Time to apply pre-emergents for your lawn

Every year the dog days of summer get me down about my lawn.

By the end of August, I am thinking it is way too hot and dry for weeds to germinate, and I need to wait a few weeks to put down pre-emergent for cool season weeds.

It always seems like the cool weather will then slip up on me, and I miss getting it down early enough.

With the recent rains and the cooler weather the last couple of weeks, I think we have been given notice not to be late with our pre-emergent.

Generally we want to put down a pre-emergent herbicide in early September to help prevent weeds such as poa annua and henbit from germinating.

These weeds will begin germinating with adequate moisture when soil temperatures begin to cool. By getting your pre-emergent down early you will be ready when conditions are favorable.

With the tough mid-summer, thin turfs and recent rains, I expect that we will see a bumper crop of winter annual weeds in our lawns.

Both weeds mentioned will soon be germinating with cooler temperatures and some fall time moisture.

Henbit is probably one of the top 10 most despised lawn weeds. This weed is the one that produces purple flowers from March through May.

While the purple flowers are pretty to look at, most people would rather not have them taking over their St. Augustine yard. Another culprit of ruining springtime lawns is a small clump grass called poa annua or annual bluegrass.

Like henbit, this weed will grow all winter but will really begin to show up in late winter and early spring as soon as we get a few warm days.

Control of both winter and summer turf grass weeds starts with good cultural practices. Practices such as proper mowing heights, proper mowing intervals, good fertilization programs and a good watering program that supports deep root development go a long way in controlling weeds.

A good first step is to use a pre-emergent herbicide to prevent the weed seeds that are present from germinating.

When looking at pre-emergent products, it is important to look at the label to make sure the product is labeled for the type of grass that you have and that it controls the weeds you are after.

After applying the herbicide at the labeled rate, be sure to water it in with at least one-half inch of water. Allowing the product to lay out in the sunlight reduces the effectiveness of the product.

Hopefully, a little effort this fall will go a long way in getting your yard off to a good start next spring.

Don’t forget: if summer weeds have been a problem late February, now is a good time to put out a pre-emergent for summer weeds such as crabgrass and grass burs.

For more information on landscape maintenance contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service – Hood County Office at 817-579-3280.