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Lawns : Weeds

A few weeds in a lawn are no great problem – indeed, it can be quite attractive to have a few daisies! However, a heavy infestation by weeds, such as daisies, clover or speedwell can squeeze out the grass, spoil the look of the lawn and reduce its ability to withstand wear.

One day after spraying, daisies curl up to die

One day after spraying, daisies curl up to die

Weeds cope better than grass with low levels of soil fertility. Starved grass is susceptible to competition from weeds, so feeding the lawn is essential. Irregular ‘scalping’ of the lawn opens the grass sward and allows weeds to become established. Too tight mowing weakens the grass and this also gives weeds a chance.

Daisies and most other lawn weeds can grow flatter than lawn grass and thrive on tight mowing. Regular mowing, using the grass-bag, prevents existing weeds from seeding and spreading.

When weeds have become too dominant, a chemical lawn weedkiller can be used to help restore the balance, but feeding will be necessary as well. A variety of lawn weedkiller products is available. Use a product contianing the active ingredient mecoprop to control clover.

These contain similar active ingredients and are best applied in fine, warm weather when growth is active. April, May and June are ideal, but they can be applied between March and September after warm weather when the soil is moist. Feeding the grass two weeks before application improves results.

Combined feed and weed products work well and have the advantage of convenience, but they can be expensive if a large area has to be treated. The weedkilling function only works well in warm weather.

Lawn sand is a traditional lawn tonic combining feeding and weed suppression. Twenty parts clean sand, 3 parts sulphate of ammonia and one part sulphate of iron is the formula. Ready made lawn sand products are convenient to use.

Lawn speedwell

Lawn speedwell

Speedwell has pale blue flowers in April. It is quite difficult to control. Lawnsand will give some control.

Mind-your-own-business or baby’s tears, or helxine is a common weed of shady, damp corners. It spreads over the surface of the soil swamping grass and will even climb over damp stones. Use lawn sand.

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