A weed is a plant that we don’t want in our lawn, because it spoils the appearance. It could be a grass such as crabgrass or a broadleaf weed such as chickweed or dandelion. It could be an annual that comes up from seed every year or a perennial that resprouts from an underground rhizome every year. Or it could invade like bindweed or bermuda grass.
Our organic lawn care system has been proven effective, ecologically sound, and safe for pets, children and wildlife. For over a decade, we’ve continually improved our Denver organic weed control programs to ensure that your lawn grows with as few weeds as possible. We’ve found that the following approach yields the best results, and we’re confident that you’ll see an improvement in your lawn thanks to these tried-and-true organic weed control practices.
1. Proper mowing for lawn vigor A dense, vigorous turf is one that doesn’t let many weeds get started. Our goal is to make and keep your lawn dense and vigorous. Our first attack on weeds is in the way we mow.
We mow frequently and high.
Why? Why don’t you cut my grass close to the ground, so I can wait longer before another mow?
Low mowing weakens your grass. All of the carbon it needs for growth comes through its leaf blade and low mowing keeps cutting that off. Scalped lawns die off faster than high-mown lawns, especially in hot, dry weather. When the grass dies off, the weeds move in. The rule known to all turfgrass experts is: don’t remove more than 1/3 of the blade at each mowing.
How else do we help your lawn resist weed infestations?
2. Proper watering for lawn vigor Especially in the dry western U.S., lawns need to be watered. Here the rule is infrequently but deeply. Shallow, brief watering doesn’t get water deep into the soil where the roots need to grow. It allows grass roots to remain close to the surface, where a short drought can quickly kill them and let tougher weeds take over. Your Clean Air service will recommend a watering regime for your lawn and help you establish it.
3. Weed Removal Until our lawn naturally suppresses weed invasion, we’d like to get rid of the weeds we see. How?
Well, hand-pulling or grubbing is effective if you have only a few weeds, but we’re talking about heavy infestations. That leaves only chemical options. Now, chemical isn’t a bad word. You probably sprinkled a chemical on your scrambled eggs this morning. In fact, that chemical (sodium chloride, or table salt) is also an herbicide, though it’s not the most effective.
We want compounds that will kill weeds but not our turf grass — selective herbicides. And we want ones that are safe to apply and safe for humans and animals who play on your lawn. And we always want to use as little as we can to do the job, which usually means spot-spraying weeds after they’ve come up — or post-emergent treatment.
There are no fully satisfactory post-emergent selective herbicides that are labeled as “organic”. But we’ve found that applying a pre-emergent that suppresses weeds before they sprout in the early spring is an effective way to reduce weed pressure on lawns and reduce the need for spot spraying during the season. The one we use is a benign plant-derived material that is effective in small amounts.
Your local Clean Air Lawn Care partner will propose a weed-control program customized to your turfgrass type and your weeds and climatic conditions. Remember: ultimately we aim to do away with the need for weed treatments by improving the density and vigor of your turf.