As we roll through December, so has the rain and somewhat milder temperatures. Steady rains and a little bit of warmth here and there have no tangible effect on dormant grass but it does create a great situation to start a new weed cycle. These are conditions that I am ambitious to stay ahead for a few reasons.
Pre-emergents work but only as long as they are still in your lawn. Steady, multi-day soaking rains like we’ve had tend to pound the product out of your lawn and into the drainage system. This doesn’t mean that the product wasn’t effective, it just means that it will be much less effective going forward. Reapplication is critical in the winter because we no longer have thick active turfgrass as a weed deterrent, just pre-emergents. Shields are low.
Colder weather makes weeds harder to kill. When a weed is sprayed with a herbicide, that product must be absorbed into the plant for it to work. In colder weather, molecules move more slowly. This means that the liquid product as well as the vascular system of the plant move slower. Things just plain take longer. Another issue is that the product must have time to absorb into the plant before it gets washed off or it won’t work.
To help keep the product on the plant longer, we add surfactants to our liquid herbicides during the winter months. Among their qualities, surfactants act like the starch in the sticky rice that keeps your sushi roll from falling apart. Simply put, it just makes our products “stickier”. In the business of treating lawns, sticky products are effective products.
Planning lawn treatments in the winter is somewhat like trying to stand on a beach ball and juggle. Many companies have already given up until spring. Not us, though. When it comes to tough lawn conditions, we have our balance.