Here at Fertrell we have seen an increasing number of people looking to take a more natural approach to lawn care. From questions on lawn fertilizer to weed control, we’ve got all the answers you’re looking for!
When it comes to weed management, folks are always wondering what they can do. We believe that with proper maintenance you can get your lawn to a point where weeds will no longer be a major issue for you. What it takes is proper fertility and well-balanced soil chemistry. Weeds thrive in an environment that is less conducive to proper grass growth because it is that imbalance which facilitates aggressive weed growth in the first place.
In order to ensure proper fertility and balance in your soil we need to start early in the season before the grass wakes up. For us here in PA that is around February or March. This is when you would want to apply some Aragonite (10lbs/1000sq ft) for some bio-available Calcium. Calcium in the most important nutrient within the soil as it plays a role in the utilization of all other.
After you have applied Aragonite for a boost of calcium, you should apply WeedBan (20 lbs/1000 sqft), which is a corn gluten product. Corn Gluten is a very effective all-natural weed control for annual seeding weeds. Please note that if you have already-established or weeds that spread through rhizomal growth, WeedBan will have no effect. Corn Gluten is also a non-selective control so if you end up applying grass seed to an area where WeedBan was applied too quickly, you will not be happy at all with your grass germination rate. We suggest waiting at least 60 days before you put down a new seeding of grass after you have used WeedBan. Our WeedBan product is one of the few products that we cannot certify as organic because we are not able to validate that the corn gluten was sourced from a non-GMO source.
Once you get these, we suggest taking a break and enjoying the downtime before your grass is taking off, because then it’s back to being busy! Once your grass has emerged and started growing, apply Fertrell Turf Pro 5-0-5 (5lbs/1000 sqft). A lot of people are concerned about missing the first growth of the grass and honestly it isn’t something to worry about. Grasses take off once the soil wakes up and generally don’t need an application of fertilizer before your first cutting. If you wish to do so that is perfectly fine. Otherwise just apply it when you can. Please note that the Fertrell Turf Pro 5-0-5 is another product that we cannot guarantee the source of the corn gluten included, so it is not able to be certified as organic.
Mid-summer is when you will want to reapply your Weedban to prevent any more unwanted visitors in your yard. WeedBan takes around 2 months for it to no longer be able to suppress weeds in your lawn so watching your yard to determine if another application is necessary is advised. If you happen to notice that the coverage isn’t what you want then feel free to apply a small bit more. Remember, WeedBan is a pre-emergent, so any established grass will not be affected by additional applications of the product. If your grass is established the WeedBan will turn into Nitrogen to feed your plant. If the weeds persist then we would recommend pulling a soil sample to see if there are additional nutrients we need to look at balancing or you may need to look at other forms of control as the weeds may no be affected by WeedBan’s Mode of Action (see below for alternatives).
Come late summer or early fall things are starting to slow down but your grass still has a while before goes into dormancy. A secondary application of Turf Pro 5-0-5 (6-10 lbs/1000 sqft) to keep the grass looking healthy and an application Soil Mineralizer (10 lbs/1000 sq ft) to make sure that the plant gets its trace nutrients so it can better prepare itself for the winter is key.
Alternative Weed Control
Let’s talk about alternatives for week control. Some weeds as I mentioned before are not affected by WeedBan. So you need to go with something a little bit more potent. Just so you are aware there is no selective organic herbicide, meaning that whatever you choose will affect anything it touches, not just specific weeds.
200 Grain White Vinegar is a great organic-approved product to handle a broad spectrum of weeds in your lawn or garden. There isn’t much science to an application amount, so coating the plant is generally our recommendation. Ideally if you could wait to do this when the plant is stressed and thirsty it works best, so right after a cutting would be optimal. You want the plant take up the 200 Grain White Vinegar and let the acidity of it burn the plants root hairs and damage the interior of the plant. This will kill the weed, though it may take multiple applications to permanently kill it.
Nature’s Avenger AG is another organic-approved weed killing product. It is a citrus oil based broad spectrum product that works very well on broadleaf weeds below four inches tall. Anything taller than that reduces the efficacy considerably. Mowing weeds prior to use will help as well but the diameter of the stalk is what is the largest determinate of efficacy in most cases. We recommend following label instructions for application rates. Aside from its weed-killing powers, we consider the smell of Nature’s Avenger AG to be one of the largest benefits. It smells like fresh oranges!
With this program and the products listed above we here at Fertrell feel confident in saying that you can manage your lawn naturally! As always for those of you that wish to take it a step further we recommend a soil test to make sure that your lawn is as healthy as can be to decrease the chance of weeds emerging in the first place. If you have any questions, comments or concerns please do not hesitate to contact the office and talk to myself or one of the other Agronomists.