This is Indiana. We all know how the weather is here. We joke about how one day it will be 75 and sunny and that same afternoon it can be snowing. Spring in Indiana is probably one of the most changing times for weather patterns. Why is this important to lawn care and weeds? The reality is that weather plays a huge role in all lawn care programs.
We receive several phone calls every day with the same simple question.
“Why do I have insert weed name here?”
While this may be a simple question, it is not a simple answer. There are several factors that control how we address weeds.
Herbicides are only effective when soil temperatures are just right. We might have a few nice days of 50-60 degree weather but the soil temperatures may still be well below what is required for the herbicide to be effective. We use charts and scientific trackers to follow when the temperatures are right to begin using the products. We can spray for weeds during our Early Spring application but it would be a waste of product, money, and environmentally irresponsible.
The products that we use are of high quality, however, the proper timing and technique of the use of these products determines the results. We cannot guess on when we should make applications. Everything that we do has science behind it. Timing is one of the most important parts of the science. Like with soil temperature, we could apply products when the timing is least optimal but we would see less than satisfying results.
Weeds are classified into several different categories. Grassy weeds, broad leaf weeds, winter annuals, summer annuals, not all weeds are the same. Each kind of weed also can require a different product to be effective. Some grassy weeds may not be affected by products that kill broad leaf weeds. Proper plant identification is very important in determining the product used.
Many consumers buy products based on the picture on the bottle. They then apply that product at the first chance they get and disregard most of the printed label. Results are never as expected because misapplication likely happens.
Misunderstanding of Application Terms
I have visited Facebook pages of several stores and product manufactures and see the same statements. “I applied the crabgrass pre-emergent and I still have dandelions. Your product doesn’t work!” We also hear this from time to time here.
A crab grass pre-emergent specifically targets crabgrass and the germination process of crabgrass. As stated above, different weeds are affected by different kinds of products. A grassy weed such as crabgrass takes a specific product to control. Dandelions and purple dead nettle take a different product.
Many products on the market for residential consumer use are very misleading because they say things such as “Total Weed Control” when really it is just a pre-emergent. This label confusion has caused a lot of misled consumers with high expectations that are never met. Properly reading the label of what weeds are controlled will help you gain an understanding of what the application will manage.
Nothing of what we do is a secret. Many lawn care professionals have spent years perfecting their lawn care management programs. Universities have entire degree, masters, and PhD programs on Turf Management and Lawn Care. I am not making any of these facts up either. For a very detailed article that goes into more about the specific science of weed control, click here
As lawn care professionals. we are constantly learning from publications and attending courses hosted by Purdue University. We take our industry very serious. Lawn care is not just a hobby. Our industry provides over 800,000 jobs and $57.9 billion in economic impact. We want everyone to know that we are proud of what we do and our knowledge and expertise show it!