July 28, 2020
How to Get Rid of a Lawn Full of Weeds

In this post, we share the answer to mankind's most sought after question; how to get rid of a lawn full of weeds!

Okay, while there may be more critical matters to solve, this is one that has annoyed gardeners for years!

Lawns and gardens should be beautiful sights to behold. However, when weed grows in your lawn, their appeal goes down significantly. All of a sudden, the attractiveness begins to fade away.

The solution is to get rid of the unwanted plants. It takes effort to kill weeds. Once you begin to see them appearing, you should take quick action to prevent them from multiplying.

They can be a big problem if you fail to take the necessary measures early enough. The good thing is that you can bring your backyard back to life by sticking to the following strategies to properly Get Rid of a Lawn Full of Weeds!

Be Proactive by Preventing Weeds From Growing

The best way to kill weeds is to prevent them from growing and multiplying in the first place.

They say that prevention is better than cure. 

For this reason, when you cut grass to the height that it should be, you will be keeping weed off your lawn. Most of the time, when you fail to take care of your lawn, that’s when weeds begin to grow because you have given them the environment to do so.

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As long as you are keeping the height of your grass in check, you will be killing every weed that is growing in your lawn.

Depending on the time of the year and the grass variety you are keeping, you will know how frequent you should be mowing your lawn to avoid giving weed the environment to grow.

Find out What Weeds You Are Killing

You can only deal with what you know, right? Knowing the weed you are trying to get rid of will give you the information you need to kill it completely.

The 3 basic categories of common weeds:

  • Annual Weeds: These live and dies inside of one year, sometimes even less, and they reproduce via seeds only.
    • Examples: Goosegrass, Yellow foxtail, Spotted Spurge
  • Biennial Weeds: These live for more than one year but not more than two years
    • Examples: Dandelion, clover, and purslane
  • Perennial Weeds: These are weeds that live for more than two years and has a variety of ways it can reproduce, rhizomes, bulbs, creeping roots, tubers (underground stems), and stolons (above ground stems with roots).
    • Examples :Silverweed, Plantain, Daisy, Quackgrass

Perennial weeds can be problematic because they keep on coming back after year after year. If you fail to kill them, they will prove to be a headache and difficult to deal with.

Know the Current Status of Your Lawn

Thatch

Thatch may indicate whether your lawn is in good or bad condition. This depends on the thickness of the layer. If it measures at 0.25 to 0.5 inches, it means that it is in the normal range. Thatch in of itself is actually beneficial to your lawn.

It provides nourishment via organic matter, to your grass as well as your plants. It also slows down the evaporation of water from the soil. Keeping the ground from drying too quickly in hot weather conditions.

Thatch protects grassroots in hot weather and slows down the germination of the seeds of weeds. Conversely, if its layer is more than 0.5 inches in thickness it will likely choke your grass. Also, if it rains lightly, none of that water will get to the ground since the thatch will absorb it all.

Want to Get Rid of Thatch? See Our Post: Lawn Dethatching Guide, How to Dethatch a lawn

How Dense is Your Grass?

Once you spot empty spaces between your grass and plants, you can almost be sure that given enough time, weeds will start to grow from that area.

So, it would be wise to consider filling up those spaces with an appropriate grass that you would like to cover your whole yard. Rather than having to deal with stubborn weeds later, might as well plant the grass that you want on that spot.

Unsure on what Grass to Plant? See our post: The Best Types of Grass for Your Lawn

How Deep Are the Roots of Your Grass?

It is also important to know that for your grass to survive and continue dominating your yard, it should have at least a root length of 6 inches.


It needs it long enough for it to be able to get the necessary nutrients out of the soil. If it is not long enough, then it is almost certain that it will be overrun by weeds. This is especially true when the weeds have already taken 50% of the space in the yard.

Once you are able to make an accurate assessment of your yard you can now proceed to do the steps on how to restore it.

How to Get Rid of a Lawn Full of Weeds

Removing Crabgrass Naturally

Step 1: Clean and Mow Your Lawn

Immediately get rid of any visible weed that is growing out of place in your yard. You can do it by hand with a hand shovel, and make sure to uproot the whole thing, including the roots. Because if you leave the roots on the ground it will just grow back.

Do the cutting at high settings to keep the grass dense and standing tall. The same principle works against the weeds as it does the grass since weeds cannot flourish without proper sunlight. So, thick, dense, tall grass will also keep the weeds from growing, much less take over.

And even if the weed manages to germinate, it still is an uphill battle against the tall and thick grass.

Step 2: Apply Weed Killer

Make sure you use the appropriate treatment according to the time that you are going to apply it to your yard. 

Read directions first on the product before doing anything with it.

You can read the instructions for as many times as you need until you fully understand how and when to apply the chemical on your lawn. This is so you can avoid any mistake that could be detrimental to your grass and all the other plants in the yard.

When ready, apply the weed killer directly to the weeds on your lawn by using a sprayer, or as per directions in the box.

In any case, always spray directly at weeds and not your grass. Even if it specifically designed for weeds only, it could still damage your grass.

The Natural Way of Getting Rid of Weeds in a Lawn

If Weed Killer is not your #1 choice, don't worry - you're not alone!

Going earth-friendly nowadays is increasingly becoming a trend, somehow it no longer feels like an option, although it might still be decades away before the requirement of going natural in weed control is mandated, it certainly looks like it is the direction the world is heading.

Use vinegar and spray it directly on weeds. What it does is brown the leaves, and dry them out. Simple.

You might want to choose vinegar that contains more than 5 percent acetic acid. You can find vinegar with a stronger 10 to 20 % acetic acid volume at your home improvement store. Please keep in mind that the higher the strength the more potent it is.

Using vinegar to kill weeds in your yard works great for a few spots here and there. If your problem areas are large and expansive, it would be better to use a certified herbicide.

If, for example, you are having broadleaf weeds in your lawn, you should use the least amount of herbicide as possible to kill the weeds. This is where spot-killing comes in.

You will notice that these weeds will be at different places in your lawn, but they are not evenly distributed. For this reason, what you should do is to spot where they are and then use a broadleaf weed killer to rid your lawn of them.

We're huge fans of Bonide (BND066), it not only works on Broadleaf, but Crabgrass and other weeds as well!


Either way, vinegar is a powerful natural weed killer among all other things it can do.

Step 3: Aerate Your Lawn

Use a turf aerator, and as much as possible cover all areas of your lawn. Do it end to end and going across. An aerator helps the soil breathe bringing in oxygen to the soil and other nutrients to the roots of your grass. You can leave the plugged soil on the ground that you can later break with a rake.

After aerating your soil, the roots of the grass can penetrate deeper into the ground. Water and fertilizer will have no trouble reaching the roots as well. This especially beneficial if your lawn is a high traffic lawn.

Unsure how to properly Aerate? We got you covered: The Best Time to Aerate Your Lawn

Step 4: Herbicide and Planting New Seed

Loosen up the soil by lifting up the thatch and breaking up the aerator plugs using a power rake.

Once again, clean your yard by removing dead debris. After the soil is well-cultivated use a broadcast spreader to start distributing the seeds evenly on the surface of the soil.

Putting in the right amount of seed is important.

  • Generally, you would want to apply about 15 seeds per square inch and rake over it.
  • You can set the spreader to only 1/2 of the recommended drop rate and spread the seed in a single direction. Then try to balance it out by going into one or two other directions to produce a steady pattern.

Next, Use a pre-emergent herbicide according to the directions. Make sure you use the appropriate treatment according to the time you are going to apply it to your yard. Lay it along with the seed, and use a garden hose to mist the whole lawn.

Do not saturate the yard to avoid running off your herbicide and the seeds off the soil.

Step 5: Watering the Soil

Water Your Lawn

Generally, yards need about 1.5 inches of water a week. The amount of water your lawn needs depends largely on the type of grass that you have, the kind of soil in your yard, and the climate of the region that your property is located in.

If you are into exact measurements you can do the screwdriver test. Take a screwdriver, push it into the soil, and see if it is moist. You can also opt for automatic water sprinklers which can cover an area without washing away grass seeds.

Weed Killing Fertilizer

For added measure, use weed killing lawn fertilizer on all areas of the grass on a dry lawn. Water your yard early in the morning at least twice a week so your grass will get the necessary moisture to stay strong and continue crowding out the weeds.

You can optionally add other lawn fertilizes like nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium to keep your grass adequately nourished.

Summing It Up:

So you wanted to learn How to Get Rid of a Lawn Full of Weeds, and we hope we didn't leave you disapointed!

To sum things up; after doing everything necessary to eliminate weeds, it's time to give your grass the chance to grow.

Watering it just right, and putting in the necessary effort so that it grows green and lush will suffice for now. Although, you must continue keeping an eye on it, just in case.

Investing in seasonal treatment would be in good order too, just so you won’t have to break up your lawn again.

Daniel Simmons

About the author

TheLawnMowingKing.com brings my 25 years experience as a professional gardener and landscaper to you!

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