Managing and Controlling Weeds During Winter Months

Weeds are persistent intruders that can mar the beauty and health of your landscape. With their ability to thrive in a variety of conditions, they can quickly take over your beds, grass, and hardscaped areas if left unchecked. While manual weeding is an option, chemical weed control practices can offer greater efficiency and long-term management solutions. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into various weed control methods and focus on effective strategies for tackling winter weed growth.

Chemical Weed Control: A Brief Overview

Chemical weed control has become a staple in modern landscaping practices due to its efficiency and ability to manage widespread weed infestations. While manual weeding remains an option, it’s often time-consuming and labor-intensive. Chemical methods, on the other hand, can target weeds at various growth stages, offering both preventive and curative solutions.

Pre-Emergent Herbicides: Stopping Weeds Before They Sprout

Preventing weeds from taking root is often easier and more effective than dealing with established growth. Pre-emergent herbicides are a valuable tool in the battle against weeds. They come in both granular and liquid forms, providing options for different application methods. These herbicides create a barrier in the soil that inhibits weed germination. For optimum results, two pre-emergent applications are recommended, and in regions with extended growing seasons, a third application may be necessary.

It’s important to note that pre-emergent herbicides offer more flexibility in application compared to their post-emergent counterparts. This makes them an essential part of any weed management plan.

Post-Emergent Herbicides: Targeted Control for Visible Weeds

When weeds have already sprouted, post-emergent herbicides step in. It’s crucial to choose the right type of post-emergent herbicide, as some are non-selective and can harm desirable plants. Non-selective post-emergent herbicides are ideal for open areas like driveways and sidewalks, where precision application is less critical. However, for specific weed problems in your grass, a selective post-emergent weed killer should be employed. These products target only the weeds, leaving your grass unharmed. For tailored advice on selecting the appropriate post-emergent herbicides, consulting a lawn care professional, like our team at Chapel Valley, is recommended.

Related: The Path to a Comprehensive Landscape Plan

Mulching: Natural Weed Suppression

Chemical methods aren’t the only way to control weeds. Mulching, a natural and eco-friendly approach, can help prevent weed growth by depriving them of sunlight and space to germinate and grow. Applying mulch to your beds, especially in shaded or tight areas, can significantly reduce weed occurrence. While some weeds may still push through, their prevalence will be notably diminished compared to bare soil areas.

Winter Weeds: Special Considerations

During winter months, weed growth may slow down, but it doesn’t come to a complete halt. In regions with mild winters, certain weed species can remain active and continue to grow. To effectively manage winter weeds, consider a combination of pre-emergent and post-emergent treatments, along with strategic mulching. Even if weed growth appears minimal during winter, it’s a critical time to prepare for the upcoming growing season.

Crafting Your Effective Weed Control Plan With Chapel Valley

Weeds can undermine the health and aesthetics of your landscape, but with the right strategies, you can effectively manage them year-round. Whether you opt for pre-emergent herbicides to stop weeds before they sprout, post-emergent treatments for visible growth, or the natural suppression of mulching, your approach should be tailored to your specific needs when controlling weeds.

Remember to prioritize safety when working with chemicals, using proper personal protective equipment (PPE), and following recommended application guidelines. If you’re unsure about the best approach for your landscape, request a consultation from our professional team. We can offer expert advice, provide top-of-the-line services, and ensure the long-term beauty and health of your commercial outdoor spaces.

Understanding Crabgrass and How to Keep it From Taking Over

What is crabgrass and why is it so difficult to get rid of? Crabgrass is a low-growing weed that can produce many stems, resembling the legs you would see on a crab growing horizontally. Crabgrass, scientifically known as Digitaria, is a persistent and unwelcome intruder that can quickly take over commercial properties, undermining the aesthetics and health of lawns and landscapes. Its rapid growth, resilience, and ability to spread easily make it a challenging weed to control. It is important to know the characteristics of crabgrass, understand its life cycle, and explore effective strategies to prevent its invasion and keep your commercial properties free from this troublesome plant.

Read more »

Dormant Pruning

“Winter” or “dormant” pruning is an essential horticultural practice that an experienced landscape contractor will utilize at their discretion. This is essentially a hard cutback (more than you would cut with hand pruners or shears during a typical pruning session) to reshape the plant and encourage new growth to form towards the inside of the plant. As plants are pruned during the summer months, a landscaper will strategically take as little plant material off during each pruning to avoid plant stress during hot temperatures. Read more »

Operational Excellence

Finding a landscaping vendor that has every cylinder firing is getting more difficult to obtain these days. With so many more contractors to choose from now than ever before, there is a higher possibility of choosing the wrong one. Every now and again you will find a vendor that seems to be performing at the top of their level. Those are the ones you will do anything to keep. Throughout my career, I have noticed most of these top performers have one major thing in common: operational excellence.

Is the vendor professional in the most basic forms? As in, do they have a clean, presentable service vehicle and uniform? Something so simple, almost petty, is extremely important. If your landscaper pulls up to your job site every week in a dirty, unmarked vehicle with no formal uniform, how can you safely determine if those are the people you think they are? Not only does it not look professional, not knowing who or what those workers belong to could intimidate some of your residents or tenants. Your renters have better things to focus on. Do not allow your vendor to draw negative attention to themselves, because eventually, it will become a reflection on you.

Organization is key with any successful vendor. Let us start with scheduling. Does the contractor show up as agreed upon in the contract, consistently at the same intervals for each service? Or do they seem to be showing up when they can and having to perform make up services or “IOU” favors for lack of consistent service? A lot of this erratic behavior is stemmed from a poor organization or structure at their company. A great vendor will have a consistent schedule for the season, always having the correct equipment and people to perform the job. Of course, there will be times where something will go wrong even with a “perfect” vendor. Maybe a few folks called in sick or they had a breakdown on the highway which caused them to stray off schedule. What makes them a great vendor is that they let you know, and they communicated that to you and let you know the new plan. That brings me to the next point: communication.

Do you hear from your vendor once a month, once a quarter, or every week? Depending on the type of work performed and how often they are contractually required to visit your property, you may need to hear from one vendor more than another. Are they being proactive in communicating: schedule changes, pricing for enhancements, hazardous items, general cost-saving measures, or general notes of the property each week? Or are you having to reach out to them for every item? A well-oiled contractor will always have their communication down and you will know their every move.

These points discussed are some of the common trends or habits I have noticed that can separate a great vendor from a poor one. A vendor with operational excellence will be your eyes and ears for your property and will be a true partner. One should desire a company that makes your life easier, not harder. Make sure you choose one that fits your mold and takes your property to the next level with excellent operational fluidity. You won’t regret it.

Mike Bauer
Chapel Valley Landscape Company