News and Tribune


June 6, 2014

ANDERSON: I’m dreaming of a weed-free lawn

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — It’s now June, and where has the time gone? It was just yesterday when we were planting spring annuals and now we are in the sunny, 80 degree weather.

For this new homeowner, time has been spent painting walls, moving furniture and setting up my new home. Every night I look at my landscape and become overwhelmed about where to start in maintaining it.

Do I start with the weeds that are now a foot tall? Do I work on trimming my trees or do I just say the heck with it and hope to be ahead of the game next year?

Whether you are a new homeowner or have been one for many years, the process for tackling the yard work is always the same. Start with making sure that the grass stays mowed so that your neighbors don’t complain.

As we move further into the summer, the hotter it will get, and possibly the drier it will get as well. With this in mind, if we are in a dry spell, it is important not to cut the lawn too short, or it will burn the grass. The ideal mowing height is 2.5 to 3.5 inches.

After you have made sure the grass is cut (either by you or whomever you hire), the next thing to tackle are the weeds in the lawn. It is important before you start spraying weeds to make sure you have properly identified the weeds, and identified the proper chemical to use.

If weeds aren’t properly identified, you may kill the grass and not the weeds. You have to keep in mind products like Roundup are powerful, and they can kill everything they touch.

If you accidentally spray the grass as well as the weed, it is possible that you have just killed the grass. Reading the label on the bottle will help you know if the chemical you are going to use will kill the weeds that you intend to, or if you run the risk of committing an accidental grass homicide.

When you are spraying chemicals, it is important to read the label and follow all of the instructions on the label. The label will give you information on what weeds will be killed by the chemical, at what weather conditions the chemical should be sprayed and what type of protective clothing you should wear while spraying the chemical.

The label will also give you instructions about how soon after you have sprayed the chemical that you can let the dog in the backyard, or let the kids go outside and play. When you are spraying, it is a good idea not to spray yourself into a corner. If you have to walk through where you just sprayed, you will track the chemical all over the yard and other places that you don’t want it.

The best time to tackle the broadleaf weeds in your lawn such as dandelions is in the fall. Many other weeds like wild violet are also best addressed in the fall, but may be difficult to control because they spread underground. Even though the weeds seem endless, it is possible to control them, as long as you are attacking them at the right time and are using the proper chemical.

— For more information about lawn weeds and herbicide contact the Gina Anderson ANR/ECD Extension Educator at the Floyd County Extension Office, 812-948-5470, or email Gina at

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