Weeds, what to do?

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by RigglePLC, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,321

    If you are organically inclined--or for your customers who prefer no chemicals--what is the best approach? Compost?
    Organic fertilizer like Milorganite or a chicken manure pellet? Feather meal? Corn gluten meal?
    Perhaps a dense type of Kentucky bluegrass. Maybe Midnight?
    Or a super-dense fine fescue such as Radar chewings fescue?
    Humic acid or kelp extract?
    More iron and micronutrients?
    Or overseeding with clover or Mini-clover clover to increase the nitrogen in the soil?
    I hope I can try one sqft of fine fescue seeded into an area that usually has heavy crabgrass (seed in April).

    What would happen if you seeded a patch of violets with a dense-type chewings fescue? (At triple the usual seeding rate?) What about ground ivy? Crabgrass? Clover? Spurge?
  2. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,836

    Tall dense grass with proper moisture and ph will naturally choke out weeds (mostly)

    the thing is most people want the golf course/baseball field look
    That’s done with chemicals

    a non chem lawn is going to be 4” long/high
    Not 2 or less

    and it actually costs more to chase ph and micro Nutrients than the most expensive chem program out there.

    this is why chem is done in the first place , it’s quicker and cheaper
    hort101 likes this.
  3. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,917

    The best defense against weeds is a thick healthy lawn. You must concentrate on good management practices. Irrigate properly, mow high, leave clippings, soil test and use the best seed for your location and usage. There are now effective natural or low impact postemergent controls for clover, ground ivy and dandelions. There is a new pre-emergent that is effective on crabgrass. Currently, I am not aware of any effective natural control products for violets, nutsedge, false green kyllinga and others. When offering a "low impact" program (I hate the term organic as it means different things to different people) discuss with your client what the options are and let them decide if you can use conventional pesticides. You can also improve results with various soil inputs that do much more than conventional fertilizers.
    oqueoque, hort101 and That Guy Gary like this.
  4. OP

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,321

  5. phasthound

    phasthound LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,917

    I'm not a big fan of the old corn gluten. It's expensive, doesn't work very well and add too much N.
    jonthepain likes this.
  6. OP

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,321

    Mow-high works fine--but not for all weeds and grass types.
    Depends on the weed types. Short mowing probably reduces violets--probably also ground ivy.
    Does short mowing reduce clover? Oxalis?

    Take look at the types of weeds and height of cut in your customer portfolio. What do you see?

    Take a look at the types of grass. Can you spot patches of red fescue that are so dense no weeds can grow? Possibly these are patches of chewings fescue. If you use a string trimmer to short-cut violets--will that be a help--or not?
    Naturally, this needs an experiment.
    What if I transplanted a violet into a patch of dense fine fescue?
    What if one were to plant a heavy dose of top-quality fine fescue seed around a violet plant?
    My scissors are handy (as soon as I find them)--what happens if violet plants are cut short?
    Delay expected--heavy snow predicted.

    And...what would happen if a heavy crabgrass area were planted with high rates of a dense seed such as Midnight Kentucky bluegrass? (Even if in winter?) We should all know by the Fourth of July. I planted Midnight on a crab grassy area. On one sqft plots I planted Midnight (over snow) at one, two, three and four teaspoons per one sqft--(about 10,20,30, and 40 lbs per thousand sqft).
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
  7. OP

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,321

    I took a picture. Not much snow when the "Midnight" Kentucky bluegrass seed was sown in January. There was no seed bed preparation. Temp was about 37 F. However heavy snow is expected within two days. Clockwise--about 10,20,30 and 40 pounds per thousand sqft.
    Results expected in 4 months.

    View attachment 394043

    SA400242 (2).JPG

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