Are you struggling with weed growth on your lawn, in your garden, or in your vegetable plot? Let’s explore some of the most common weeds found in Eastern Ontario and the most effective treatment options:
What: Cool-season annual plant with small white flowers.
Where: Most commonly found on thinning lawns or after topdressing. It can also be found in areas with moist soil and good sun exposure.
How to treat: Begin with hand weeding. Spray Fiesta or Weed-B-Gone (available at our garden centres). To eventually crowd out chickweed, you can overseed the lawn.
What: Annual weed. Lambs Quarter can reach 1.5 m in height and spread to a width of 40 cm.
Where: Grows in bare loose soil or tilled soil such as vegetable plots and gardens.
How to treat: Hand weed, mow (if on a lawn) and apply a spot treatment such as Scotts Pathclear (available at our garden supply store).
What: An annual succulent with red stems and clustered leaves.
Where: Often found in loose soil, appears after rototilling or cultivating. Can be found anywhere in the yard independent of soil conditions.
How to treat: Hand weeding and mulching.
What: A perennial plant that can grow to 1.2 m in height and 60 cm in width. Bull Thistle is similar, and has the same control conditions.
Where: It survives a range of moisture conditions and soil types.
How to treat: Hand weed, but be careful because of the spiked leaves. Apply a spot treatment such as Scotts Pathclear, and then treat areas with Fiesta or Weed-B-Gone.
What: A perennial weed, very common and recognizable by the yellow flower head.
Where: Lawns, gardens, ditches, and fields.
How to treat: Begin by hand weeding, then apply Fiesta and Weed-B-Gone. Overseed to crowd out the weed for the following season.
What: A perennial, evergreen creeper, Creeping Charlie is a very difficult weed to control.
Where: Loves shady, moist areas. Spreads very quickly. Spreads through runners and seed.
How to treat: Overseed in the spring and fall. Apply Pathclear.
What: A perennial with disputed status as a weed – some view it as a ground cover crop.
Where: Most soils.
How to treat: Hand weeding, apply Fiesta or Weed-B-Gone, overseed in the spring and fall.
What: Annual grass, reseeds and dies back with the frost each fall.
Where: Typically on lawns and along the edges of driveways and roads.
How to treat: Start with hand weeding. Spot treat with Pathclear, then overseed. Apply Corn Gluten Meal in the spring and fall.
What: Perennial weed with flowers appearing in the second year. The sap can cause serious burns to the skin and eyes.
Where: Grows on lawns and in fields.
How to treat: Call a professional or call 311 (City services)
If you have any questions about a weed on your property or would like treatment tips from the experts, Ritchie Feed & Seed is here to help. Our garden centres are located in Ottawa, Stittsville, Richmond, Brockville, and Winchester to serve you better.
Controlling Lawn Pests Naturally
Nematodes are naturally occurring, microscopic worms that are applied to lawns for control of White Grubs. They infest and kill their prey within 24 – 48 hours and take 7 – 21 days to clear the area. They continue to reproduce, with the young seeking out new pests to infest.
When do I apply Nematodes?
Apply Nematodes as soon as possible after purchase during rainy, overcast weather. Nematodes are sensitive to sunlight and temperatures below 13C.
Apply when insects are actively feeding with a hose-end-sprayer.
How do I apply Nematodes?
Before applying, water your lawn thoroughly (or apply them during/after a rainfall).
- · Nematodes are stored on a damp sponge that covers 3,000 Sq. feet.
- · Place the sponge into the hose-end-sprayer and fill with water, shaking vigorously for 15 – 30 seconds.
- · Attach garden hose to sprayer and turn on valve to begin spraying. Start spraying in most affected area of lawn first and complete spraying outwards to provide total nematode coverage.
- · After application, water for 30 – 45 minutes
To optimize performance: Water 30 – 45 minutes each day for the next 3 days to ensure nematodes are flushed into the root zone, where feeding grubs are present.
Other Facts: If your coverage area is less than 3,000 Sq. feet, you may apply the remaining solution to vegetable and flower gardens.
Preparing the soil for a new crop
- Turn over the soil to a depth of 10-15cm.
- Add soil amendments such as black earth and topsoil.
- Rake well and level the soil, creating a gradual slope away from the house to prevent drainage problems.
- Roll the area to firm up the soil. Water the soil afterwards to settle the soil.
Starting from seed
The best time to apply grass seed is in the spring and in the fall.
- Add turf starter and work in well into the soil. A fertilizer high in phosphorous (middle number) is needed to encourage root growth.
- Apply seed using a broadcast spreader or drop-type spreader.
- Rake lightly to incorporate the seed into the top 0.5cm of soil. Lightly roll the seedbed to ensure good contact. The seeds need to be near the surface in order to germinate.
- Water thoroughly, then keep the seedbed moist at all times, so that the seedlings never dry out.
- Keep off the new lawn until after the first mowing or turf is well established.
- Cut the new grass when it is about 8cm high. Do not cut shorter than 5 cm on the first cut.
- Fertilize regularly, after lawn in established. If grass does not fill in, fertilizing will promote root growth.
- To lay sod, choose a starting point parallel to the longest straight edge of your yard.
- Stagger the sod strips as if you are laying bricks. Butt edges and ends of sod so they fit tightly; avoid overlapping the edges.
- Avoid standing or kneeling on the sod while it’s being laid as you could leave air pockets underneath.
- Water sod lightly as you are laying it to prevent drying out.
- After sod is laid, go over it lightly with a lawn roller to squeeze out air pockets.
- Water frequently and fertilize regularly once lawn is established (at least 3 weeks later).
- In two weeks, the lawn can be mowed.
- In the spring, remove dead grass and leaves with a fan rake and aerate our lawn to allow for much needed air, water and fertilizer to get to the root system.
- Soil conditions can be improved by adding a top dress that is, a mixture of topsoil and peat moss. This is best done in late April.
- To patch up thin or bare spots, add a top dress and then over-seed.
- For best results, give your lawn a good soaking once a week to encourage root growth.
- Frequency of mowing should be dictated by the growth of the grass; more often in the spring and less often in the hot summer months. During dry periods, the lawn should be cut at a much taller height for deeper root systems.
Fertilizing your lawn
The first application of fertilizer in early spring should be a slow release, high nitrogen (first number in the formula) with crabgrass preventer if there was a problem last year. This fertilizer should be applied when the forsythia blooms. If re-seeding the lawn, do not use crabgrass preventer as it will prevent the grass seeds from germinating. In late spring, apply a high nitrogen fertilizer with a herbicide for weed control when weeds are actively growing. During the summer, organic fertilizer can be applied if the weather is cool and after a rain or heavy watering. In the fall, apply a balanced fertilizer to encourage plant growth before the onset of winter.
Dealing with white grubs
White grubs are one phase of the life cycle of various beetles. These insects are about 2cm in length with a brown head and a white body.
The grub does damage by chewing and feeding on grass roots. When you pull on the grass, you will seed that it detaches itself from the roots. Grubs attract rodents such moles, voles and skunks who also damage your lawn by disturbing the soil.
White grubs hibernate in the soil during the winter. As the soil warms in the spring, they move out of hibernation and resume feeding on the roots. During the mid-summer, the grubs pupate and emerge from the soil as beetles. Within a few short weeks, the beetles will burrow back into the soil to lay eggs and begin a new cycle.
The best time to control grubs is in May/early June when the grubs have come closer to the surface and in late summer after the beetles have laid their eggs. Pesticides used to destroy grubs should only be applied as per manufacturers directions.
Lawn care 101
Having a lawn is the equivalent to having a large garden with only one plant. People often do not realize the amount of work and care required to keep a lawn as thick and as full as people usually want them. Golf courses spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to maintain their grounds in the shape they have them in.
What do I need to know about planting a new lawn?
A new lawn from start to finish would ideally have a clean slate with properly tilled and prepared soil. Often when people are planting a new lawn they do not have a good quality soil base. The best thing to do is remove any old grass, weeds and plants that are there. If the soil is not of a good quality it is best to add some new top soil and compost at this time.
The soil base should level and graded well so the drainage is going the way you want it to. Before you plant seed or sod you should also add a fertilizer that is has a formulation like 10-20-5, which has a high phosphorus count to cause better root growth.
Your seed or sod may then be added on top of the new soil. If you are planting sod, lay it out butt to butt and then roll it afterwards to help compact it lightly into the soil. If you are planting seed, you should spread the seed as evenly as possible, then add a small layer of soil, around ¼” at most, and then roll the soil base. This helps to keep the seed covered and maintain the moisture level as well as preventing birds from eating it.
How do I pick my seed?
Most seeds are made for different areas. Our mixes are split into 3 different mixes. All of them have some perennial rye, creeping red fescue and Kentucky bluegrass.