It’s spring, and lawns in Minnesota are beginning to turn green and lawn care is coming back to the forefront of homeowner’s maintenance lists after the long months of winter. Unfortunately some of the green that is first to appear out on their lawn space may not be the lush green lawn that is desired. Lawn weeds are a common problem that needs to be addressed, often before the first mowing of the grass. Three of the most prolific lawn weeds invading Minnesota lawns are the dandelion, creeping charlie and crab grass.
The most noticeable and often the most difficult weed to control is the yellow flowered dandelion. Dandelions are a broad leafed plant that grows in all weather conditions and most types of soil, though it thrives most in moist soil, therefore rainy weather stimulates the growth of this already strong weed. They also multiply quickly and continually. Dandelions grow deep roots and it is these roots that must be destroyed to keep the weeds from returning. There are many herbicides that are designed for attacking these types of deep rooted plants. Manually removing the roots of the plants in the early spring can be a very effective means of proactively treating this problem in your lawn.
Creeping Charlie is also a flowering weed. Its flowers are not as noticeable as the dandelions however. They are tiny bluish purple flowers that are only seen on close observation, clinging to the vines of the plant. This plant is also known as ‘ground ivy’ and reaches its tentacles both above and below the ground with round dark green or purplish leaves. Creeping Charlie prefers shaded moist soil to bright sunlight. Generally this weed can be kept at bay by proper mowing and frequent fertilizing of your lawn. If it does appear, it can be treated with a herbicide or a simple borax and water solution.
Crab grass is a totally different type of weed problem than the other two listed. Crab grass prefers the heat of summer and will tend to flourish best when desirable lawn grasses are dormant due to the heat. Crab grass gets its name from its low profile to the ground and the way it reaches out in all directions like the legs of a crab from its body. Crab grass is best treated in the spring with a preventative herbicide rather than trying to treat it after it has appeared in the lawn.
If the homeowner desires to apply treatments themselves, it is very important for them to read the specifications of the herbicide treatments prior to purchasing to determine whether it is the type they need for their specific weed problem. Lawn care professionals are another excellent option to make sure that the problems are treated appropriately and successfully.