’s because longer grass is naturally more robust and denser. It can grow close and thick and prevent weeds from taking root.
Use a herbicide
While you’re mowing your lawn, consider incorporating a herbicide to help achieve a weed-free yard.
To do so, have a bottle of herbicide on hand and spray as you mow. Alternatively, apply a preventative herbicide to your mower around the time you take your second cut of the season. That should stop most weeds before they’ve had a chance to take root.
If it doesn’t, you can always keep integrating herbicide into your routine mowing. Just ensure that your herbicide of choice is safe for children or animals.
Apply mulch deeply
Before lugging home bags of mulch, remember that mulch won’t be your one-way ticket to a weed-free yard. However, if you apply it deeply and thoroughly enough, you can drastically reduce the number of weeds you battle.
Take note that becoming a mulch monger won’t stop hardy weeds like dandelions from showing up anyway.
Remove existing weeds
To achieve a weed-free yard, you have to start by uprooting existing weeds. Otherwise, they turn up like the proverbial bad penny.
For the best results, be prepared to get down on your hands and knees and start digging up weeds with a trowel.
To do a thorough job, you’ll also need:
- Garden knife
- Rotary tiller
Using these tools in combination will help ensure you get the roots as well as the weeds. That’s important if your aim is to stop those weeds coming back every year.
The Bottom Line
Achieving a weed-free yard can feel nearly impossible on a hot summer day. Rest assured that the little things can make a world of difference. By focusing on the quality of the grass seed and how short you cut the grass, a dramatic before-and-after, worthy of a feature in Good Housekeeping, is well within reach.
Above all else, get down on your hands and knees and uproot the most persistent offenders. Weeds might be dauntless, but even they aren’t undefeatable.