Here’s the silver lining: Weeds won’t grow where they don’t have any room. A healthy, strong lawn is naturally resilient to weeds. Integrated Pest Management, also known as IPM, can be a fantastic approach to keeping common lawn weeds at bay.
This broad-based, sustainable lawn care philosophy and practice is built on proactive measures - monitor, track, prevent - that aim to suppress the problem while minimizing risks to people and the environment. That said, different weeds require different management approaches, but IPM can be a tool in which to not only address but also prevent problematic weeds from taking over your lawn.
The first step to addressing and preventing problematic weeds in your lawn is to identify the weed species first and foremost. You’ll also want to know if the weed species is invasive.
While the best defense against lawn weeds, or any pest, is a healthy and strong lawn, you can use IPM as a complement to key lawn care basics in order to spot a potential problem before it becomes a full-scale issue by doing the following:
Something to Know: Some weeds may still invade but will be easy to pull or use spot treatment. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy with improper feeding, too much water, poor soil, or mowing too low to the ground.
PRO TIP: In bare areas/areas with thin turf, overseed to help grasses outcompete weeds. Follow establishment recommendations to help promote germination and establishment of the seed. Remove weeds by hand when they are young and before they flower, set seed, form vegetative parts, or spread into patches. Remove other sources of weeds seeds. For example, thistle and millet seed bird feeders can be a source of weeds. If weeds are pervasive, completely renovate or replace weak areas of the lawn with new turf.
Under the IPM approach, it is important to use less drastic, harsh chemicals and only when absolutely needed as those chemicals will affect your soil’s health, which can cause weeds to thrive.
For a more in-depth look at IPM, check out this Homeowner’s Guide to Integrated Pest Management from the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.