Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the weeds. They’re just a fact of life for homeowners in the Metroplex. The long growing season in north Texas that gives us gorgeous lawns is also hospitable to weeds, and you may end up locked in battle with the worst ones. Here are some tips for controlling the worst weeds in Texas.
What kind of weed?
Texas A&M University breaks down common lawn weeds into three categories. Broadleaf weeds like the burclover, bristly mallow, and the dandelion; grass-like weeds like crabgrass, dallisgrass, and smutgrass; and sedges like purple nutsedge and yellow nutsedge. Broadleaf weeds take root when temperatures cool down and go to seed right when the warm temperatures of spring and summer arrive. Some grassy weeds are also cool-season culprits. And sedges — we’ll get into nutsedge at the end — can be a lawn’s worst enemy.
Twice a year
Knowing what kinds of weeds are taking root in your lawn are key because there are two different times of year to put down pre-emergent weed killer. An application in the fall will kill off weeds that sprout once the temperatures cool down and then explode with growth when it warms up again. Another application in the spring (often along with fertilizer) eliminates weeds. If you miss either of these pre-emergent herbicide applications, you may be struggling with weeds for a whole year afterward. This is especially true of grassy weeds. While there are some post-emergent weed killers that will take out broadleaf weeds, any post-emergent weed killer that kills grassy weeds, also kills the grass. So you’re stuck if you miss the window of opportunity.
More rules of thumb
There are a few more things to know about controlling weeds in Dallas, Plano, Irving and other parts of DFW. You want to water lightly after putting down the seasonal weedkiller. If your lawn is brand new, don’t use pre-emergent weed killer. Wait until the lawn is at least four months old, and has some time to establish itself. Don’t mix different kinds of weedkillers — and follow the directions. More weedkiller is not better, and in fact, can damage your lawn. Put down the pre-emergent weed killer according to the instructions, and wait. And — if you see one stray weed pop up in your lawn, pull it by hand instead of assaulting it with more weedkiller.
One final note: nutsedge is often the most stubborn difficult weed to eradicate, and will spread quickly if you don’t take care of it. It’s especially difficult during the hottest months of the year. Do not pull it, because that may actually help it spread. Instead, check with your local garden or landscaping store for weedkiller designed specifically to kill this class of weed. A more general weed killer may slow it down a little bit, but most won’t get rid of them.
The best defense against weeds is a well mowed, lush, green lawn. Cutting the grass too short and failing to give the lawn enough water is an invitation for the weeds to move in.
Curious to learn more about weeds in Dallas? Visit our Dallas, TX lawn care page for more information.