Lawn Weeds On Your Green

* Identify your lawn weeds,
* Know how they grow and how to remove them,
* Make a weed free organic lawn.
A neatly manicured fine lawn is both a status symbol and a reassuring aspect to home owners. But weeds are an unsightly spoiler. This page identifies types of weed found on greens and suggests ways to prevent and eradicate them in an organic garden.

The weed problem on greens ranges from moss, to the wrong grass species in fine lawns, to broad leaved lawn weeds. Let's look at a few examples...

Moss Lawn Weeds

I've seen whole lawns taken over by moss. But the problem is usually not too difficult to solve. Take steps to grow strong healthy grass - this is important for eradicating mosses. It's also important not to cut your lawn too short.

A study in Sheffield found that one moss proliferated after using a Flymow. Nicknamed Flymow Moss, Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus (pictured just here) has tough springy stems. Flymows push it beneath the blades so it always gets missed when the grass gets cut.
FlyMow Moss with Grass Weed & Broad Leaved Weed

Many a lawn is moss ridden because of poor drainage. Start by aerating the lawn with spikes. Give special treatment to compacted areas, any place that water stands for long after rain. Go beyond spiking to extract cores.

Scarifying the lawn may also be necessary to drag out and cut through dead leaves and stems. Otherwise these may consolidate to seal the surface and reduce drainage. You may find this job is hard work with a spring tined rake but you'll find rakes and specialised lawn scarifiers here.

Then use lawn sand with no added weed killer. This is actually iron sulphate and it will green up and strengthen your lawn and kill the mosses. But you should only apply to a pre-watered lawn. Herbicide free lawn sand is a traditional lawn treatment. I consider it to be acceptable for my organic garden if need be. But most of my lawns are well-drained and are now being converted to flowering lawns.

Grass Lawn Weeds

Course tussocky grasses somtimes get mixed in to spoil the appearance of lawns. They are outstandingly bad in fine lawns. Hormone based selective weed killers can't deal with these grass weeds.

Because their broader leaves shade out the fine lawn grasses, a gaping bare patch is left when the lawn is cut. The grass weed may then grow flat and the fine lawn texture is lost. These weeds often stand out as a lighter green.

Some grass weeds like Crab Grass spread by seeds, others such as Quack Grass or Couch also spread by runners. This latter habit allows them to invade the whole lawn and potentially take over. See below - how to eradicate lawn weeds.

Broad Leaved Lawn Weeds

These include weedy perennials such Plantains, Dandelions, Docks, Ragwort... plus flowering lawn plants such as Self-Heal, Daisies, Thyme, Ajuga, Clover, Veronica...

The latter are surely tolerable in an organic garden where they add color and attract pollinating insects. They will remain flat when mowed. Although they shade out your grass, these species are quite pretty and you may like them. And spreading Thyme species can grow innocuously in your lawn without shading it out.

However they are not tolerable on a bowling, putting or tennis greens. But as they have shallow roots it is possible to physically remove them whole so they won't grow back. Weed extractors.

More challenging lawn weeds are on the first list above. They include tap rooted weeds such as Dandelions. Removing these involves cutting straight down around the tap root. You should try to get the whole weed out first time. More likely the root will be cut, then grow back with several shoots. So make the cut deep down.

But if you cut the new shoots off with a blade every time you mow, they eventually give in. The trick is to get them early so their storage tap root is not re-supplied. You may find the lawn weed extractors available here to be useful.
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How To Eradicate Lawn Weeds

All lawn weeds can be reduced by growing a strong healthy lawn from the outset. Bare open patches, that have been cut too short or areas of die back after droughts allow weed seeds in. Even dead leaves left on the lawn leave patches of yellow, bare and weakened grass.

So you need to take all the steps to grow strong grass. Organic feeding and drainage are vital to maintain a healthy lawn. Use organic fertilizers such as Corn Gluten or Bone Meal on existing lawns. These strengthen the grass and Corn Gluten inhibits weed seed germination. Use it to revitalise a flagging lawn.

Unlike most broad leaved plants the grass can tolerate cutting. So grass has the advantage when regularly mown. Although some broad leaved plants adapt to a flattened growth habit most of these can easily be extracted by hand.

Regular grass cutting is essential to keep these lawn weeds in check and this should lead to the demise of weeds in your lawn. In fact you'll be surprised how the look and composition of your grass will change before your eyes if you work at it.

Get Help For Controlling Lawn Weeds Here

Click to Find Lawn Weed Control in Your Country.

I might have added mushrooms and toadstools to the list of lawn weeds. But actually I'm trying to grow these in some areas of my organic garden. Flowering lawns are another pretty organic alternative to fine lawns. You'll find more about flowering lawns here.

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By Michael E. J. Scott.
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