Tools Of The Trade For Weed Control

Ever wonder what your weed control specialist uses to tame those wild and unruly weeds in your yard? These days, it pays to know how your commercial weed control company deals with annoying weeds, especially given how it can affect the overall appearance of your yard.

The following is a brief look at the type of tools lawn care companies and weed control specialist use to combat unwanted weeds and grasses.

Pre-emergence Herbicides

As the name hints, pre-emergence herbicides are designed to target weed seeds prior to germination. These herbicides work by inhibiting and disrupting enzymes essential to weed germination and growth. Unlike their post-emergence counterparts, pre-emergence herbicides don't target weeds that are already established.

Timing is a crucial element when it comes to using pre-emergence herbicides. Under ideal circumstances, these herbicides should be used two to three weeks prior to germination. Your weed control specialist will also determine the problem weed's life cycle and decide the best time for treatment. For instance, summer annual weeds must be treated during the early spring for pre-emergence herbicides to have any effect.

Some lawn care companies may use organic methods to control weeds at the pre-emergence stage. These tactics include the use of corn gluten meal, which is a natural pre-emergence herbicide based on corn byproducts. Mulch may also be used as a pre-emergence herbicidal measure by crowding out light sources needed for weeds to germinate and thrive.

Post-emergence Herbicides

Post-emergence herbicides are commonly used for problem weeds that have already established themselves. These herbicides can be used at any time during the weeds' active growth period, preferably when the weeds are relatively young.

Most post-emergence herbicides come in selective and non-selective forms. The former selectively targets broadleaf weeds that grow annually, biennially and perennially, while the latter indiscriminately targets all plants.

Post-emergence herbicides are usually dispensed in the following forms:

  • Liquid sprays – Liquid sprays are highly effective, since they're readily absorbed by the plants' leaves. Liquid sprays work faster than their granular counterparts, but they require careful application to avoid damaging other plants, in many cases.
  • Granular materials - Granular post-emergence herbicides offer easier application than their liquid counterparts, despite the difference in effectiveness over time. Early morning applications are usually ideal for granular herbicides, since they must stick to the leaves in order to be effective.

Weed and Feed

Some lawn care companies may use "weed-and-feed" products to deal with weeds while giving your lawn the nutrients it needs to thrive. Weed-and-feed products effectively kill two birds with one stone by combining herbicides with fertilizer, helping lawn care experts reduce their overall labor while insuring effective weed control, in most cases.

However, not every case is idea for weed-and-feed products. In order for weed-and-feed products to be effective, the best time for weed control has to match up with the best time for fertilizing. There's also a potential risk of overdosing the lawn itself with too much herbicide, which could happen if weed-and-feed products are used for follow-up fertilizing.

Cultural Practices

Surprisingly, the presence of weeds usually indicates a problem with the lawn environment itself. In this light, weed removal is more akin to treating the symptom rather than the problem itself. Getting to the underlying problem means using a variety of cultural practices to ensure an environment where weeds can't thrive.

Effective soil pH management, carefully controlled watering and the use of thick grass cover and mulch to crowd out weeds are tactics commonly used by professional lawn care and weed control specialists. Aeration is also commonly used to help stimulate grass growth and prevent weeds from establishing themselves within the turf.

The above is just a small sampling of the type of tools commonly used by lawn care companies and weed control specialists from sites like to combat weeds and other undesirable grasses.