Our best tips for preventing and getting rid of weeds
Weeds – unsightly and sneaky, they can be the source of much frustration for lawn cultivators (and gardeners in general!) Getting on top of them is essential to staying sane, particularly if you’re seeking that special sense of lawn pride. Much like everything else that is natural and alive, lawns need plenty of attention to ensure things stay on track, and issues like weeds don’t begin to sprout – literally. We try to look at this maintenance as a fun project, like growing vegetables or herbs, rather than an annoyance, but it can certainly become disheartening when a weed problem gets out of control and you’re not sure how to fix it.
The good news is – a healthy Paradise Kikuyu lawn goes a long way to leaving most pesky weed problems behind! Thanks to its strong and fast-growing nature, Kikuyu grass is excellent at ‘crowding out’ weeds – meaning it outcompetes them in taking up space, giving weeds less opportunity to grow. So, with a thriving Kikuyu lawn in your backyard, you’re unlikely to have a large outbreak of weeds. Despite this, however, they may still happen from time to time. If you’re seeing weeds poking their heads through, there are several options for controlling and eradicating them. Following some simple steps should ensure that weeds won’t get the better of you, and you can continue to enjoy your backyard Paradise.
What causes weeds in a lawn?
Just like humans can get sick if their minimum needs to survive properly are not met, so too can your lawn. It’s standard for all grasses to be home to some opportunistic weed seeds that are primed to germinate if the environment becomes compromised. Weak areas where your grass is thinning or struggling to grow are most vulnerable to weed infestation. These can commonly include:
- Areas where the lawn meets concrete (such as along the driveway or footpath)
- Oversaturated areas of your lawn, due to overwatering or heavy storms
- Overly sunny or shady spots
- Areas where there is compacted soil
- Areas where soil has been disturbed by digging
- Areas where there is not enough nutrient rich, healthy soil
Because weeds are excellent at surviving and reproducing, they are commonly able to dominate an area that isn’t thriving. Thankfully, Kikuyu makes an excellent match for weeds, as it is incredibly hardy and will get to work self-repairing and regaining control of its territory with just a little bit of assistance.
How to prevent weeds from growing in your lawn?
The number one way to prevent weeds is to maintain a healthy, lush lawn. A thriving Paradise Kikuyu lawn will already have you three steps ahead of weeds. Because weeds grow where there is space for them, a thick, dense lawn reduces available avenues. If you notice you have any bare or thin areas, you should aim to reseed as quickly as possible to thicken up your lawn density. Proper fertilisation will feed the lawn and keep it growing and healthy throughout the year. As with any control method, attacking the weeds before they produce seed will make ongoing maintenance easier. Regular mowing will cut down any taller weeds, and will also stimulate the Kikuyu to grow. Using a catcher, and composting waste material will also help to reduce the number of weed seeds that are put back onto the lawn. Check out our article on maintaining the perfect lawn for more tips.
How to get rid of weeds in your lawn
If weeds are already present, there are a few ways to get rid of them.
Staying on top of weeds when they pop up & before they spread is the best way to keep them at bay. We recommend doing a quick once over each week and attacking any small weeds that you see by hand. When removing weeds by hand, the most important thing is to ensure you have removed all of the roots. The bigger the weed, the bigger and stronger the roots will be. If you’re struggling to get deep enough to get a decent grip with just your hand alone, you can use a weeding trowel or hoe. These are inexpensive and can be bought from any gardening shop or even the supermarket. These tools will help you to extract the entire weed, roots and all, and will mean it will be gone for good.
While we’re not huge fans of putting chemicals on our Kikuyu lawn, sometimes they are necessary if you have a large weed infestation. There are two categories of herbicides: non-selective like glyphosate, which will kill both weeds as well as your grass, and selective, which target specific types of weeds your lawn is harbouring but will leave your grass intact. Obviously, you want to go with a selective herbicide – but even within this category, there are some that will not be appropriate for Kikuyu. It’s very important to choose a herbicide that will have the desired effect on the weeds but avoid damaging your lawn.
The first step is identifying which weeds are growing in your backyard. If you’re not sure, take some photos then investigate online, or take them to your local garden centre and have a chat with them about the right herbicide choice for that particular weed. Make sure to mention that your lawn is Kikuyu, and also highlight the particular areas where you are having trouble.
When you are armed with the correct herbicide, be sure to spray as per the label instructions. Mixing at a higher rate won’t be more effective and could damage your overall lawn health. Generally, you should see your weeds die off in 10-14 days.
Natural weed killer
For those that don’t want to apply chemical herbicides to their lawns and gardens, there are several organic options available, or you can even DIY a recipe. One we love is:
- 1 litre of white vinegar
- 1 cup of salt
- 1 tbsp of dishwashing liquid, which will act as a surfactant.
Mix well then apply directly onto the weed, avoiding any areas you don’t want to kill!
Using these tips should help tackle any weed issues that pop up in your backyard, and get you one step closer to that lawn pride moment you’re dreaming of. Good luck!