A beautiful lawn is truly a work of art that takes a lot of work to achieve. After all the hours you spent spreading seeds, watering the grass, and cutting it in the dead of summer you deserve a spotless, perfectly lush lawn. Unfortunately, weeds have other plans for your yard.

Are you sick & tired of looking out your front window and seeing pesky dandelions, crabgrass, and other weeds ruining your perfect curb appeal? Do you want an easy way to rid yourself of these nuisances to make your lawn the best it can be?

Here are 16 ways to tackle the weeds both naturally and with a little bit of scientific intervention.

16 Ideas To Try On Weeds

1. Pull Them Out

Rip Them Out by the Stem A little old-fashioned elbow grease! One of the simplest ways to get rid of weeds is to pull them out so they can’t grow.

Simply grab them as close to the root as you can and pull until you have as much of the perpetrator as possible.

gardendiy.co.uk recommends overseeding after pulling up the weeds, this fills in the empty spots and stops the weeds growing back!

2. Cut Their Tops Off

If you really cant get the whole root, then cut you can cut off as much of the accessible plant as possible.

You mainly want to remove the head so that any seeds are removed and cannot be replanted. Do this with any tool that allows you to get as much of the weed as possible, but try not to spread any seeds.

3. Smother Them

Smother Them If a weed is going to be intruding on your lawn or garden, it will need to grow upwards & outwards.

To solve this, you can smother the plant with materials like newspaper or biodegradable cloth so that they can’t poke through the soil and rear their ugly heads.

Is Your Grass Turning Brown? Learn how to revive dormant grass.

4. Block Their Light

Block Their Sunlight Like any other plant, weeds need sunlight to grow. Fortunately, in many gardens or tree beds you can easily cover the area around the plants you want with a material like mulch or straw to block sunlight.

This allows your grass or vegetation to grow without fueling the undesirables.

5. Feed Them Sugar

Pour Some Sugar on Them No, we’re not singing to you. Adding a little sugar to the weed’s roots will lower the nitrogen they have available, causing them to wilt.

More info.

6. Spray Them With Citris Juice

Citris Acids are great at killing plants by stripping protective membranes off of their stems.

Mix lemon juice or other citrus juices with a little water and get spraying! Without the coating, they’ll dry out in the sun in no time.

More info.

7. Make Your Own Weed Killer

A homemade weed killer solution can be made and sprayed on any weeds that pop up.

Mix vinegar, dish soap, and salt together for a solution that strips the membrane on the weed and dries it out so that it dies.

8. Use Cornmeal

Cover Them with Cornmeal If you notice a weed coming in or have a problem area, you can use cornmeal as a preventative to stop the future growth of seeds.

Just scatter it in the area and it’ll stop seeds from sprouting into weeds by limiting available nutrients.

9. Cover Them in Oil

Cover Them in Plant-Based Oils If you want a very eco-friendly method, covering weeds in oil is a natural way to kill weeds without damaging the soil they are in.

The oil will block the weed’s ability to complete photosynthesis and will cause it to die shortly after.

10. Use Boiling Salt Water

Pour Boiling Salt Water Make sure you wear oven mitts! While many plants thrive in direct sunlight, they don’t fare so well when boiling hot water is poured on them!

This option works best for edges of your lawn like the separation from driveway to lawn or dirt bed to lawn.

Simply pour the water onto the weed-filled area and allow the heat and salt to strip the outer membrane and leave them to dry out & die.

11. Pour Vinegar On Them

Drench Them in Vinegar You’ve probably got a jug of white vinegar sitting around for cleaning, so why not put it to work?

You’ll have to be careful because vinegar is notorious for drying out plants, so only spray the vinegar on the weeds to avoid causing damage to your lawn.

12. With Fire!

Kill Them with Fire Probably the most fun option, you can get a “weed torch” that will allow you to singe the weeds just enough to damage & dry them out so they can wither away.

Just hover over the weeds until they begin to wither and then move on. NEVER use this method near dry grass or weeds, as you could start a fire!

13. Use Alcohol

Dry Them Out with Alcohol Plants need water to survive, and alcohol removes water from things (hello, hangover!).

With a mixture of some rubbing alcohol or your favorite vodka and water, you can spray or douse the weeds with your mixture until sufficiently coated and watch them die.

More info.

14. With Baking Soda

Sprinkle Baking Soda in Crevices If your weed problems extend into your sidewalk or driveway, sprinkling baking soda will dry the weeds out thanks to the high sodium content.

Be careful though, as it can kill your grass as well!

15. Use Bleach

Pour Bleach into Infested Cracks What can’t bleach do? The chemicals in bleach can strip away the protective membrane of dandelions, crabgrass, and more that grows in difficult areas.

It’ll kill anything it touches though, so keep it away from anything you want alive (including pets and children!).

16. Use Herbicides

Don’t feel like making your own concoction at home?

Fortunately, there are many herbicides to choose from at your local gardening supply store that you can put on your lawns to kill the weeds.

It is important to choose the right chemical, so be sure to consult an expert.

Some (such as Scotts Weed and Feed) even kill weeds AND feed the good grass you want to keep! Click here to learn more.

Growing a weed-free lawn can be stress-free when you take a few simple preventative steps in early spring before weeds take hold.

To truly kill weeds, you need to dig down to the root. Pulling up weeds with weed tools or by hand can be a big challenge, especially when the weeds seem to be taking over your lawn. In addition, weed roots can break off while you’re pulling them up and lurk underground waiting for the next chance to sprout.

Because of the challenges of weed removal, many lawn lovers turn to herbicides to do the job. Lawn weed killer Roundup for Lawns is a product that kills off weeds but preserves your lawn. After you spray, it doesn’t leave a brown spot; it kills the weeds by reaching their roots. It also helps prevent regrowth, even by the most common and invasive weeds.


  • Keep people and pets away from treated areas until the product completely dries.
  • Be sure to spray when no wind or rain is in the forecast. The product becomes waterproof in about three to four hours.
  • Apply only when temperatures reach between 45 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once you spray for lawn weeds, you may need to treat other areas in your outdoor space, such as gravel areas and the cracks in walkways, driveways and patios. Roundup Max Control 365 eliminates tough weeds in these areas. It also works longer than other weed killers, lasting up to a year, making it a cost-effective option if these are the only areas you are spraying.

For weeds in your garden, you’ll want a targeted product that sticks close to the weed roots and doesn’t harm your flowers, shrubs or edibles. Roundup Ready-To-Use Weed and Grass Killer III with Sure-Shot Wand takes down weeds, preventing them from stealing water and nutrients from your plants. The wand extends and a protective cup positions over the unwanted weeds allowing for precise spraying.

Another application option is Roundup Precision Gel. With this product, you touch the applicator and gel to the leaves, sending the herbicide to the roots. Since there’s no spraying involved at all, you don’t have to worry about accidentally harming other nearby plants. The gel works great in tight spaces and hard-to-reach areas in your garden.

If you need one product that can work in your garden as well as in cracks in walkways, driveways and patios, try the Roundup Ready-To-Use Weed and Grass Killer with Comfort Wand. The ergonomic wand is extendable and lets you spray continuously without tiring your hand.

For extensively weedy areas, consider Roundup Concentrate. It works great when prepping new vegetable gardens as well as for lawn renovation, especially when you just want to start over. Ornamental flowers, trees and shrubs may be planted one day after application. Lawn grasses, vegetables, herbs and fruits may be planted three days after application.

The Oasis Lawn & Tree Care Blog

When it comes to lawn care concerns, weeds are likely high on your list. Weeds popping up throughout the season take away from the overall beauty—and the enjoyment—of your lawn.

While you may have tried to get rid of weeds in the lawn, or maybe even hired a pro to handle it, there are some stubborn ones that just won’t seem to go away. You’re frustrated and you’re looking for a solution that will actually work.

The truth is, there could be a variety of reasons why weeds are sticking around. We’ll explore some of the most common reasons you may be struggling to get rid of weeds in your lawn, and what you can do about it.

1. Some Weeds Cannot Be Controlled Selectively

Weed control can be broken down into two main product categories: selective and non-selective. Selective weed controls, for the most part, will control one group of weeds without harming turfgrass, while non-selective weed control targets all vegetation (and will kill your turfgrass, too).

To protect your turfgrass, you want to choose selective control. For instance, the majority of broadleaf weeds (such as dandelions and clover) can be controlled by broadleaf weed control. There are also different variations of selective grassy weed control depending on what type of grassy weeds (such as crabgrass and nutsedge) you have in your yard.

The trouble is, some types of invasive weeds (like Bermudagrass and K-31 Tall Fescue) cannot be controlled selectively. This could be the reason why putting down certain products has not resulted in getting rid of weeds.

2. You’re Not Using the Best Weed Control Products

There are a lot more nuances involved in weed control than most people realize. To get rid of weeds in the lawn, you must be sure you’re using the right product on the right weed.

If you’re taking a DIY approach to lawn care, chances are, you’re using a granular product or one of the very few options of over-the-counter liquid materials that are available. Neither option is going to be as effective as the products professionals have access to. For liquid weed control options, there are dozens of professional products with different formulations of active ingredients, all of which perform differently. However, only a few of these are available to homeowners.

With a granular product, there are some factors that complicate the process. The lawn has to be wet in order for enough product to stick to your weeds and then it has to remain rain-free for 24 hours in order to work. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of room for error in there. A professional-grade liquid application would be much more effective.

In addition, some more difficult-to-control weeds in our area such as crabgrass, nutsedge, or wild violet require a different approach. Even if you’re using a professional service, it’s possible that they’re not including those targeted applications in their program as it may be something they charge extra to do.

3. You’re Not Treating at the Right Time

If you want to get rid of weeds in your yard, you must be sure to target them at the right time. The truth is different weeds germinate at different times of the year and getting rid of them takes more than one application of control product a season. It must be a year-round, comprehensive approach using several different products.

In Cincinnati, Dayton, OH, and Northern Kentucky, troublesome spring weeds include dandelions and clover, while summer means the emergence of crabgrass, nutsedge, and summer annual broadleaf weeds. In fall, many weed varieties may re-emerge and the cycle of weed growth can start to feel never-ending, particularly with tough-to-control varieties such as wild violets and ground ivy.

It’s important to note that some weeds will require repeated control efforts (not a once-and-done treatment). It’s also important to recognize that weeds are most effectively controlled when they are treated during active growth, as weed control products are more easily translocated throughout the entire plant. This makes it imperative that weed control efforts are occurring at the right time. If you, or the professional service you’ve hired, aren’t switching up products based on season, then you’re probably not going to get rid of weeds in your lawn.

4. Your Soil is Compacted

Good soil health is incredibly important when it comes to growing healthy grass. Healthy soil promotes root growth and development. However, when soil becomes compacted, it puts a great amount of strain on your turf because it doesn’t allow nutrients, oxygen, and water to penetrate the soil.

Conversely, there are a variety of weed species that have adapted to compacted soil conditions. Crabgrass, for instance, is an opportunistic weed that will thrive in compacted soil, quickly filling in bare spots where grass is struggling to grow.

If you can’t seem to get rid of weeds in the lawn, solving your compaction problem may actually help your lawn to become thicker, resulting in less weeds. Fortunately, this is something that aeration can remedy by loosening up the soil and allowing more oxygen, water, and nutrients to penetrate below the surface where grass roots truly need them. Anything you do to promote a healthier lawn could ultimately lead to less weeds in the future.

5. Your Lawn is Too Thin

Having a thinned out lawn not only looks unappealing, it’s also a weed magnet. That’s because weeds thrive in thin and bare spots on your lawn where they don’t have to compete with healthy turf for the sunlight they need to grow.

You can combat this concern by having services performed that promote a healthy thick lawn. For instance, having overseeding performed at the time of aeration will encourage thick, healthy growth that will naturally choke out weeds. On top of that, regular fertilization will help thicken the lawn as well over time.

6. Your Lawn is Not Getting Enough Sunlight

While grass needs approximately 5 to 7 hours of direct sunlight each day to thrive, there are some varieties of weeds that can grow in shady conditions. For instance, ground ivy and wild violets will pop up in shady areas and can quickly take over. If your lawn is not getting enough sunlight, you may need to look into pruning your trees or even removing them to allow more light to get through. This will help your grass to thrive, naturally choking out weeds.

If you want to keep your trees and still have heavily shaded areas, you might consider alternative solutions such as adding some flower beds or mulched areas where you can’t get grass to grow thick and healthy.

7. You’re Not Mowing Properly

You might be surprised to know that your mowing habits can also have an impact on your struggle to get rid of weeds in the lawn. When you mow your grass too short or you scalp the edges along your walkways and driveway, you are creating conditions that may be favorable for weed growth.

As we mentioned, opportunistic weeds like crabgrass and many broadleaf varieties love thinned out areas of your lawn where it’s easy for them to get lots of access to the sun. To prevent this, we recommend mowing to a height of at least 3.5 inches. Doing so will also help your soil retain more moisture for your grass.

8. Your Lawn is Not Getting Enough Water

In order for your grass to grow thick and healthy (and naturally defend itself against weeds) it needs water. But it’s possible your lawn may not be receiving enough.

Your lawn should be getting approximately one to two inches of water each week.

If it’s not raining enough to cover that, be sure to irrigate your lawn in order to keep it thick enough to discourage weeds from growing.

9. You Have a Soil Health Problem

While we mentioned soil health when we talked about compaction, there’s more to it than just compaction. Soil that is naturally healthy is full of beneficial microorganisms (such as beneficial fungi and bacteria) which are necessary for your grass to take advantage of the nutrients found natively in the soil and those provided by fertilizers. When these microorganisms are thriving in your soil, it will also help strengthen your lawn against disease and pests which could thin out your lawn and make it more prone to weeds.

If you are using a lawn care program that doesn’t address soil health (unfortunately even most professional lawn services do not), that could be the reason why you can’t get rid of weeds in your lawn.

A Comprehensive Approach to Get Rid of Weeds in Lawn

To sum it up, there is no single answer on how to get rid of weeds in your lawn. If your only approach to getting rid of the weeds in your lawn is to use the same, inferior products again and again, then you’re only treating the symptoms and not actually making any real progress. It’s like being stuck in an endless game of lawn care whack-a-mole, where you never actually get ahead.

Instead, getting rid of weeds requires a multi-faceted approach that includes good habits such as aeration, overseeding, regular watering, proper mowing, and a lawn care program that promotes good soil health.

The efforts that we’ve talked about will help you produce a healthy lawn that is going to choke weeds out naturally by getting to the real root of the problem instead of just treating symptoms. In time, you may even require less weed control products if your healthy lawn is thick and thriving. Even so, there will always be those difficult-to-control weeds that could crop up making it equally important that a professional is regularly servicing your lawn and keeping an eye out for trouble.

While we know that weeds can be a huge source of frustration, they don’t have to be. By choosing the best program you can get on track to a healthy lawn that will keep the weeds out of your lawn and off your mind.

If you’d like a healthier lawn and want to learn more about the lawn care programs we offer in Cincinnati, Dayton, OH, or Northern Kentucky, request your quote, help us find the right program for you, and then sit back and relax as we transform your lawn.

Plant Growth Regulators forTurf, Landscape and Garden

Introduction: How Plant Growth Regulators Can Improve Plant Quality and Appearance, While Saving Time and Labor

Growth Regulators (PGRs) have been around for a long time and have been an important part of the professional turf and sports industry. Until recently they were not frequently used by homeowners. Their use is now on the rise as people discover the benefits of professional plant growth regulators. Growth regulators do not interfere with plant respiration, photosynthesis, or other internal functions.

There are growth regulators designed for many plant types, including grasses, trees and shrubs, and flowers. (There are even insecticides that are actually bio-friendly insect growth regulators.) With plants, growth regulators are designed to stimulate a specific plant function or mimic a plant hormone that will help, hinder, or change the pattern of plant growth. There are now dozens of products that can perform an increasing array of functions.

With turfgrass growth regulators, the original goal was to slow grass growth, for reducing the amount clippings and frequency of mowing. Reducing labor costs was a powerful motivator for the use and development of PGRs. They are now used along garden and cement edges to slow runner growth and reduce trimming time. They are used to improve grass appearance by preventing seedhead and stalk formations. They are even used for preventing energy depletion that can be used during stress periods. Some that are labeled for grass are also labeled for other landscape plants as well. Uses include trees and shrubs, flowers and vegetables.

How to Use This Page

This page will offer information on the types of plant growth regulators available, as well as, how and when to use them. As you learn how the professionals use them, you will find that you can easily incorporate them into your maintenance schedule. To get the most from PGRs, they need to be timed and applied accurately. Some plant growth regulators, such as Bonzi and others, allow for creative uses for improved affect. Be sure to read and follow the label instructions carefully.

Popular Uses for Plant Growth Regulators Related to Turfgrass

  • For Slowing Grass Growth: Plant Growth Regulators sprayed on the lawn will slow the growth of labeled turf species by up to 50 percent for up to four weeks. This can be important for those who are seeking a reduction in clipping collection or mowing frequency. With over half of the states in the U.S. passing laws against disposing of yard wastes in landfills, PGRs are gaining attention.
  • Improved Grass Health and Stress Relief: Grass growth requires a substantial amount of energy, especially early in the season during the rapid growth phase of cool season varieties. As the grass enters the stresses of summer, energy reserves can be used up faster. Grass energy can be kept in reserve by slowing grass growth at least a month before the peak summer stress period begins. The energy stays in the roots instead of being used for growth, stalk and seed production. As a result, the grass will be able to handle stress and disease pressures better.
  • Reduced Trimming and Edging: A plant growth regulator sprayed round the base of trees, along sidewalks and driveway edges, along planter edges, etc., will slow grass and runner growth. This can be especially helpful for warm season grasses that spread by the production of stolons. Stolons are the above ground runners that readily challenge any boundary or border. Although they will not prevent the production of stolons, they can greatly slow them down. Some plant growth regulators are also labeled for ornamental trees and shrubs for maintaining their shape longer.
  • Annual Bluegrass (poa annua) Management: Annual bluegrass is a grassy weed that will green up before most all other grasses. It grows well in compacted sites and low cut grass, even golf greens. Annual bluegrass may be more of a concern for professional turf managers and golf course superintendents, where it is often a serious turf aesthetic and performance problem. However, more discriminating homeowners may find the control of annual bluegrass beneficial as well. Many of the same Plant growth regulators used for other landscape purposes can be use on annual bluegrass as well. They will prevent the production of seedheads in late fall and curtail the flush of growth in late winter and early spring. Over a period of time, with careful management, annual bluegrass will be greatly reduced or almost eliminated.
  • For Promoting the Growth of One Grass Species Over Another: As example is spraying annual ryegrass that has been overseeded into a bermudagrass lawn. The annual ryegrass should be sprayed a week or more before the bermudagrass is expected to emerge from dormancy. This slows the growth of the ryegrass and allows the bermudagrass to recover will less competition.

    Certaom plant growth regulators have also been used to promote the growth of fescue where bermudagrass was taking over. This is accomplished by using a product that is labeled for bermudagrass, but has no affect on fescue. It may take a few seasons, but studies have shown to reduce the spread of bermuda by as much as 90 percent. In addition, overseeding the fescue each fall and mowing high will shade the bermudagrass considerably and help further weaken the plant. It is also used before plugging or seeding to reduce grass competition and allow extra time for seedlings and plugs to establish.

  • Reduce Mowing in Difficult Areas: Hillsides, right-of-ways, and difficult to mow areas could benefit from plant growth regulators. This is especially necessary with species where grass stalks and unsightly seedheads may be the primary reason for mowing.
  • Methods of Application and Important Tips

    Most turfgrass and other plant growth regulators are formulated for mixture with water and are foliarly absorbed through the leaf surface. Most products are labeled for use with a hand-held or backpack sprayer. Boom sprayers may also be permitted for larger areas. Always check the label for acceptable application methods. Other methods may be listed for licensed professionals. Make sure you have all proper clothing and protective equipment listed on the label before opening the container.

    Tips on Application

    Since plant growth regulators are foliarly absorbed, only the grass that is sprayed will be affected. Any grass that is missed will remain unaffected and will likely produce uneven grass growth. Spray on a calm day to avoid drift unto other plants.

    When spraying, walk in a straight line with the wand to the side. As you spray, try to catch the light glistening off the freshly sprayed grass. If you can see the glistening grass from only one direction, try walking backward on the return trip. You can also use a grass marking dye. These dyes are mixed directly into your spray solution and will indicate where you have sprayed and if you missed any areas.

    The “DO’s” of Using PGRs

  • Read the label carefully to make sure your grass type is listed. Not all weeds will be equally controlled. It may be best to control weedy grass, such as dallas grass, crabgrass or others, before using a PGR.
  • Only spray plant growth regulators on healthy grass. Spraying well ahead of seasonal disease pressure or environmental stress periods is okay and will help reserve energy to overcome problems. Damage occurring after the growth regulator is applied will take longer for the grass to recover.
  • For cool season grasses, the best times for use is in the spring and fall when the grass is growing. They shouldn’t be used indiscriminately, but rather, they should be planned carefully as to how you will gain the most from the product. For some, the least desirable time for PGRs on cool season grasses is in the summer. This is especially true for those who allow their grass to go dormant in hot weather. Uses may vary for those who provide optimum maintenance all season. How you use it will depend largely own how you maintain your grass.
  • Warm season grasses can be sprayed when they are actively growing. Heavier rates are usually required for edges where less trimming is desired. Check to make sure the product you want to use is labeled for your grass type.
  • The “DON’T’s” of Using PGRs

  • Plant growth regulators are not weed control herbicides and will not kill lawn weeds. They may have the same “slowing growth” effect on certain weeds as they do on grasses, but PGRs are not intended to control weeds. Some PGRs can be mixed together with weed control herbicides. Check the label to see if your herbicide is listed. Do not use a herbicide/PGR mixture on trees or plants other than grass.
  • Plant Growth Regulators should not be sprayed on grass that is already showing signs of disease, stress, or damage from insects or other injury. The slower growth will prevent the grass from quickly growing out or recovering from the damage. Where damage is visible, it may be best to delay using the product, while addressing the problem that is causing the damage. After the grass has recovered, then consider if it is a good time to apply a plant growth regulator. This applies to trees and shrubs as well.
  • Do not spray on windy days when the spray can be easily taken off target. This could affect other plants not intended to be sprayed.
  • There could be some grass discoloration with certain products, especially on bermudagrass. This usually occurs when using the heavier rates. The discoloration doesn’t harm the grass and usually lasts a short time. Consult the label for this information. If this is objectionable, avoid using the heavier rates on grasses that are prone to be discolored.
  • Many plant growth regulators should not be used where animals eat the grass directly after application. This includes dogs eating grass. Check the label if there is a delay between application and animal consumption of grass.
  • Ornamental Uses of Plant Growth Regulators

    Fruit Elimination: Fruit elimination is usually performed during the blossoming period. The tree must be sprayed during this period, before the fruit sets. Almost all trees that produce unwanted fruit can be treated. Read the label carefully to see if the product you plan to use lists your trees.

    Florel (Ethephon {(2-chloroethyl) phosphonic acid}is one of the more popular brands and will eliminate fruit on apple, carob, cottonwood, crabapple, elm, flowering pear, horse chestnut, maple, oak, olive, pine, sour orange, sweetgum, and sycamore. By eliminating the blosooms, the fruit will not develop. Sweetgum, however, has a more complicated flowering period and the timing must be more precise to control the “gumballs”. Consulting an arborist may be necessary for precise timing.

    Florel can also be used to accelerate tomato ripening. When timed correctly and sprayed on late season green tomatos, the fruit will ripen faster so it can be harvested before the first frost. Other fruit may be listed as well.

    There are also other fruit elimination products listed at the bottom of this page.

  • Reduction in growth of trees, shrubs, ground covers and ornamentals: Certain PGRs sprayed on trees, trimmed shrubs, and ornamental plants will slow the growth by reducing cell division at growing points. The plants keep their shape and size longer during the affected period. Growth may be most affected in plants with one main growth spurt each year when spray is timed correctly. Multiple applications may be allowed as stated on the label.
  • Do not spray trees and shrubs, etc. that have disease or other damage. The slowed growth will only delay the recovery.

  • Producing a fuller tree, without lateral growth: Dikegulac-Sodium active ingredient (i.e., Atrimmec) temporarily promotes lateral branch elongation within the plant. This will help fill gaps in shrubs and other bushes or trees where a full look is desired without promoting outward growth.
  • Where root damage from home construction, etc. is suspected, the use of canopy growth regulators may help. The reduced canopy growth will force the tree or shrub to redirect the energy toward root growth. This has saved a lot of trees that may have been lost.

  • Elimination of Tree Root Suckers: Root suckers are up-right growing stems that grow along roots and at the base of stumps or trees. Left alone and they will grow to become a congested mess. Others can grow to become unwanted trees. “Sucker Stopper” (Naphthalene acetic acid) is a plant hormone product that promotes the demise of suckers by inhibiting the elongation and growth of tree sprouts. First trim the sprout with a lawn mower and spray the product on the sprouts.

    Sucker Stopper has many uses in the nursery and landscape industry as well. Depending on the amount of the active ingredient, certain Sucker Stopper products are labeled for Christmas tree farms to slow growth and help determine the shape of the tree. Others can be used around pruned limbs to control unsightly sprouts around the cut.

  • Building a Bigger Root System: When the roots of a tree are damaged, a PGR can be applied to slow canopy growth. With canopy grow slowed, the tree will redirect its energy to the roots to help rebuild and extend roots. This is extremely useful when roots are damaged by grading or other reasons.
  • Plant Growth Regulator Products for Turfgrass

    Product Uses, Active Ingredient (in bold print), and Product Trade Names

  • Reduces mowing frequency by growth reduction, build grasshealth and improve turf appearance.
    Mefluidide………………Embark T&O, Embark 2S, Stay-LO
  • Increases turf plant thickness and inhibits growth
    Paclobutrazol……………..TGR, Trimmit, Profile, Turf Enhancer
  • Reduces mowing frequency and enhances turf appearance.
  • Professional product: reduces mowing frequency, plant and stem elongation.
  • In my experience, Embark T&O is one of the safer plant growth regulators for home use. It carries only a caution label and can be used on turf and ornamentals and is made by PBI/Gordon. Check with your local county extension office to see what may be available in your area and if it is legal for use where you live. This is only a partial list. Some products may not be available to homeowners and are used primarily by professional turf managers, growers and nurseries. Not all products that are labeled for home use are legal to use everywhere. State laws and regions within states may differ.

    Ornamental Plant Growth Regulator Products.

    Product Uses, Active Ingredient (in bold print), and Product Trade Names

  • Slows growth and reduces pruning.

    Mefluidide…………………Embark T&O, Embark 2S, Sta-LO

  • Inhibits flowering and inhibits fruiting. Removes mistletoe from coniferous and deciduous trees. Can be sprayed on late seaon tomatoes to hasten maturity.
  • For controlling the height and diameter of trees and shrubs. Promoting uniform flowering.
    Paclobutrazol………………..Bonzi, Trimmit
  • Growth retardant for shrubs, hedges, trees, and groundcover. Can be used on certain trees and shrubs to eliminate flowers and nuisance fruit.
  • These are only examples of PGR products and is not intented to be an exhaustive list. There are many other excellent products not listed. This is not intended to discriminate against any product. This list is not an endorsement of any product. Some products are for commercial use only and not available to homeowners. Read the label completely and carefully before using any turf or ornamental growth regulator. Some states or portions of states may not allow every stated use. Be sure to check to see if your intended use of a product is allowed where you live.

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    The popularity of organic lawn care is increasing. click here for complete and unbiased information on how organics work, types of organics for home use and the different approaches to organic lawn care.
    Organic Top Dressing
    Compost top dressing is a fairly new practice for home lawns. Get helpful advice and step by step directions for the best possible results.
    Plant Growth Regulators to Lawn Care Academy Home

  • How to Get the Best Results from Lawn Weed Killers

    How to Apply Lawn Weed Killer

    Broadleaf plants are often regarded as weeds in lawns and there are weed killers formulated to kill the broadleaf weeds without harm to the lawn grass.

    These include:

    • LawnPro Turfclean
    • LawnPro Turfclean & Green
    • LawnPro All-in-1
    • LawnPro Prickle and Hydrocotyle

    These are some tips on how to get the best results when using such products:


    • The lawn weed killers work best when the weeds are growing actively. This will generally be spring and autumn but will be dependent on where in New Zealand you are and the growing conditions.
    • Apply in low wind conditions (less than 15 km per hour) and when rain is not expected in the next few hours.
    • Apply when the lawn is dry; wet weeds will encourage spray weed killer to run off into the ground where it less effective.
    • Do not apply to lawns under stress in hot weather or drought conditions.
    • Do not apply to young lawns less than 6 months old unless the product gives specific instructions e.g. LawnPro Turfclean can be applied to lawns 2-6 months old at half rate (5 ml/L).


    • Liquid products are best applied using a good garden sprayer or Lawnboy with a moderately coarse setting of the spray nozzles. You should aim for the largest droplet size that will give good coverage of all the weed leaf surface.
    • Mark out the lawn so you can ensure spraying is evenly applied and no areas are missed.
    • The addition of Dye & Stick to spray weed killer helps ensure even coverage, no waste, and no missed patches, plus improving the efficacy of the weed killers.

    How Often

    • Weeds are likely to take 2-3 weeks to die.
    • Most lawn weed killers will specify a period before a further application can be made. If this is not stated on the label wait at least 1 month before re-application or application of another lawn weed killer.


    • If the lawn needs to be mowed before applying lawn weed killers, do it 2-3 days before and raise the mower height so as not to take off the leaves of the weeds you want to get rid of.
    • After application, try not to mow for 2 weeks. If the lawn needs to be mowed before then, raise the mower height a notch or two so that the treated foliage is still being acted on.
      Note: We recommend disposing of the first clippings after spraying, then clippings can be composted, but must be composted for 6 months before use as mulch.

    Whole Lawn or Spot Treatment

    • If the weeds are sparse or limited to certain areas of the lawn it is not necessary to spray the whole lawn; you can spot spray the weeds or only spray the affected areas.
    • Coarse grasses can also be a weed in fine turf lawns. The broadleaf weed killers will have little effect on these and spot treatment with Weed Weapon Invade Gel is the best option. Apply the gel to the central growing crowns of the coarse grass.

    After Care

    • Help your lawn recover after treatment by applying LawnPro 7-Day-Green or LawnPro Lawn Thickener. Do this after the weeds have died. It is best to wait 4 weeks after using weed killers to sow seed.
    • Some weeds are indicators that the lawn needs some attention; e.g. moss and hydrocotyle grow in acidic soil, often where there is shade and poor drainage. In this case add lime to the soil (as in LawnPro 7-Day-Green) to raise the pH and make the soil less acidic, fork or plug the area to improve drainage and cut back or thin any shading trees or shrubs to allow more light to the area.
    • You should check the thatch (dead grass) layer under the grass that it is not too thick and in need of raking out (scarifying). See here for more information.

    This should help you get the best results from LawnPro lawn weed killers.

    David Brittain

    Annual Grassy WeedsIdentification and Control- Crabgrass and Foxtail Weeds –

    Corn Gluten Meal is sometimes marketed as an organic weed killer for broadleaf and grassy weeds. Although it actually holds little or no weed killing properties it is, however, an effective preemergent. It works by robbing the moisture from developing germinated seeds and seedlings.

    One main difference between chemical preemergents and corn gluten meal is the amount applied. Corn gluten meal must be applied between 10 to 30 lbs 1000/sq.ft. Generally, 20 lbs/1000 sq. ft. is the average for most lawns. Use more for severe weed problems. It does not require a license to use.

    Timing is important and it must go down near the time that seeds will germinate. After application, irrigate the corn gluten and allow a drying period. This is critical for effectiveness because it must absorb the surface moisture. In wet climates, such as the north western U.S., corn gluten meal may not be as effective. A second application can be made in the fall.

    Keep in mind, with corn being used as fuel for vehicles, corn gluten meal is rising in cost. Shop for the best price.

    Final Notes

    Learn From the Mistakes of Others: Spraying your lawn with a a non-selective herbicide such as Round-up, etc is not an effective crabgrass control. It doesn’t harm the seeds in the soil. Although it will kill all the grass and weeds it touches, the following year you will still have the problem with crabgrass and other broadleaf and grassy weeds that start from seed.

    For lawns containing 50% or more weeds with thin or very little grass, a non-selective herbicide can be used if you plan on seeding or sodding soon after. Don’t wait too long to renovate or the weeds will become established and you will have to do it again. Each grass type has a preferred time of year when it should be planted.

    Read labels carefully and follow all label instructions. Note that MSMA and DSMA are not recommended for St. Augustinegrass, centipedegrass or carpetgrass.

    Yellow and Green Foxtails (Summer Annual Weed)

    Foxtails are a summer annual grassy weed. They get their name from the seedhead that resembles a fox’s tail. They can spread quickly in sunny areas but less so in shade. The same preemergents that control crabgrass will also control foxtails.

    • Grassy weeds with characteristic cylindrical seed heads.
    • Yellowish-green to blue-green leaves.
    • Seed heads are 2-3 inch.
    • Reproduces from seed only.
    • Difficult to control once seeds have germinated.
    • You will start to see foxtails as soon as the crabgrass weeds are well-established.
    • The same preemergent that stops crabgrass also stops foxtails.

    Weed Identification

    Foxtails are a species of warm season, annual grassy weeds that starts from seed. It grows in full sun, but can tolerate very light, partial shade. It will not grow in shaded areas.

    It develops from a fibrous root system and has a prostrate to upright growth habit. With mature plants, it is common to see the stems branching out at the base, remain prostrate for an inch or two and then curve upward at a 30 to 70 degree angle. Each plant can produce multiple stems that can easily grow twice the height of the leaves.

    The coarse leaves are a yellowish-green to a darker blue-green color. They can grow to 12 inches long and up to ½ inch wide. The leaves are flat and smooth. The widest part of the blade is at the base. The leaves have small silky hairs on the upper surface near the base.

    Foxtails are known for their characteristic seed head that has a foxtail-like appearance. The seed head is at the end of the stalk and usually extends several inches above the leaves. Mature plant can have a dozen or more seed heads and can produce thousands of seeds each year. Seeds germinate when temperatures reach 68 degrees and will continue germinating through most of the summer. Foxtails will die at the first killing frost.

    Giant foxtail is another foxtail species that grows 2-5 ft tall, but it cannot take repeated mowing. For this reason, giant foxtail is rarely found in mowed turf. Notice that the seed head of giant foxtail droops, while yellow and green foxtail seed heads do not.

    Cultural Practices

    The primary way of preventing the establishment and spread of foxtail is to maintain a thick, healthy lawn. Maintaining your lawn at the tallest mowing height recommended for your grass type will help slow seed germination.

    Consistent, weekly mowing to remove the seed heads before they mature will also go a long way to deter spread. If you have only a few plants growing in your lawn, try removing them by pulling them up. The plant has a fibrous root system, however, some plants will root at the nodes near the base of the plant.

    Herbicide Use

    If you have had problems before with foxtails, the best way to stop their development is with a preemergent herbicide. These preemergents are added to spring fertilzers.

    The same herbicides labeled for crabgrass will work on many other grassy weeds, including foxtails. Preemergents are added to spring fertilizer and will be labeled “with Crabgrass Control” or “Crabgrass Preventer”, etc. Always check the label before using, however. Once the preemergent had been applied, moisture in the soil will activate it. Fertilizers need to be applied correctly in the amounts needed for your grass type and time of year. Scotts fertilizer brand as well as a few others are good homeowner fertilizers. Bargain brands may not give you the control over grassy weeds that you would like. Since fertilizer applicatons are based on the Nitrogen (N) needs of the grass you will need to know how much to apply. Click on the link for helpful information on Developing a Fertilizer Program.

    Most preemergents are designed to last a few months before they begin to lose effectiveness. Not all active ingredients work equally well or have the same duration and homeowner varieties tend to last the least amount of time. This means that your timing will be very important. Important Note: Foxtails will germinate a few weeks to a month later than crabgrass. Something to remember when applying a preemgerent.

    Once the seed germinates, the herbicide chemical stops cell division within the seed, so the plant never develops. As a result, the seed dies.

    The preemergent herbicide label may list other broadleaf and grassy weeds that it controls. However, most are not very effective with broadleaf weed seeds.

    For Established Weeds

    Post-emergence herbicides will be needed once the foxtails have become established. The herbicides containing the active ingredients MSMA or MSDA are labeled for many grassy weeds, including foxtails. Read the label carefully and follow all label instructions. MSMA and DSMA are not recommended for use on St. Augustinegrass, centipedegrass or carpetgrass.

    There is also the herbicide quinclorac under the trade name “Drive”. This is now available to homeowners and sold by Ortho under the name “Weed-B-Gon MAX Plus Crabgrass/Grassy Weeds Control. It is a “Ready To Use” formulation, meaning it comes already pre-mixed. It contains other ingredients including 2,4-D and Dicamba to help control broadleaf weeds as well.

    Nimblewill Grassy Weed
    Nimblewill is a grassy weed that resembles bermudagrass. It is most prominent when growing in cool season grasses. Find information on identification, growth habits, and control methods.
    Winter Annual Broadleaf Weeds
    With each spring comes a surge of winter annual broadleaf weeds. Here you will find valuable information about these difficult weeds including growth habits, photos, and measures that can be taken to control them.
    Summer Annual Broadleaf Weeds
    Many of the most problematic broadleaf weeds are annuals. Here you will find specific summer annual weed information, with weed names, photos and control methods.
    Perennial Broadleaf Weed Identification Page 1
    Click here for weed identification and control of common broadleaf perennial lawn weeds. This page has detailed information on Canada Thistle, Mouseear Chickweed, White clover, Dandelion, Field Bindweed, Ground Ivy, and Common Mallow.
    Perennial Broadleaf Weed Identification Page 2
    This page contains more perennial broadleaf weed identification and control methods. You can find detailed information on Buckhorn Plantain, Broadleaf Plantain, Red Sorrel, Wild Violets, and Common Yarrow.
    Yellow and Purple Nutsedge
    Nutsedge is a summer perennial grass-like weed. They can be particular problematic since they cannot be controlled by broadleaf weed herbicides. Click here for weed identification, growth habits and control methods.
    Grassy Weeds to Lawn Care Academy Home

    How Do You Get Rid of Weeds? – Control & Prevention

    When it seems as though you have more weeds than grass in your yard, you can still get the lawn you want by tackling your weed problem head-on. To fertilize your lawn and control existing broadleaf weeds at the same time, use Scotts® Turf Builder® Triple Action or Scotts® Turf Builder® Southern Triple Action (if you live in the Southeast). Both formulas save you time and effort by killing stubborn weeds like dandelion and clover while feeding and strengthening your lawn. In addition, Southern Triple Action prevents and kills fire ants for up to 6 months, while Triple Action puts a stop to new weeds like crabgrass. If it’s not time to fertilize your lawn, you can still control weeds with a straight weed control product like Scotts® Weed Control for Lawns. Be sure to always read the instructions before applying any product.

    Of course, if your lawn only has a few weeds here and there, you can try hand-pulling them. Annual weeds, like crabgrass and chickweed, tend to have shallow roots and are usually easily controlled with hand-pulling. On the other hand, perennial weeds, like dandelion and thistle, have deep, extensive roots and are harder to control by hand-pulling because if even a small piece of root is left in the ground, the weed will grow back. It’s easiest to hand-pull weeds when they are young and your soil is moist.

    When your lawn only has a few weeds, but you don’t want to want to risk hand pulling weeds that may grow back, you can spot treat with a ready-to-use product like Scotts® Spot Weed Control for Lawns. A weed control product labeled for use on lawns will target listed weeds without harming the lawn when used as directed. Be sure to check the product label to ensure it can be used on your specific grass type.

    Common Lawn Weeds and How to Get Rid of Them

    When choosing weed-control products, take into consideration your target weeds, whether they’re still seeds or emerged plants, and the type of lawn grass you grow. Different types of weeds call for different controls, and some Southern lawn grasses, such as St. Augustinegrass and Centipedegrass, are sensitive to some weed-control products. Always check the label to make sure the product you choose is suitable for your lawn grass.

    A top-notch weed-management program involves the following types of weed control products*:

    • Crabgrass Preventers: Crabgrass plants die after setting their seeds, but their seeds live on. Germination starts in spring, once soil temperatures reach approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit – the same temperature that sends forsythia shrubs into bloom. Proper weed management works to stop those seeds from germinating and rid your lawn of any that sneak through. Pennington UltraGreen Crabgrass Preventer Plus Fertilizer III 30-0-4 inhibits germination and root development of crabgrass and stops many weed grasses and broadleaf weed seeds when applied in early spring, before weed seeds germinate. While controlling weeds for three to five months, this nitrogen-rich product continues to feed your lawn. Pennington UltraGreen Crabgrass Preventer Plus Fertilizer III 30-0-4 prevents crabgrass germination, suppresses other weed grass and broadleaf weed seeds and controls weed grass for three to five months while feeding your lawn with slow-release nitrogen.

    • Weed & Feed Fertilizers: As the name implies, weed & feed products tackle common lawn weeds while feeding lawn grasses to better help them act against weed invasion. Pennington UltraGreen Weed & Feed 30-0-4 and Pennington UltraGreen Southern Weed & Feed 34-0-4, both safe on Centipedegrass and St. Augustinegrass lawns, kill and suppress tough existing broadleaf weeds and control new weeds for up to three months in established lawns. Applied when weeds are actively growing in late spring and early summer, and again in early fall, these weed & feed products continue to feed your lawn grass and keep it beautiful and green.
    • Targeted Weed Control: When existing perennial weeds continue to be a problem, or when new weed seeds germinate and seedlings emerge, a targeted post-emergent herbicide is the answer. For best results, treat weeds while they’re small and actively growing throughout the season. IMAGE All-in-One Weed Killer herbicide offers a broad spectrum of selective weed control for difficult sedges, crabgrass and broadleaf weeds, killing weed roots, shoots and nutlets. These weed killers target weeds only and are suitable for most cool- and warm-season lawn grasses. IMAGE Kills Nutsedge and IMAGE Herbicide for St. Augustinegrass and Centipedegrass provide targeted, selective control of tenacious, emerged weeds.

    There are many different types of weeds that can spoil a lush, green lawn: crabgrass, dandelions, white clover, quack grass, wood sorrel, bindweed, broad-leaf plantain, cinquefoil and creeping charley to name a few. But regardless of which types of weeds you may encounter, getting rid of them can be challenging.

    The best way to eradicate weeds is to use a two-prong approach of applying fertilizer and herbicide at different times of the year. A regular application of fertilizer produces strong, healthy grass plants that have a better chance of fighting off weeds. And herbicides have been proven to be effective at killing existing weeds and deterring the growth of new weeds.

    Finally don’t discount the efficacy of getting down on your hands and knees and using weeding tool to dig up weeds, especially before they go to seed. And it’s best to hand-pull weeds when they’re still young and their roots haven’t had a chance to grow down deep into the soil. Yanking out older, more established weeds requires digging out the entire root system. Otherwise, they’ll just grow back.

    Before treating or amending a lawn, it’s always best to start by testing the condition of the soil. Do-it-yourself soil test kits are sold at garden shops, home centers and hardware stores. For more comprehensive testing, contact your County Cooperative Extension office.

    If the test reveals that your soil is slightly acidic, raise the pH level by adding pulverized lime. To lower the pH of moderately alkaline soils, add organic material, such as peat moss. For soil with extremely high pH, amend it with sulfur or iron sulfate.

    Flickr, Dan Keck

    It’s difficult to give specific lawn-care recommendations because so much depends upon the type of grass you have and in which region of the country you live. However, here’s an annual maintenance schedule that’s appropriate for most parts of the country. Follow this advice and you’ll end up with a greener lawn and many fewer weeds. (For more specific recommendations, check with a local landscaper or nursery.)


    If crabgrass is present, use a walk-behind drop spreader to apply a pre-emergence crabgrass preventative agent. However, don’t apply it until the grass is green and has been mowed at least twice. This is also a good time to apply lawn fertilizer.

    If you find clumps of crabgrass, that’s an indication of where the crabgrass seeds have settled. Treat these clumps with a post-emergence crab grass agent, applied two or three times over a seven-day stretch. Note that post-emergence agents are most effective in the spring, not in late-summer or fall when the seed heads have already formed.


    Apply lawn fertilizer in mid-summer, if you didn’t do so in the spring. Treat dandelions and other broadleaf weeds, such as plantain and chickweed, with a dual-function “weed and feed” herbicide or broad-leaf weed killer.

    You can also spot-kill individual weeds and weed clumps by using a pump-up sprayer to spray herbicide directly onto the weeds. For optimum results, apply the herbicide when the air temperature is between 65 and 85ºF, and there’s no rain in the forecast for 24 to 48 hours. And note that many broad-leaf weed killers come in concentrated formulas, which you can mix to the proper proportions; concentrates are also much less expensive than pre-mixed, ready-to-use products.


    Inspect lawn for insect pests. If necessary, apply a grub-control agent.


    Apply a fall fertilizer to strengthen the lawn and repair summer damage. Grass leaves grow much more slowly as the weather cools, but the grass roots and rhizomes continue to grow strong. (Rhizomes are the horizontal plant stems that lie just beneath the soil’s surface.)

    Treat bare spots with an all-in-one Lawn Repair Mixture that contains grass seed, mulch, and a quick-start fertilizer.

    Spread a layer of bark mulch over areas where grass doesn’t grow, but weeds do, such as around shrubs and beneath trees.

    Repair Your Lawn With Some Help

    Soil Test Kit Soil Savvy $29.95 Quinclorac Liquid Crabgrass Killer Primesource $68.95 Turf Builder Lawn Food Scotts $23.32 Turf Builder Weed and Feed Fertilizer Scotts $24.75 GrubEx: Grub Killer and Preventer Scotts $42.99 PatchMaster Lawn Repair Scotts $18.97

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