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One gardener’s weedy lawn is another's wildflower meadow, so decide if you really want to combat these plants. On weedy lawns, selective lawn weedkillers will usually control the weeds, but leave the grass unharmed.
Clover in lawns - what is the best weedkiller to use? Credit: RHS/Advisory
Although the term ‘weed’ is subjective, it is usually applied to invasive plants that compete with the grass for space to grow – clover and dandelions, coarse-leaved grasses, daisies and buttercups are just some examples.
Early identification and prompt removal can alleviate large-scale problems. This can be as simple as following a yearly lawn maintenance plan. The season starts with spring and summer care but autumn care is particularly important.
There are several ways lawn weeds are often noticed:
Lawn weeds establish because they survive close, regular mowing. They spread by seed or creeping stems, and are usually problematic where the grass is sparse.
First, consider whether you wish to control the weeds using non-chemical means, such as digging out. Where these methods are not feasible, chemical controls may be needed. Choose a weedkiller that is most appropriate for that purpose by reading the label carefully before buying or using.
There are a number of non-chemical options to try first;
Lawn weedkillers may be needed where many weeds have established. When buying a lawn weedkiller, check the label to find out if it will work on the weeds in your turf.
New lawns are often severely damaged by weedkillers if applied to lawns within six months of sowing or turf-laying. However, products containing fluroxypyr (Weedol Lawn Weedkiller) as one of their ingredients are claimed to be safe to use if applied after two months of sowing or laying turf. The new turf must be growing well.
Inclusion of a weedkiller product does not indicate a recommendation or endorsement by the RHS. It is a list of products currently available to the home gardener.
Weedkillers for gardeners (Adobe Acrobat pdf document outlining weedkillers available to gardeners; see sections 1b, c and d)
Chemicals: using a sprayer
Chemicals: using safely and effectively
Chemicals: using spot and broad-scale weedkillers
Weeds: non-chemical control
What can you do with lawn clippings after applying a weedkiller?
Coarse grasses in lawns
Clovers in lawns
Lawns: autumn care
Lawns: spring and summer care
Lawn weeds: selecting weedkillers
RHS video: spring lawn care
RHS video: autumn lawn care
RHS video: weed control
Wildflower meadows: establishing
Wildflower meadows: maintenance
Woodrush on lawns
Yarrow in lawns
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We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.