If you look for a green ‘envy-of-the-neighborhood-lawn’ for spring and want to keep your yard at its peak do not idle away your time during fall. At AATB, we always say that if summer is busy, fall is busier for us. And we bring out our best technique for fall weed control, because weeds do not die overnight. The process is gradual, so as a homeowner in Iowa try to follow these 5 tips to eliminate weeds from the inside out.
1. Know your weeds:
Before using the fall lawn weed killer, you must know about the weeds that are common in and around Iowa.
Creeping Charlie/Ground Ivy:
Even if it is considered as a weed, it has a pretty flower which makes it really nice to look at. As you mow this weed, it gives away a pleasant aroma. Do not be fooled by its pretty picture and pleasant aroma, as creeping Charlie is one of the notorious kinds. Not particularly a fall weed, this can appear throughout the year, but it is always easy to control it during autumn. After herbicide applications, you may notice some discoloration, but with the onset of spring, a huge percentage of it will be gone.
Commonly found in fields, lawns and in areas that are frequented by humans, broadleaf is best identified by its egg-shaped, dark green leaves. Notable features include clearly defined veins with wavy margins. Aeration followed by soil compaction creates less favorable conditions for broadleaf growth. You need to maintain a dense turf population which will shade the soil and stops its colonization.
Known as one of the perennial weeds, crabgrass is known for its aggressive growth. Spring is the best time to control its growth because the weed is the most vulnerable during this time. But apply fall crabgrass killer in fall so that you can restrict its germination process and extensive growth.
2. Lawns cannot be weed-free with a single application
A good way to tackle fall weed control is to call in the experts who are used to fall lawn restoration. At AATB, we always maintain that it’s not possible to kill weeds with a single application. It is a year-long process and an effective lawn care program should be modified to lawn requirements on an annual or seasonal basis.
As a homeowner, you must understand that no silver bullet or organic weed killer will eliminate all weeds at one go. Weeds have different life cycles and varied ways of reproduction. There may be seeds that can go dormant for years, survive fire, herbicide applications, drought before germinating.
Even when a property is free of weeds, you might have a few renegade ones left for next spring. The good news is that they will be fewer in number. You can ‘finish them off’ if they start to grow, only if you have successfully weakened their germination process during fall. A beautiful weed-free lawn takes time, so stick to a year-long schedule to get rid of the weeds.
3. Why applying fall pre-emergents are a must?
A common misconception among homeowners is that lawns remain dormant during winters. But it is far from true. As part of turf lawn care, we prescribe the application of fall pre-emergents to get rid of weeds that germinate during winter.
Pre-emergents are common herbicides which are applied before weeds grow and prevent them from sprouting. These herbicides need to be applied before seeds germinate. If winter weeds have already sprouted, it is best to use post-emergents. Pre-emergents come in both granular and liquid forms. While the former can be applied via granular spreader, the liquid version is best applied with a sprayer.
As part of lawn care services, we choose the months between August and November to apply fall pre-emergent herbicides. During this time, the soil temperature is below 70 degrees and continues to drop, and is ideal for fall pre-emergents.
Choosing the best pre-emergent for your turf can be tricky. At AATB, we assess your turf thoroughly to know about weeds that you have combated in the past and the kind of turf grass the yard has. Remember, a pre-emergent herbicide effective on St. Augustine grass can destroy zoysia grass. You need to choose the herbicide which is compatible with your lawn grass.
4. Best time to apply herbicide on Iowa lawns
In Iowa, fall is the best time to apply broadleaf herbicides as perennial broadleaf weeds transport food from foliage to their roots to prepare for winter. They will carry the herbicides in the same process resulting in the destruction of weeds. In a typical Iowa weather, fall applications are most effective than spring applications.
A single application of herbicide will kill less harmful weeds. For the more stubborn ones like violets, you need two or more applications. For optimum absorption, you need to apply the herbicides when there is no forecast of rain for 24 hours. We suggest that you wait for another 4-5 days before mowing the lawn. The turf absorbs the herbicides and transfers it to the roots during this interim period.
5. Treat the weeds, but do not kill the seeds
Broadleaf control and new grass should be approached with care and caution. The timing of herbicide application for broadleaf weeds should be calculated properly. As part of our lawn care program in quad cities, we recommend a waiting period between application and germination. If there is overseeding during September, one must be doubly cautious in the summer months.
Cool conditions during fall can slow the growth of young grass. In such a scenario, one should wait till spring for controlling the weeds. In Iowa, however, fall and winter months are enough for growth of grass. Remember, every turf is different. Fertilization time will be different from the time of weed-killing for most turfs. A better lawn strategy is to segregate the time of herbicide and fertilization for optimum results.
Fall is upon us. It is time to contact AATB professionals, your own lawn care experts in Iowa who will help you with a proper fall lawn care schedule.