Winter Weeds Winding Up

Common annual cool season weeds in our area come up from the seeds of last winter. Deal with their arrival with these tips.

What a relief to have cool weather and periodic rains! But wait. What are those unsightly things sprouting in the garden beds and lawn? They’re cool season weeds that will grow, flower and spread seeds if left unchecked.

Common annual cool season weeds in our area include henbit, chickweed and bluegrass. These weeds came up from the seeds of last winter. Interrupting their life growth and seed production is the key to having a more attractive lawn next winter.

Here are a few strategies to get winter weeds under control.

  1. Mulch to smother weeds. Freshen up garden beds with a new layer of mulch. Thicker mulch will discourage weeds. Those that do make it up through the mulch will be easier to pull. Try placing cardboard or layers of newspaper under the mulch in problem areas.
  2. When in doubt, yank them out. Removing weeds is much easier after it rains and less painful with thick garden gloves. Pull firmly at the base of the weed to get the whole root out of the ground.
  3. Cut weeds in lawn. As weeds start to flower, cut them frequently to prevent seed production.
  4. Use herbicides with caution. Identify the weeds before heading out to buy any herbicide. This ensures you’ll get the desired result without damage to desirable plants. Read labels carefully as weed control products should not be used casually.

Annual weeds will decline naturally when hot weather arrives. More persistent weeds include thistle and dandelion,which are perennials. These have been lurking in the soils waiting for their prime growing season. Eradicating these requires killing them roots and all by pulling them out or applying an herbicide.

Picture of Karen Guz
Karen Guz
Karen grew up taking family vacations to national parks and scenic rivers. A one-time kayak river guide in her home state of Pennsylvania, she got herself to Texas as fast as she could. Now as the vice president of Conservation for SAWS, she is responsible for meeting San Antonio’s long-term water conservation goals by leading a high energy, creative team of conservation planners. She first worked for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service providing a variety of horticulture and 4-H educational programs to the community before joining SAWS in 2000. When she’s not helping San Antonio live up to its reputation as a national leader in water conservation, she enjoys the outdoors as an avid hiker…continuing the tradition of luring the rest of her family to national parks and ranger talks.
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