| Purple Henbit Lamium amplexicaule. |
NC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener
NCSU Extension Gardener, Spring 2017
With spring on the way, we’re all itching to get out in our yards. So what can we do in late winter and early spring for proper lawn care? Now is a good time to work on weed control for those pesky winter weeds. Winter weeds include the bright-purple-flowered henbit, burrweed, and chickweed. You can apply your lawn herbicides with active ingredients of 2,4-D, mecoprop, and dicamba from February to March. No matter what products you use, remember to read the label on the container to ensure that you use the product properly and avoid any unintended consequences. Be aware that preemergent herbicides are only effective on annual grasses and so will not have any serious effects on the perennial weeds in your yard.
If your yard has any serious pest or disease damage or any environmental issues (such as our drought this past summer and fall), using preemergent herbicides can result in an even slower recovery period for your desired grass stand. If you are attempting to manage your turf with organic practices but still keep the weed pressure down, building up a dense and healthy stand of the desired grass species is the best approach.
As always, best management practices and a combined technique of mowing at the proper height and proper frequency, fertilizing at the correct times of year and at the proper rates for your grass, and controlling thatch and soil compaction are some of the most effective tools in your lawn care tool belt. To know how to best care for your specific soil, have a soil test done. Testing will provide you with recommendations for nutrients and amendments to add to your soil for optimal care of your turf.