How To Get Rid Of Weeds In A Lawn For Free

Learn how to achieve the perfect weed free lawn for free and without using chemicals.

The perfect lawn is one of life's challenges which keeps alive the saying "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence".

The first stage in dealing with a weedy lawn is to consider the weeds causing the problem. What is a weed? A weed is a plant growing in a place where you don't want it! Annual weeds such as chickweed and shepherds purse aren't very difficult to keep under control. The bigger problem is caused by perennial weeds such as dandelions and daisies.

If you're not sure which weeds are which, borrow a book from your local library. Weeds all have one thing in common though, and that is their determination to create seeds!

Some people, on examining the make-up of their lawn, will hand over its control entirely to mother nature rather than the expense of replacing turf or re-seeding. However, eliminating weeds from your lawn can be achieved without spending a penny on expensive and toxic weed killers or digging it all up and starting again.

The first step in bringing your lawn under control is to cut it regularly. During the height of summer you might need to cut the grass twice a week. Cutting the grass encourages it to grow, and will continually cut down the weeds. Rake up any grass cuttings if there are lots of weeds. (They may not be suitable for composting if they contain a lot of seed heads as many weeds seeds continue to develop when removed from the parent plant.) Only when your lawn is in good condition should you allow cuttings to remain on the lawn. The first cut of the year should also be removed if the grass is longer than you expected. Leaving too much grass on the surface causes grass underneath to die and cause annual weeds to grow in the bare patches. You may also have to schedule cutting the grass around the actual lawn itself rather than sticking to a set day.

After a few months of a good cutting regime you should be able to notice a significant difference in the quality of your lawn. The next stage is slightly more time consuming but is very satisfying indeed. Collect from the kitchen an old dinner knife - one with a solid handle and blade to avoid any problems with blades snapping. Then select a small area of lawn - don't be over-ambitious, as you'll get very depressed trying to tackle the whole lawn at once. Pick an area with many weeds still in it. Sit comfortably and start to dig out the weeds with the blade of the knife. This method is particularly useful for dandelions - which have long tap roots which need to be removed. By using a knife it should be possible to dig down around the root of the weed without causing too much damage to the lawn. Daisies are easier to dig out, having much shallower roots, but any burdock in your lawn will cause you nightmares! You may need to cut through thick roots rather than dig further around.

Some people prefer to use a piece of piping (an old piece of water pipe will suffice). If you've got a bad back you might find it easier to use this method. Pressing the pipe down over the weed will remove a plug of soil and the weed's root. When you've removed weeds you should replace the soil you've removed. If you've got some sand then that would be ideal (maybe the children have a sand pit?), otherwise ordinary garden soil will do.

Concentrate on a small area and don't do too much at once unless you're prepared for your lawn to look very patchy. If you find that an area has too many weeds you might need to consider removing the weeds and re-seeding the area. Weeds grow in areas not sufficiently well occupied by grass. Once you've removed weeds using the knife method carefully gather up the weeds and dispose of them in the bin. Don't be tempted to compost them. Weeds are very good at growing and will love being in your compost bin. Dandelions can grow from tiny slivers of root!

Buttercups propagate in a similar way to strawberries, by sending out runners and creating a string of plants. They are quite easy to remove though as their roots are quite shallow. If you have nettles growing in your lawn remember to wear gloves when pulling them out, or collecting their remains. You can also use salt to kill weeds. But care is needed as too much will also kill the grass. Pour a small amount of salt directly onto the weed.

Around the edges of your lawn you may well have flower beds. Consider straightening the edge of the lawn once a year, using a special half-moon edging tool and either a plank to mark straight edges or a hose pipe to mark curves. This in itself will give an instant visual improvement to your lawn, and encourage you to take more care of your lawn. If you don't own an edging tool, use a spade, or ask a neighbour. If you do borrow tools off a neighbour ensure they are returned promptly and thoroughly cleaned. This will also help prevent annual weeds creeping into the lawn from the edges, as your weeding area will be much more clearly defined.

Once you've started to care for your lawn in this way you might like to encourage the grass to grow by feeding it with a nitrogen rich fertiliser during the summer months.

Removing moss from your lawn, particularly if its shaded by trees, can be hard work. You'll need a spring tined rake and plenty of time. The best time of year to rake the moss out is in the late spring, when the grass will be growing well enough to cope with being raked. Collect up the moss and either compost it, or use it to line hanging baskets! Don't be alarmed when your lawn looks tatty after removing the moss. It'll soon recover! You might want to start your fertiliser treatment after you've removed the moss. This will encourage the grass to grow and thicken up.

You'll also need to weed your borders frequently, taking care to remove weeds which are either seeding or about to seed. By doing this you're eliminating one of the causes of weeds. You might also have a problem if your neighbour has weeds in their garden, or you have waste land nearby. If you're determined to eliminate weeds completely you'll need to tackle all local weed seed sources.

Watering your lawn in hot weather will ensure that the grass keeps growing. If the grass dies because of drought it'll probably grow back once the rain starts, but so will the weeds. If you live in an area which experiences droughts regularly you might be better off not having a lawn, as it will be a constant battle. If possibly install a water butt and collect rain water. This will be useful for watering the lawn if you get hose pipe bans. Always use a water sprinkler and don't allow the grass to become waterlogged. Watering in the evening when the sun has gone down will ensure that less water is wasted due to evaporation. Grass can scorch if you water in bright sunshine.

Creating a perfect lawn for free can be achieved if you follow the above ideas. It will be much harder work than using chemicals, but you'll be confident that you're not damaging the environment.You can expect a better lawn within two years, and definate improvements within a few months.

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