Spring is almost here, and we hope you’re as excited as we are. We at FLD can’t find a lot of bad things to say about the most beautiful time of the year. Except one thing: weeds. Spring is a time of growth, and that applies to weeds too. There are lots of problem weeds in the spring, and you’re likely to see sprawling carpets of clover and lots of crabgrass patches starting to pop up (hopefully not in your yard), but the weed we’d like to focus on today is one that has only become a problem in the last few years. It’s called burnweed, a dark green broadleaf weed that spouts out of the ground and grows very fast. It doesn’t always show up, but in a year with a mild winter or early spring, it’s liable to start showing up everywhere. Maybe you wouldn’t call this past winter “mild,” since we did have some really cold weeks, but it does seem to be warming up early this year, so watch out.

Image result for burnweed

Burnweed doesn’t grow in patches or carpets, and it poses virtually no threat to your grass; the only real problem is that it grows much taller than the grass and looks ugly, and it multiplies quickly if allowed to get tall enough to develop seed heads. and there’s one more problem, which is why we’re focusing on it today. It cannot be prevented by any means. Crabgrass, for instance, is a problematic weed that is harder to eliminate and will overcrowd and choke out surrounding turf, but it is largely preventable with pre-emergents. Anyone receiving lawn treatments can avoid many weeds altogether. But burnweed germinates and grows in the thatch layer of the grass, which is so shallow that it is above the barrier that a pre-emergent creates to prevent weeds from coming up.

But there’s good news. Burnweed is exceptionally easy to eliminate. It is a very weak weed for the same reason it is impossible to prevent—it doesn’t have deep or expansive roots. The first tip (which is necessary to good lawn health in any case) is mow, mow, mow! Burnweed will die on its own if not allowed to grow to a good height. Mow once a week or more and it should take care of itself. Also, if you’re inclined towards a more hands-on approach, they are the easiest weeds in the world to pull up. and they are very susceptible to post-emergent treatments, and (what a coincidence!) that happens to be a specialty of ours. But the all-important thing here is mowing. We really can’t stress enough the importance of mowing for the general health of your turf, but in this case it’s especially important. A tall weed is a stronger weed and it won’t respond as well to post-emergent herbicides, and mowing alone can usually deal with this weed, but also, if it’s allowed to get tall enough, it will develop seed heads and begin to spread rapidly. So, as always, cut that grass, people!

If you’ve got any other questions about burnweed or whatever lawn issue you can think of, give us a call at 256-442-1060 or email us at fld@fldgardens.com.