There's so much more to a great yard than just mowing the lawn.

Weed to the Finish Line

I am so tired of weeding. I swear I pull them and when I return, there’s even more. Talk about feeling like gerbil on a wheel. If you feel like you’ve been bombarded by weeds this year, you’re not alone.

The regular rainfall we’ve received this summer has caused a lot of weed seeds to germinate. This has led to more weeds than normal, many more than dry years.

But before you give up, hang in there for a few more weeks.

Annual weeds are about to disperse their seeds.

Wilting Redroot Pigweed

This redroot pigweed is wilting, which will cause it to speed up seed development.

With the change in weather, a lot of weeds have started wilting. Wilting is a major signal that promotes seed development. The hot, dry conditions cause weeds to speed up their development so they can finish their life cycle and disperse their seeds before they die.

A little effort will go a long way.

If you can remove the weeds before they spread their seeds, you will have less work next year. If you don’t, you’ll potentially have a bigger weed problem next year. What you do in the next four weeks will have a big impact on your weed situation in 2016.

We won’t get many more new weeds.

Keep in mind that once August is over, few weed seeds will germinate. The light quality in late summer prevents most weed seeds from germinating. This keeps them from growing right before the cold weather of winter kills them. If you can hang on for one more month, you will have reached the finish line. The end of weeding is in sight.

So what should you do? Here’s what I recommend based on how much time and energy you have.

Best Strategy for Lots of Time and Energy:

  • The goal is to remove as many weeds as possible and prevent new weeds in the future.
  • Hand pull or spray the weeds.
  • If you spray, come back and remove the dead weeds.
  • Implement long term control measures like mulch or weed preventer. Learn more from  Winning against Weeds and Preventing Weeds in Rock Mulch.

Baseline Strategy for Little Time or Energy:

  • The goal is to remove as many flowers and immature seeds as possible.
  • Removing the stems, leaves and roots of existing weeds is not a priority because annual weeds will die in fall.
  • Mow with a clipping bag to collect the debris.
  • If you can’t mow, string trim instead and rake the waste so you can collect it.
  • Bag the debris and dispose of it (not in the compost pile).
Tall Prickly Lettuce

Pull or string trim tall weeds like this prickly lettuce before it sets seed

If you’ve got a medium amount of time or energy, you can do some of each strategy.

Divide your landscape into areas that you can prioritize. High visibility or high use areas should come first. You can also include areas like your property line in your high priorities to keep your relationship with your neighbors intact. Use the “best strategy” for those areas. Use the “baseline strategy” for low visibility or low use areas.

If you’re tired of weeding, hang in there. The finish line is in sight. A little extra effort will go a long way. Imagine your future self cheering you on.

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