A weedy lawn is not only unattractive but also creates a lot of frustration for many homeowners.
Stubborn invasive weeds like crabgrass are challenging to eliminate and quickly sprout on bare areas of a lawn.
Grassy and broadleaf weeds absorb many essential nutrients needed to maintain a healthy lawn.
They will easily take over your grass.
So, can grass take over weeds if weeds crowd out your lawn?
Healthy grass will prevent new weeds from sprouting and crowd out any existing weeds. Some grass types are more efficient at dominating weeds than others. Proper lawn care and overseeding are also crucial for effective weed control.
Allowing the grass to grow taller and overseeding bare spots ensures a lush lawn without many pesky weeds.
Read on to learn about the best types of grass for overtaking weeds and some tips for maintaining a beautiful lawn.
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The Best Types of Grass for Weed Control
Grasses with a bunch-type growth habit, such as tall fescue and perennial ryegrass, do not spread enough to cover bare spots.
A thin lawn is more prone to weeds because they thrive on bare ground.
Self-spreading grass types like Kentucky bluegrass, zoysia, and Bermuda grass are more effective for the long-term control of lawn weeds.
Kentucky bluegrass is a cool-season grass commonly found in northern lawns.
But it may also be grown in transitional zones with proper care.
Kentucky bluegrass is often mixed with other grass types, like tall fescue, in the transitional growing zone.
While it grows best in full sun, Kentucky bluegrass has a low drought tolerance.
It requires more water during the hot summer months to prevent it from going dormant.
Kentucky bluegrass is slow to germinate from grass seed, but it spreads quickly once the roots have become established.
This dense growth is an excellent deterrent against annoying lawn weeds.
Zoysia is a warm-season grass, but its cold tolerance is also suitable for lawns in the transition zone.
Since zoysia grows laterally more than vertically, it works well to control a weedy lawn.
It takes longer for zoysia to become established than other types of grass seed.
But its deeper root system means improved drought and heat tolerance.
This dense grass is hardy to light foot traffic and creates a fairly durable lawn.
While zoysia prefers lots of sunlight, it is more shade tolerant than other warm-season grasses.
Bermuda is the best choice of grass for warm climates because it is sensitive to cool soil temperatures.
This warm-season grass thrives in well-drained soil with full sunlight and is less tolerant of shade than zoysia.
Bermuda is often considered a grassy weed.
It will quickly take over other grass types and weedy lawns because of its aggressive growth rate.
Due to its deep roots, Bermuda grass is resistant to drought and heat, with its peak growing season occurring in the middle of summer.
The extensive root system of Bermuda grass may grow as deep as 6’ feet underground.
Bermuda grass is resilient and protects against excessive foot traffic.
It is frequently used on golf courses and athletic fields.
Should Weeds Be Removed Before Overseeding?
Use weed control techniques before overseeding to give your grass the best chance to grow.
While it is possible to overseed a weedy lawn, a thick covering of weeds will prevent essential nutrients from reaching the grass seeds.
Since weeds thrive during the summer months, it is best to overseed in the spring before they have a chance to sprout.
Fall is also a good time for overseeding because the weeds will die out.
If you overseed in the fall, plant grass seeds within 45 days before the first frost to give them a chance to establish roots before going dormant.
Be sure to thoroughly cover any bare spots on your lawn with grass seeds to prevent weeds from sprouting in these areas.
Use a seed spreader for more even lawn coverage.
Preventing Weeds When Planting Grass
There are several ways to prevent fewer weeds when planting new grass.
Choosing a high-quality grass seed with a 0% weed seed content is important.
The weed seed content is usually printed on most bags of grass seed.
This ensures you are not actively planting weeds alongside your grass.
Avoid spreading hay over your entire lawn to protect your grass seeds as they grow, as it usually contains some form of hay or weed seeds.
Instead, spread a thin layer of mulch over your grass seeds to protect them from harsh weather and retain moisture.
If weeds sprout with your grass, pull them as soon as possible.
Do not use any pre-emergent herbicides, as they may also prevent your grass seed from germinating.
You will need to water your grass seeds frequently to encourage germination and healthy growth.
When your grass comes in thick and lush, it will prevent the germination of weed seeds.
After your grass is established and you have mowed your lawn at least twice, you may choose to apply a weed and feed.
This type of lawn fertilizer contains selective herbicides.
It will kill certain types of broadleaf weeds without harming your grass.
These herbicide products will only eliminate existing weeds, not prevent new ones from sprouting.
Many people prefer to use organic weed control methods like corn gluten meal to avoid adding chemicals to the soil and potentially destroying helpful organisms.
Further Reading: Will grass clippings kill weeds or spread more?
Maintaining a Weed-Free Lawn
Keeping your lawn healthy dramatically reduces the chance for weeds to grow.
Give your lawn a boost by applying a lawn fertilizer every 6-8 weeks during the growing season.
Fertilizing keeps your lawn lush and thick, giving weeds very little room to grow.
You may also consider having the soil tested for nutritional deficiencies so you will be able to make the correct soil amendments.
Once two weeks have passed, you need to decrease the watering frequency.
Do it while ensuring the soil is saturated at least 6” inches deep every time you water.
This deep watering promotes deeper root growth in your grass, making it more resistant to heat and drought.
It is also helpful to mow your grass a little higher than usual by raising your mower height.
Taller grass creates more shade on the soil, which makes it more difficult for new weeds to sprout.
Prevent soil compaction with regular aeration.
Remove thick areas of thatch to allow water, sunlight, and nutrients to reach the grassroots.