lawn weeds

How to Prevent Lawn Weeds in Your Yard

Preventing lawn weeds is a whole lot easier than trying to get rid of them. No one wants to spend hours outside spraying, pulling, and yanking. It’s very possible to get rid of weeds once they’ve already sprouted, but it’s significantly harder. Instead of battling weeds all spring and summer, try preventing them before they even begin. Your lawn will be free of lawn weeds and you’ll rest easy all summer long.

How to Prevent Lawn Weeds

There are a couple of different methods that will prevent lawn weeds from growing in your yard. Choose one method or choose them all! It’s totally up to you, but the more work you put into preventing weeds the less work you’ll have to do pulling weeds. 

Method 1: Let Sleeping Weeds Lie

Weed seeds sleep underground until they receive enough sunlight to germinate. Some weed seeds are deep underground and will continue to sleep because they will never see the light of day. However, deep tilling and hand cultivation will bring weed seeds to the top of the soil and allow them to receive the sunlight they need to be able to germinate. A lot of people are either for or against rototilling and there are multiple points to each opinion. Rototilling could bring sleeping weed seeds to the surface of the soil and actually cause more weeds the following year. So it’s up to you to decide whether the benefits of rototilling outweigh the risk of perhaps creating more weeds. 

lawn weeds

Method 2: Mulch Like Crazy

Mulch is another great way to starve weed seeds of needed sunlight. There are two kinds of mulch; synthetic and organic. Synthetic mulch is often made up of plastic. It will prevent weed seeds from getting sunlight but it will take years to decompose and won’t improve soil structure at all. Organic mulch decomposes more easily and improves the quality of your soil, all while suffocating weed seeds. 

Organic Mulch Tips

It’s great to make your own mulch because then you add a variety of things that you choose. However, here are some helpful tips that you can follow if you’re having trouble getting started. 

How Much Mulch Should I Use?

Spread mulch 2-4 inches deep so that sunlight cannot get through to germinate weeds, and so the mulch will retain moisture longer. 

What Can I Use for Mulch?

Some people like to use straw in their mulch and that’s great because it adds a lot of nutrients to the soil when it decomposes However, it’s very important that you use straw and not hay. Believe it or not there is a difference. Straw is the stalk of plants, usually wheat, and does not contain any seeds. Hay is green and contains leaves and seeds. People believe that straw and hay are the same, but they’re very different. If you use hay in your yard, the seeds will spread and you’ll have an entirely different problem! You’ll have to take care of a hay problem! Cardboard and newspaper also make great choices for mulch. 

Synthetic Mulch Tips

Look for old wallpaper or carpet at thrift stores or yard sales. These are cheap sun blockers that won’t allow weed seeds to germinate. This can be laid anywhere you don’t want weeds to grow! It works like a charm. 

Mulch Drawbacks

The problem is that you can’t put a big sheet of synthetic mulch, or a thick layer of organic mulch, over your lawn to prevent lawn weeds because then your grass won’t grow either! So, the best way to use it is to put synthetic or organic mulch around edges or small areas, like around trees or in flowerbeds. Mulch isn’t frequently used right on a lawn. But it is used frequently to aid lawns in looking better by creating a weed barrier around lawns.

lawn weeds

Method 3: Attack the Weeds with Chemicals

Tons of chemical weed products will prevent weed seeds from germinating at all rather than simply killing existing weeds. However, you have to be really careful when using chemicals at all. Some weed killers might kill the very plant that you’re trying to rid the weeds of. You have to make sure you know what you’re doing before you just go and start spraying. Do your research and talk to professionals at garden stores to ensure that you won’t do any damage to existing plants or grass. It’s hard to say when you should apply pre-emergent (fancy word for before weeds grow) weed killer. It needs to be applied before weeds germinate and since that happens underground, it’s hard to figure out. The best way is to just pay attention to when the weeds sprout and put down weed killer a little before that time the following year.

Method 4: Take Care of Your Lawn

Yes, this is an actual weed prevention method. The healthier your lawn is, the less likely lawn weeds are to grow. This means you’ll need to mow, fertilize, and reseed bald spots. Empty space only means there’s more room for lawn weeds because they can work their way into small spots. A lawn full of healthy grass will have no room for weeds, and weeds will not grow because there is nowhere for it to grow! Use mulch or compost in areas where you don’t want weeds. This will help keep the spread of seeds under control as well.

What If I already Have Weeds?

This takes a different approach. The most effective way is to use weed killers. Again, you’ll need to be careful because you don’t want to damage or kill existing plants. The type of weed killer you should use depends on the type of weed you have. Broadleaf weeds and grass weeds will have different killers. Of course, you can always just roll up your sleeves and get to pulling, but that can take a long time and be a lot of hard work. There are some natural weed killers that you can use if you don’t want to use harsh chemicals. But the easiest way is to simply prevent weeds so you don’t need to get rid of them later.

Summing Up

Lawn weed prevention will help you have a more enjoyable spring and summer because you won’t be battling the weeds. Put in a little more work to prevent weeds and you won’t regret it. You’ll no longer need to pull, yank, and kill when you’re trying to focus on growing plants. Follow these tips and you’ll successfully prevent lawn weeds in your yard. It’s probably a lot easier than you think so get to work and you’ll have a weed free lawn!

Denali Gillen

I am a farmer’s wife living a farmer’s life. I love having wide open spaces and plenty of space to raise a family. Making the most out of outdoor spaces is something I never get tired of!

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