Why do we see so many winter weeds in January and February?
The answer is quite simple. We missed the pre-emergent window late last summer. Weed germination is mostly determined by soil temperatures. Once the temperatures start to cool down slightly, (typically in October for Central Texas) the cool season weeds will start to germinate. Most of these are of the broad leaf variety and start off very small down in the soil. You won’t see most of them from October through December since they are down in the canopy of your lawn. Normally once January hits you will start to see a large amount of them in the yard and that is when you decide to do something about it. In reality the time to take action is in September.
Pre-emergent applications have become a great tool in weed management. We can control weeds before they become a problem by creating a barrier in the soil that will kill off any weeds that decide to germinate. This way the problem is dealt with months before you would normally see it. Getting on this type of program will actually help reduce the amount of pesticides that are used during the year since it is harder to control weeds once they reach a mature stage in their life.
The application is pretty simple. Normally a liquid product will be applied to all of the turf on the property with a boom or hose end applicator. It is then watered in to move it into the soil where it will remain for a few months. The products are generally rotated every year with different types of products to help prevent resistant varieties of weeds forming. Timing is crucial for the late summer application and the one for late winter that will control the summertime weeds.
This is a great tool to have in the tool bag for weed management and normally needs a trained professional to apply the product for best results.