Many people ask why weeds should be killed in the fall. Some would answer that weeds should be killed anytime they appear. Actually, weeds are starting to disappear in the fall, as do many annual plants. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Not so fast. They may not be seen but these devious characters may have dropped seeds that are lurking in the soil waiting to strike in the spring.
Applying a pre-emergent broadleaf weed killer this fall will prevent those latent seeds from germinating next spring. You may ask why this preventive action should be taken now instead of waiting for them to begin growing in the spring and then treat them. For one, pre-emergents are more effective than post-emergents. Secondly, many overwintering weed seeds germinate before the grass breaks dormancy, giving them a head start in the race for soil space and nutrients.
Have you noticed that dandelions appear before the lawn needs its first mowing? By the time you mow for the first time, the dandelions’ first flush of flowers has gone to seed and the wind has distributed them all over your yard. To control them, you’ll need to apply a broadleaf weed killer, or dig them out by hand. Isn’t it better to get them before they even have a chance to germinate?
Ideally, spreading a pre and post emergent broadleaf weed killer will rid you of the weeds in your lawn now and those seeds that they dropped to overwinter. The best timing is between flushes of flowers so they don’t drop any more seeds after you’ve made the application.
This method is intended for your lawn, not your flower beds. Broadleaf weed killers can’t differentiate between those plants you consider weeds and your beautiful flower plants. The definition of a weed that I use most often is a plant growing where you didn’t plant it and where you don’t want it.
For weed infested flower beds,, pulling weeds by hand is the safest control method. The alternative is to spot treat, spraying only each individual weed. This might be a moot point if your flower beds are planted only with annuals. However, some annuals drop seed that lies latent through the winter and germinates in the spring, and you’ll want to protect them. Some people like to retain their spent annuals as foliage plants for as long as they can. You’ll have to use the control measures that are best for your situation.
If your flower beds include herbaceous perennials, it’s important that you protect them. Pulling weeds by hand or spot treating are your only options. A helpful hint: Pull weeds when the soil is moist. They are easier to pull and more of the root may comes out.
If you don’t have time to weed, our landscape and lawn care professionals would be happy to do it for you.