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Old 07-29-2013, 01:40 PM   #1
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Best way to kill weeds and seed.


Hi guys,

So I made the biggest mistake ever this spring. I basically killed my entire yard. Went to Tractor Supply and asked the worker what the best product was for weed control. She obviously had no idea, but pointed to me what all the "farmers" were using. Without thinking twice, I grabbed it, used it, and bam. Within a few days, my entire lawn was dead. It was RoundUp, and it wasn't just for weeds, it was a vegetation killer. I should have known better, I know.

Laugh it up! It was pretty embarrassing. I immediately aerated, re-seeded the entire lawn, started watering 2-3x a day. MOST of my lawn has come back better than ever, super green, and super thick, but I have a ton of weeds in one section. I apparently didn't seed as well there, so weeds have popped up like crazy. So, I'm looking to kill the weeds, and seed again, but I'm not sure what the best way to do this would be, since I obviously don't know what I'm doing. So I'm looking for this advice:

- What is the best recommended way to take care of the weeds?
- When can I reseed after I kill the weeds?
- What can I do to prevent weeds coming up again once I reseed? Any suggestions for promoting good gas growth? Some type of weed + feed? Is that too harsh on new grass/seed?
- Can I do this now or am I wasting my time? Should I just wait until fall?

I am in southeast Michigan. I'd like to get it improved now, since it looks horrible in this part of my lawn, but if I'm wasting my time since it is the middle of summer, I can hold off.

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Old 07-29-2013, 04:31 PM   #2
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Best way to kill weeds and seed.


You're right, that's a pretty big mistake to have made (and an expensive one, I'll bet!). I would identify what type of weeds you're dealing with, and find a selective herbicide applicable to that type of weed. You should be able to reseed pretty quickly after applying the weed killer, but it might not even be needed. It's possible that when the weeds start to die out, that your grass will take over and choke them out (especially with a proper mowing and watering regiment).

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Old 07-29-2013, 06:16 PM   #3
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Best way to kill weeds and seed.


There are a variety of weed products for turf and knowing what you are trying to control is key. Weed killers are of course non-selective and systemic like Roundup or selective. They can be either post-emergent (kills existing weeds) or pre-emergent (keep weeds from sprouting but often grass seed as well).

Products availed to consumers have become somewhat limited because they were abused but for control of broadleaf weeds weed killers with 2-4-D as a key ingredient work well. Ortho Weed-B-Gone is one brand I know of. You can apply it at just about any time but spring, when weeds are young, is the best. Fall application can work out well too for a second attempt.

Most popular crabgrass preventers are pre-emergent and should go down before that weed sprouts in late spring or early summer. There are also effective post-emergent treatments for crabgrass that are expensive but probably more cost-effective if you only have it in spots. Many desirable grass seeds will not grow for a season after application of a pre-emergent.

Regular feeding of the turf and mowing blade grasses tall is always going to be your best defense against weeds.

Do look at the type of grass seed you used. If it had a high concentration of ANNUAL rye grass seed in it you will only be getting one season out of it and will have to seed again so keep that in mind with the herbicide you choose.

A real nursery, your ag extension office, etc. will have advice on what herbicides to use for the challenge you face. And with herbicides, use only at the concentration specified. Doubling it serves no purpose but to threaten the environment. Make multiple and spread out applications if needed.
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Old 07-29-2013, 07:26 PM   #4
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Best way to kill weeds and seed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
Regular feeding of the turf and mowing blade grasses tall is always going to be your best defense against weeds.
Slightly related, and not trying to threadjack, but I was under the impression that mowing often and low helps prevent the spread of weeds (specifically crab and dallis grass). Am I totally mistaken? Perhaps the type of weed, turf, and location makes a difference? In my case, I have a Bermuda lawn, and an awful infestation of Dallisgrass in the deep south.
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:37 PM   #5
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Best way to kill weeds and seed.


Mowing height does depend on the type of grass and weeds to some extent which is why I hope I mentioned mowing blade grasses---like fescue, bluegrass, and perennial rye---at a high setting. They will fill in nicely if fed and will quite literally squeeze out and block light from broadleaf weeds.

Now then, crabgrasses will spread along the soil surface and then flower and go to seed at a fairly low height so the challenge is somewhat different for such crawling type weeds. Still though, with blade grasses, your best defense is tall mowing and regular feeding---strength in numbers I guess is another way to think about it. Mowing blade grasses to short diminishes their ability to resist heat and watering extremes.

You might have to approach crabgrass eradication over several seasons if it has a foothold with both pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides. Even digging it out you can knock the seeds off the plants and they will sprout the next time they have a chance. You will just challenge a blade grass lawn itself mowing to short though. Bermuda and other such grasses are a different story...

And as for bermuda lawns? You are correct about having to mow them short. One I inherited in Northern California was bermuda and the only way it looked decent was to mow it very low and frequently, water it like crazy during the growing season and give it copious amounts of nitrogen. It was extremely high maintenance.

Bermuda grows differently than blade grasses and via surface rhyzomes that take root along the rhyzome. It builds up thatch (which can easily harbor disease spores, insect eggs and even weed seeds) easily too so detatching and aeration at least once a year was necessary. And unlike with blade grasses and given the thatch build-up problem clippings were typically bagged and not returned to the turf. This helped with weed seeds too. The major weed in my lawn was dandelions from neighboring fields and 2-4-D based weed killers worked well.

Last edited by user1007; 07-29-2013 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:59 AM   #6
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Best way to kill weeds and seed.


Ah, all of that makes sense. Sorry to have derailed the thread slightly, but at least I learned something!
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:21 AM   #7
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Best way to kill weeds and seed.


At this point, I would not use any kind of herbicide on your lawn. Any & all of them can do damage to baby grass. Get your grass started and strong, and deal with the weeds later.

In dealing with leaves, any "broadleaf weed" is susceptible to any herbicide containing "2-4d," regardless of the brand name on the bottle. Products containing 2-4d will not kill your grass.

The best time to spray or spread 2-4d is in the spring and fall. You can get it mixed with fertilizer, or in liquid concentrate. I prefer the latter. Be sure you spray it when the temperature is under 70 degrees, or it will likely "drift" and kill flowers. Also, be very careful about over-spray.

Also, realize that weed eradication in lawns is an ongoing process. You're not going to have a perfect lawn in 1 or 2 years.

Good luck!
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:21 AM   #8
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Best way to kill weeds and seed.


I did something either very right or very wrong on a portion of my lawn that was just stubborn to grow - combination of sparse fescue/bluegrass, exposure and hard, tight soil.

I got a core aerator and went over the area, allowed the core to dry a few hours. I then scattered the same seed as the rest of the lawn and then followed with a right raking with a leaf rake to break up the cores and distribute the them and the soil in the general area. I followed with some light watering daily for a week or two. Between the opening of the soil and allow moisture take-up and new seed on the surface with the broken cores and some deeper penetration, the lawn a got a strong start. - That was take-off on a tip I got from the groundskeeper at the golf course I played because they problem areas due to traffic, compaction and wear.

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Old 07-30-2013, 11:32 AM   #9
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Best way to kill weeds and seed.


Thanks for all the replies.

So to confirm, if I were to use some weed and feed granules, this would prevent new grass seed from sprouting, correct?

Could I possibly spray with some sort of 2-4d solution, then lay a light layer of new soil on top and seed it? Is that an option?

Our soil is horrible anyway, so it wouldn't be so bad to add some higher quality soil on top.
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Old 07-30-2013, 06:14 PM   #10
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Best way to kill weeds and seed.


Again, you need to know whether you are using a pre-emergent (keeps weeds from sprouting) or post-emergent (kills existing weeds) herbicide. With any pre-emergent you may have trouble getting seeds to germinate even if the herbicide is not earmarked for blade grasses. And, it is a good idea to wait a month or more even after a spray or granular application of something like 2-4-D. If you were to apply now, you should be good to seed in the Fall. Weed-N-Feed would be fine for broadleaf weeds. You will want to back off the nitrogen content if it is hot and you cannot water, and as fall approaches (depending on where you are).

Adding topsoil to bad, compacted, non-tilled soil is not likely to accomplish much and you could end up growing lawn in just the thickness if the new topsoil. The topsoil may have a different Ph than your soil too so you should test it before planting.

Your best bet is to rototill amendments into the soil you have to break it up and give it airspace for the seedling roots. Or you can hope you get lucky with core aeration as mentioned. It is really not the same as tilling the soil though.

I mention again also, pay attention to the seed packaging label. ANNUAL rye, etc. will sprout fast but will only last for one season. It also steals nutrients from the perennial varieties you really want. "Contractor" blends (I never knew a landscaper to use it but maybe discount GCs that scraped the land and need quick green use it) is heavy in annual grass seeds. It will never a nice lawn make!

Come fall by the way, nurseries may have bulk turf seed on sale again so you can mix and match.
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:10 PM   #11
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Best way to kill weeds and seed.


And, for what it's worth, you can rent a tiller from most local hardware stores (big box, and mom and pop, generally). I got a quote for renting a rear tine tiller from Home Depot, and it was $55 (with $150 refundable deposit) for 4 hours, and another $25 if I used their trailer. I ended up borrowing one from family, instead, and it made all the difference. I used it heavily in the back yard after having some dirt brought in, but where it really shined was in the front. In the front yard, up near the curb, the soil was extremely compacted (from the previous owners parking up into the yard).. hard enough that the best shovel couldn't get more than 1/4" into the ground. I moistened the soil a little bit, and ran the tiller over it a couple times and it chewed through it with ease. Had I not gotten to borrow one for free, the $55/4 hours would have been WELL worth it with the amount of tilling I had to do in the back yard (about 2,000 sq ft).
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:59 PM   #12
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Best way to kill weeds and seed.


I wouldn't feel too embarrased about it. I've often thought about doing just that to my lawn. It would probably be less hassle than trying to get all the weeds and other defects corrected while it is still a lawn (if you want to call it that).

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