Understanding Weeds - But mostly How to Kill 'emWritten by L. J. Bruton
When I was a child, I loved to pick Dandelions. The pretty yellow flowers were small, colorful, and looked nice tucked behind my ear! However, if one had popped up in front yard, my hair accessory would have been considered an atrocity!
I often feel sorry for weeds. They are plants too. In fact, if you flipped through a botany field guide, you may be surprised at plants you find classified as weeds! But simply put, a weed is really defined as a plant out of place. Clover in one persons flowing lawn may be considered fashionable, whereas on another, not. Golf greens are often covered with bentgrass, but if it crept up in some yards, it would be considered a weed.
While perhaps pretty on their own, weeds stick out like a sore thumb in yards because they may be of a different color, size or texture. This is distracting from beauty of otherwise sprawling green turf. Aside from aesthetic values, weeds can also drain nutrients from grass and other plants, and this competition of resources can thin what should be lush. And what's worse is that weeds are fighters. They can withstand conditions that your wanted greens cannot, so they are almost inevitable!
Treating weeds begins with correct identification. There are two classifications of weeds: Grassy and Broadleaf. These are further broken down into groups like perennial, biennial, and winter and summer annuals. These, as you may gave guessed, depict their growing patterns. Grassy weeds are, as they sound, like grass. However, they are unwanted grass, or grass that is growing in a different type of lawn. Some examples are annual bluegrass, barnyard grass, crabgrass, creeping bentgrass and foxtail. Broadleaf weeds may appear more to be what most people picture weed-like growth to be. Since they are broad, they are more easily distinguished. Some examples are yarrow, knotweed, chickweed, clover, ground ivy, thistle and my favorite, dandelion.
Once you understand what is growing in your lawn and decide that it is unwanted, you can treat it and/or control it. Weeds can actually be controlled by your lawn care maintenance. If you maintain a dense and vigorously growing lawn, you are already combating problem. Weeds can be a sign of underlying problems in environment beneath. So by just killing them, you are simply putting on a band-aid, not solving problem.
Fertilizers - What you Need to Feed Your LawnWritten by L. J. Bruton
Just like humans need food, water and shelter to survive, lawns depend on certain elements to live, sixteen to be exact. Most of these elements are already found naturally in environment, but several others need to be added to your lawn. Adding fertilizer with these three elements, nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, does job.
Before you run out to store to purchase a complete fertilizer, or, one that contains all three, it is important to understand why your lawn's livelihood depends on it.
Nitrogen- This is possibly most important element your lawn needs. It makes grass grow and gives it its green color. It will also allow for more density, thick shoots, and sturdy growth, thus creating an environment that will naturally fight off pests and bugs.
Potassium- Since you can't toss bananas in your yard, your best bet for this mineral is to use fertilizer! Potassium enhances your lawn's ability to resist disease, drought, wear and cold weather.
Phosphorus- This is used to encourage strong grass root growth.
Most fertilizers you will find in your local home and garden stores will contain all three of these elements. However, there are different amounts of each. This is reflected in a three-digit number, such as 30-10-10, which tells percentage of each in this order: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These blends will serve different purposes. For instance, more potassium in blends are good for winterization. The factors you need to consider are grass type, climate, time of season and soil type. Once you know what your needs are, you will be able to determine right combination of these elements. An additional way to scan your needs is determine current levels of these nutrients in your soil. This can be done through a simple pH test.
In addition to variation in percentages of key elements, there are also different types of fertilizers to consider. There are four major options that will greet you in fertilizer aisle: Granular (slow and fast-release), Liquid, Synthetic and Organic.
Granular fertilizers are perhaps most popular, probably due to their ease in use and duration. Since these are dry, they are much easier to spread. Granular fertilizers can come in a slow time-release formula, which provides fertilization over two to six months.
This is an efficient choice for homeowners, as it will not need another application for months to come. Granular is also available in fast-release, and although applied in same manner, nutrients are released quicker and work better in cold weather. This method also costs less. However, grass burn can occur and there will be a greater need for watering.