Fall weed control in turfgrass
Fall is the best time for controlling broadleaf weeds in turf and lawns.
Following one of the most stressful summers in Michigan history, many weeds have seized the opportunity and moved into areas formerly occupied by turf. If you’ve struggled to control weeds such as ground ivy, wild violet, black medic, dandelion or white clover throughout the spring and summer, fall is the best season to eliminate these weeds from your patch of green.
Fall is the ideal time because the weeds are storing carbohydrates in their root system and are more susceptible to herbicide applications. So if your turf has been overtaken by a bevy of broadleaf weeds, applying a herbicide in late September or early October will make a difference in what you battle next year.
Apply the herbicides on a sunny day when rain is not in the forecast for 24 hours. We want the herbicides to dry on the leaf surfaces and not be immediately washed off. There are many different herbicides that could be used including the most common three-way broadleaf weed control mixtures. As with any pesticide application, always make sure to wear the appropriate safety attire and follow all label recommendations.
As many have lamented over the years, the only shortcoming of fall broadleaf weed control is that you really don’t get to watch them die. You generally won’t see the twisting, shriveling and discoloration that often accompany herbicide applications, but next spring the weeds will be gone or at least their numbers will be significantly thinned.
Dr. Frank's work is funded in part by MSU's AgBioResearch.