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Weeds In Your Winter Lawn - What To Do

by Allyn Hane 21 Jan 2020

 What’s up y’all, hope your new year is going well!

I know that many of you are getting a deep freeze and snow right now - and I hope the tips in this post today will provide some hope for you that spring is not far away!

Even you folks in the southern half of the country; you have it bad too because while the cold isn’t necessarily unbearable, and you are not fighting with ice and snow - you have it worse because you can still see your lawn and it’s brown and dormant and depressing!

You may be seeing weeds popping up that scare the heck out of you too. All LCNs struggle equally this time of year. But there is good news!

The first official day of spring is March 19, 2020.

Realize that’s only 58 days away - less than 2 months. You can make it!

That being said, there is always time for education and that’s what this email is about.

These tips here today are mostly for the transition zone and southern folks, but you cool season folks will pick up some strategy as well if you follow along.

And before I get going here, did you see my recent video on the Toro Super Recycler BLACK edition

Many of you have asked me if it’s a good buy? Answer is 1000% yes! If you need a new mower and 21” is sufficient for your lawn size (less than 10,000 sq ft) then you cannot go wrong with a Super Recycler and I hope that video helps you with your decision.

Toro didn’t sponsor any of this, I do it for love and the fact that I have a problem now with buying too many mowers.


Annual BlueGrass (Poa Annua) In Warm Season Turf

So you have warm-season turf, it’s dormant right now, and you are seeing weeds pop up in it.

Probably lots of poa annua (annual bluegrass) and probably some spurge and bittercress too.

If you want to get out and spot spray and kill it (recommended), here are the products to use by grass type.

Mix up a gallon and go spot spray as needed.

Annual BlueGrass (Poa Annua)

Remember, these recommendations are for DORMANT warm-season turf with green weeds and grasses growing in it. I only recommend spot spraying or zone spraying - don’t blanket spray.

St Augustinegrass and Centipede

Atrazine is your best bet. It’s cheap and effective on most of the junk you will see this time of year, especially poa annua.

Bermuda and Zoysia

Make sure you turf is completely dormant for sure - then you can spot spray with glyphosate.

This is a non-selective herbicide that kills everything but won’t harm your bermuda or zoysia if it is dormant. It’s super cheap and works very well. Add a cap full of baby shampoo to the gallon mix to act as a sticker.

If you are not sure that you are completely dormant (it has been pretty warm) then use IMAGE® KILLS NUTSEDGE CONCENTRATE which you can pick up at most big box stores. It will kill most nasty stuff over winter too.


All Warm Season Turf

Since it has been such a warm winter, you can definitely continue to work on improving your soil health.

Remember, just because the grass is dormant, the soil is not. You can really pump in the carbon now and set a good base for this spring growth season.

The best thing you can be applying right now is the Humic12.

Liquid works great this time of year because it gets directly into the soil and doesn’t have to dissolve like a granule would. You can spray this at 9 oz/1,000 sq ft every couple weeks if you want to.

You can also spray Air-8 at 9 oz/1,000 sq ft pretty much anytime you want and continue to break bonds in the toughest clay soils.

For those of you that just can’t stop applying “stuff” to the lawn - you may as well apply the good stuff if you’re gonna do it anyway!

If the ground is not frozen, you can apply.


Guides and FaceBook Support Group

Also, e-guides will be updated in the next few weeks - including an audio version with added commentary.

Future updates are always free so if you want to pick up the 2019 version now, you will get the 2020 version PDF and audio sent to you for free, automatically when we release them.

For those of you who already have the guide from previous years - look for the update coming to your email in the next few weeks.

[Cool Season Turf] - Hybrid Organic Lawn Program

Get the Updated 2019 Cool Season Step-By-Step Lawn Guide to dominating your neighborhood.

Perfect for the following grass types:

  • Kentucky Bluegrass
  • Perennial Ryegrass
  • Turf Type Tall Fescue


[Warm Season Turf] - Hybrid Organic Lawn Program

[Warm Season Turf] - Hybrid Organic Lawn Program
Get the Updated 2019 Warm Season Step-By-Step Lawn Guide to dominating your neighborhood.

Perfect for the following grass types:

  • St. Augustine
  • Bermuda
  • Zoysia
  • Bahia
  • Centipede


Additionally, anyone who purchases one of my guides is welcome to join our private support group on FaceBook.

Still quite active in there even right now if you want to get ahead on the season.

You only have to purchase the guide one time and that’s it - future updates and membership in the group are forever.

Question that came in:
“I applied pre-emergent in fall and still have this poa annua stuff, why is that?”

Answer and Context:
I was watching Mike, the Reel Low Dad’s last video and he is still mowing, sort of (he is in Knoxville, TN).

The thing about the warm winter is that it has also been sopping wet - and that can contribute to failure in pre-emergents for sure.

But really, this is just one of those things that we need to step back and take a look at from a long term perspective.

This lawn care journey is not a “one and done” type thing.

Sometimes, especially with warm-season turf, it can take a couple-two-tree or more years to get all the problems under control.

Just because you applied pre-emergent this past fall for the first time, doesn’t mean you are safe from all weeds this winter. It’s a process and fall pre-emergent is just one step in a long journey.

I am reminded of this most excellent talk by Simon Sinek “Understanding the Game We Are Playing.”

In it, Sinek talks about companies and competition and that successful companies have a better understanding of the game and don’t play to “win” necessarily, but instead, they play hard so they can continue to play the game for decades.

They essentially, out-last the competition.

Winning is great, but getting a “win” indicates an end. If you win, the game is over.

Playing to stay in the game, on the other hand, indicates a desire for long term success that continues and improves over time.

With our lawns, we are not playing to win, instead, we are playing to remain in the game. I hope you didn’t get into this lawn care hobby thinking one day you’d stop.

After all, your lawn is alive and growing and needs continual care. It’s definitely not a “one and done” organism and neither should the strategy that you employ to care for it.

This is how you should approach your lawn.

How Does This Relate?

Because controlling weeds in your lawn, especially the ugly ones like poa annua, is a long term plan of attack.

If you just started caring for your lawn in the last couple years, how many years prior did poa annua thrive and multiply and drop seeds previously?

It’s got a head start on you.

The same goes for our friends up north with crabgrass.

A lawn that has had crabgrass infestation for many years can take a good 3-4 years to get under control.

It takes diligence in employing both a pre- and post-emergent strategy.

Dandelions and clover, same thing. Seeds seeds seeds everywhere, and no pre-emergent for these!

That’s the last thing to think about are the seeds in the dirt. We always talk about doing overseeding to thicken up the lawn.

But have you considered that all those weeds and problem grasses (poa and crabgrass) also drop seeds year after year?

Now the thing about that is that not all of them germinate the very next year.

Seeds dropped can remain dormant in the soil for many seasons and then when conditions are just right, they germinate.

This year, with the very mild winter we have had so far, my friends with warm-season turf in the transition zone are definitely seeing abnormal conditions that are waking up more dormant seeds than ever - especially in the case of poa annua.

Guess what though cool-season folks?

You are going to have issues too this year because of your mild winter.

I’ll talk more about this in an upcoming podcast, but grubs are going to be a major concern for you this year if we don’t get some good cold blasts in Feb. (there is a FRESH podcast up from last week if you missed it - it’s all right here.)

Lots of rambling today I know - this is the first email of the season and I hope you got something from it.

Need a good playlist to EnjoyTheMow or EnjoyTheSnowBlow - try this one that I made for you. I plan to make this a regular thing for the 2020 season.

I’ll see you in the lawn!

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