A website from UGA Cooperative Extension

Unless you like to see yellow and purple flowers in your yard in the spring now is a good time to control treat your lawn for weeds.

It never fails. Warm temperatures in late winter and early spring get people antsy to get out in the yard. That is when they begin to notice all the “pretty” yellow and purple flowers.  My phone rings off the hook with homeowners wanting to know how to control these weeds.  If we do something about it now we won’t have to deal with as large of a mess in the spring. 

Winter annual weeds are plants that germinate in the fall grow throughout the winter and then flower and produce seed in late winter or spring.  When plants reach maturity (flowering) it is often very difficult to control them.  If they have already produced seed it is just pointless to try and kill them because they are about to die anyway. 

Now is the time to do something about these lawn pests so that next year all you have to do is enjoy the site of daffodils and fruit trees blooming.  The most common lawn herbicides are 2 and 3 way mixtures of broadleaf weed killers.  These do very good against most species of broadleaf weeds especially if the weeds are small.  The only drawback is that they have no residual activity and once more weeds emerge you will need to retreat. 

If you have Centipede or St. Augustine you could apply Atrazine to control most annual broadleaf weeds, some perennial weeds, and annual bluegrass.  This is a really good treatment that provides both preemergence and postemergence control.  This means that it will kill a lot of what has emerged and keep a lot of other weeds from ever emerging.  With Atrazine care must be taken to not over apply because it can damage desired grass species.  It also should not be used in the root zone of trees and shrubs because it can cause damage through root uptake.  Now that Bermuda is dormant it is also safe to use Atrazine on it.

Another option is to use atrazine plus a broadleaf postemergent weed killer.  This will get what has already come up and also control seed as they germinate throughout the winter.  Another preemerge herbicide option would be any of the crabgrass products that are mostly advertised for spring applications.  Although you are not trying to control crabgrass at this time the active ingredients in these products do well at controlling mostly small seeded winter annual broadleaf weeds. These are the most common products used, but there are other options for various circumstances.  Contact the office if you need more information or if you need weeds in your yard identified.  I didn’t mention it, but proper weed identification is the most important part of a weed control program. Contact your County Agent to determine which herbicides are best for your situation.

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