The war on weeds doesn’t end when summer does. You may think you’ve seen the last of these pesky plants when fall rolls around. But even when you can’t see them, winter annual weeds are working hard underground to take over your turf come spring. Fight weeds in fall to prevent future infestations.
Most winter annuals germinate in fall, survive through the winter, and mature by spring. They set seed by late spring or early summer and then die off. Because it’s when they are actively growing, fall is the right time to kill them with pre-emergent herbicides and before they set seed.
The Most Common Winter Annual Weeds
Proper identification is the first step to fight weeds. Here are four common winter annual weeds and what they look like.
Henbit. Often confused with purple deadnettle, henbit is a member of the mint family. It features squared off stems with small pink or purple flowers that bloom in early spring.
Purple Deadnettle. Although it looks like henbit, purple deadnettle differs in that it has fuzzy stems and triangular-shaped leaves. Gaps between sets of leaves on henbit expose the stem, while purple deadnettle leaves overlap and mostly cover the stem.
Common chickweed. A low, creeping plant, common chickweed’s light green leaves are oval-shaped with pointed tips. Blooming from early spring through fall, the small white flowers each have five notched petals.
Annual bluegrass. This common weed is well-known for its clumping grass-like appearance that sticks out like a sore thumb in an otherwise neat lawn. It germinates aggressively during winter, while its overabundant supply of seeds sprout in spring.
How to Fight Weeds in Fall
The best way to fight weeds is to maintain a lush lawn. Weeds can’t compete with thick healthy grass. These invasive plants thrive in thinning areas of your lawn, bare spots, and unhealthy grass. When you fertilize, mow, water, and aerate regularly you create a strong environment where weeds won’t survive. Fall is also a good time to overseed your lawn and fill in weaker areas.
Winter annuals usually have shallow root systems, which makes them good candidates for pulling out by hand. But this is only doable if weeds are few and far between. Make sure to get the entire plant, roots and all, or it grows right back.
For larger infestations, use a pre-emergent herbicide. First, correctly identifying the winter annual in order to choose the right product. Products list the weeds targeted on the labels.
We’ll Be Your Warriors Against Weeds
In order to successfully fight weeds, keep your turf in top shape with a year-round maintenance plan. We can help. Call Free Spray Lawn Care today at 419-529-5296. We offer a unique program to fight weeds and help you achieve a healthy, lush lawn.