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Extension > Garden > SULIS > Maintenance > Sustainable Lawncare Information Series > Weed Management

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Weed Management

Table of Contents

Too often, the term "sustainable lawn" has been associated with lawns allowed to become neighborhood weed patches. While lawns maintained on very low inputs may have some weedy plants in them, having well adapted grass species and varieties will help keep significant weed infestation to a minimum. It's also important to remember that a few weeds in a lawn are not an impending threat to lawn health and function (Fig. 10.1). Monitoring the situation and adjusting cultural practices to sustain plant health is an appropriate and effective course of action when attempting to manage or control weeds with reduced or no herbicide inputs.


Figure 10.1. A low number of weeds in a lawn may be managed using cultural practices.

It is important to determine the reasons behind increased weed encroachment into the lawn before reaching for an herbicide to kill the weeds. Killing the weeds without correcting any underlying problems only invites continued and often increased weed invasion. Sustainable lawn care practices revolve around good cultural practices that promote plant health. This helps create a vigorous lawn able to prevent any serious weed problems from becoming established.

In addition to having a working knowledge about sustainable lawn care practices and how they relate to weed management, it is good to know something about the weeds that may potentially invade a lawn. This becomes important when determining whether or not control measures are needed and when they need to be carried out. It is also important in determining the most appropriate herbicide product to use, should one be needed. Following is general information about the growth and habits of potential lawn weeds.

One of the first steps in any weed management effort is to identify the weeds present. This section on weed management contains general information about identifying weeds as well as a brief discussion of plant growth and habits of potential lawn weeds. This will be helpful in determining an appropriate weed management strategy. A more in-depth weed identification tool can be found at Is this plant a weed? (Fig. 10.2).


Figure 10.2. Screen capture of Is this plant a weed?

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