Weed Control for Fescue Lawn
Weed control for Fescue lawns is one of the most commonly requested lawn care services. Read this article to learn aboutfescue grass and weed control options.
Fescue is a very popular turf grass for lawns in north Georgia. Why? As stated by the Pennington Seed Company website, "Tall fescue is valued for its adaptability to a wide range of climates and its tolerances for cold, heat, drought and shade. In its preferred growing zones, tall fescue provides lawn owners with outstanding options for improving lawn resilience and durability."1
What Type of Fescue Is Best for Local Lawns?
A majority of Atlanta area homes with established lawns have Fescue grass. Some lawns may have a mixture of Fescue, Zoysia, and Bermuda grass. All three species are suitable for lawns in north Georgia. Fescue is a favorite simply because it can provide a green lawn throughout the year. If you are redoing your lawn, Fescue certainly should be on your list to consider.
The two types of Fescue grass found in local lawns are:
- Kentucky Tall Fescue is considered to be a cool-season grass although it is quite capable of providing a nice, green lawn all year. It is tolerant of shade, wear, and periods of little rain. Until your Tall Fescue lawn has become thick, it does allow space for weeds to grow. With a good lawn care program most weed situations can be managed easily enough.
- Red Fescue (Festuca Rubra), aka Creeping Red Fescue, is not ideal for our hot local climate. However, in the Atlanta area it can work well in shady areas where other grass types will not grow. Red Fescue takes a while to become established. After it has become established, you will find it to be low maintenance, fairly wear resistant, and the thickness inhibits weed growth.
Why Weeds Are a Problem
Most types of plants that are considered weeds in a lawn are species that are very hearty. Specifically, they are highly resistant to drought, heat, and they spread with ease. Left unchecked, weed will choke out turf grass. A minor weed problem can become a major weed problem in only 1-3 seasons. The Clemson University website describes it in this manner, "Additionally, weeds are fierce competitors that will strongly compete with the turf for sunlight, nutrients, and moisture. Lastly, weeds have a tendency to spread rapidly. A few left uncontrolled can quickly become a serious problem."2
When weeds take over your yard, your lawn becomes less attractive and your property valuable can drop. In terms of enjoyment, the loss of visual appeal is accompanied by a less than comfortable barefoot experience.
Common Types of Weeds Affecting Fescue Lawns
Broadleaf Weeds. Broadleaf weeds emerge with two leaves and typically have flowers. While the flowers are somewhat attractive, if you want the look of a manicured lawn the weeds are not attractive. Broadleaf weed examples are Dandelions, Wild Violets, Chickweed, and White Clover
Grassy Weeds. Grassy weeds emerge from seed with a single leaf and grow more leaves. Grassy weed examples are Dallis grass, Johnson Grass, Crab grass, and Meadow grass.
Annual Weeds. Annual weeds live for only one season. The time of year for germination and dying off are not the same. Most weeds appear in early spring and applying fall pre-emergent weed control products is an effective weed control strategy.
Perennial Weeds. Perrenial weeds grow for multiple years. They regenerate and spread from bulbs, rhizomes, seeds and other vegatative parts. There are numerous techniques and products for controlling perennial weeds.
Weed Control Solutions
Firstly, protecting the ecosystem should be a top priority when fighting weeds. Specifically, many weed control products kill pollinators and harm wildlife. If your yard needs a solution for minor weed problems the answer may be as simple as periodically taking time to enjoy sunshine and pull weeds by hand.
Regarding environmentally responsible weed control the Gardening Channel states the following, "Two major natural weed killers are salt and vinegar. Dish detergent mixed with vinegar or water also makes a good household weed-killer that is much gentler on the ecosystem than chemical sprays. Try mixing salt and water together in a spray bottle and spraying on weeds. But be warned: you should only use salt where you are not trying to grow anything else. It sterilizes the soil, so its best use is for weeds growing in sidewalks, driveways or between patio stones."3
Proactive measures include fertilization applications that promote a thick healthy lawn. A thick lawn makes it more difficult for most weeds to grow and thrive. Your fertilization plan should include adequate lawn irrigation to further promote the health of turf grasses.
The University of Georgia’s Extension Office states the following "The first line of defense against weeds is to follow cultural practices that promote vigorous turfgrass growth and development. Weeds do not easily invade turfgrasses that are properly fertilized and watered and that are mowed at the correct height and frequency. Weeds appear primarily in bare or thin areas of the turfgrass."4
Pre-emergent Herbicides. Preemergent weed control products are applied to your lawn pror to the germination of weed seeds (often in late fall or winter). These products can prevent a lot of problems with grassy and some broadleaf weeds. These products are available in a granular form and as a liquid in spray-ready containers.
Post-emergent Herbicides. Post-emergent weed control products generally target weeds you can see growing in your lawn. These products may be granular and applied by hand or a spreader, or a liquid weed control product applied by a hand-held sprayer. These are often used in the active growing season to eliminate grass type weeds, broadleaf weeds, and sedge weeds.
IMPORTANT! Many weed control products can kill desireable grass seeds, flowers, and sod. Mixing products can also create problems with soil pH and suitable conditions for new lawns to thrive. Always refer to manufacturer’s information for application of products and do your own research before applying any chemicals to your lawn.
Always use herbicides sparingly and responsibly.
Protect wildlife, pets, and people.
Whether you have a weed control problem or want preventative weed control services we can help you. Call us at 770-509-0355.
CREDITS and FOOTNOTES
- 1 Staff Writer, "All You Need to Know About Tall Fescue", January 01, 2001, Available from Pennington Seed, Inc.
- 2 FactSheet, "Managing Weeds in Fescue Lawns", November 21, 2022, Available from Clemson University College of Agriculture
- 3 Staff writers, "How to Kill Weeds The Eco-Friendly Way", September 09, 2017, Available from LINK SOURCE
- 4 Bulletin 978, "Weed Control Methods", March 17, 2013, Available from UGA Extension Office
- Photo by Pixabay, available at Pexels.com
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