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Weeds 101

As anyone who has struggled with weeds in their yard knows, weeds are extremely tenacious.  Consider the fact that just one dandelion plant makes up to 15,000 seeds, each of which can survive six years in the soil—creating 15,000 more seeds when it sprouts and matures.  It is no wonder that weeds create a battle that few folks win on their own!
Turf Wizard’s 7-Round Lawn Care Program provides weed control and the continuous nutrition necessary for the optimal health of your lawn.  The best defense against weeds is a thick, healthy lawn.  Dense grass crowds out weeds and blocks the sunlight their seeds need to germinate.  Like other growing things, the health of your lawn depends on a steady, consistent, nutritious diet with multiple applications throughout a growing season.   
In addition to Turf Wizard’s Lawn Care Program, homeowners should do the following to help eliminate stubborn weeds:
Water grass infrequently and deeply. Frequent, light watering causes shallow roots and helps annual bluegrass, crabgrass, chickweed, sedges and other weed seeds germinate. If you water too little, the lawn suffers while spotted spurge, Bermuda grass, quackgrass and other weeds adapted to drier soil thrive. Instead, provide your lawn with infrequent, deep soakings. Lawns need about 1 inch of water per week.   

Mow higher. Mowing too low weakens turf by reducing the ability of a grass leaf to produce enough nutrients. It also lets light hit the soil surface, which helps crabgrass and goosegrass seeds sprout and grow.  Mow at the highest level recommended for your grass—usually between 2 and 4 inches.
Learn to read weeds. Sometimes weeds are a clue to soil or site problems. Correct them so your landscape favors lawn grasses and discourages weeds. For example, ground ivy grows best where the soil surface remains damp. It also thrives in areas too shady for good grass growth. So consider improving soil drainage through Core Aeration—removing small cores of soil—if ground ivy is a problem. And, to allow more light to reach the surface of the soil, selectively remove tree branches in shady areas. 
Common Weeds: 
Crabgrass is an annual with branching, spreading stems. Its coarse, blue-green to purplish leaf blades can be smooth or hairy, depending on the species. Flower heads with several fingerlike spikes rise from narrow stems.   Crabgrass thrives in lawns mowed shorter than 2 inches, underfed lawns, and those watered frequently and lightly. Thick, deeply irrigated turf is the best control.   

Dandelion is a broadleaf perennial recognized by bright-yellow flowers and a large, flat rosette of leaves rising from a long, fleshy taproot. Dandelions favor thin turf.    

White clover is a broadleaf perennial that used to be included in grass seed mixes. Also called white Dutch clover, it's distinguished by three-lobed leaves with a crescent-shaped white band. The plant spreads by creeping stems and thrives in sparse, undernourished turf with excessive moisture.

Ground ivy is a broadleaf perennial with square stems and bright-green rounded leaves with scalloped edges. It reproduces by seed and creeping stems that root as they touch the ground.   Also called creeping Charlie, it prefers damp soil and shade.     

Yellow woodsorrel is a broadleaf perennial, although it might act as an annual in some regions. Also known as oxalis, it has cloverlike leaves and yellow flowers, each with five petals. Plants spread by roots and seed. This weed is difficult to control, and does best in thin turf watered frequently and lightly.

Quackgrass is a perennial grass with flat light-green to blue-green leaves. It spreads by seeds and aggressive underground stems, called rhizomes.  
Yellow nutsedge is a grasslike perennial sedge with triangular stems and 1/4-inch-wide leaves. Also called yellow nutgrass, it reproduces by seed and tubers that grow at the root tips. Tubers often persist in the soil, making established plants difficult to control.

Spotted spurge is a broadleaf annual that grows close to the ground in a fast-spreading mat. Its small leaves are green with a brown-red spot on top. Cut stems exude a milky liquid.