Killing weeds in newly seeded lawn

Your lawn deserves the best care, so let's see what weed killers we can find to only kill off the right plants. Killing Weeds – It’s Not What You Think If you have a lawn, you have probably already realized that you are going to have some type of weeds in your lawn, no matter what you do. However, you do K-State Research and Extension K-State Research and Extension is committed to making its services, activities and programs accessible to all participants. Reasonable accommodations for persons

Best 6 Weed Killers for Lawns – Essential If You Want A Perfect Green Lawn

Where we live, spring has finally arrived, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about that if we tried! It was a long, chilly winter, and we’re ready for warmer winds, sunnier days, and as much time spent outside as we can possibly manage. In order to thoroughly enjoy our outdoor space to the fullest, however, we’ve definitely got some gardening, yard work, and outdoor “housekeeping” or spring cleaning to do.

The biggest task of all in that regard is absolutely the amount of weeding that needs to be done. Not only do we live in an area that has an aggressive weed problem naturally (or, at least, since those seed species were introduced), but we also probably could have done a better job of weeding last year, and we’ll admit that we cut a few corners.

This year, we want to make absolutely sure that we get the job done right and don’t have to deal with as many weeds popping up, spreading, and continuing to grow on into the summer. We’d also like to put in the work now in order to make things a little easier on ourselves next year. That’s why we’ve opted to go the weed killer route, whereas last season, we just did a little bit of hand weeding with a tool and hoped we got all the roots. Of course, we also want to be absolutely sure that we’re using the best and safest product for our lawn. As determined as we are to kill the weeds that are currently choking it out, we don’t want to use something so aggressive that all of our grass dies too.

That’s part of the reason we opted to do some online shopping for our ideal weed killer. The extra time we’re afforded when we’re not standing there in person in the store is a huge perk because you can delve much deeper into the research and details, comparing and contrasting different kinds and brands of weed killer, what they target, and how. We’re total list makers whenever we’re in the thick of researching something new that we might invest our money into, so we figured we might as well share what we found for others to see as well, just to help you all out.

What is a weed killer?

A weed killer is a chemical solution that targets the sprouts and root systems of the most stubborn, aggressive, and likely to spread plants. Weed killers are designed to be used early in the season in order to prevent the weeds from harming your lawn and then plants you put there intentionally. They are formulated to target only certain plants with specific characteristics so that they do not kill your regular grass and leave you with no lawn (although some require dilution or mixing to avoid this).

Some people believe that your choices are to use a weed killer or a weeding tool, but in reality, the best method is to tackle the problem with both! Weed whatever plants you have the patience and physical ability to get out, and then treat your lawn with a weed killer to tackle whatever you might have missed. This fortifies your lawn for extra clearing beyond your manual work.

How are weed killers used?

The answer to this question depends on the type of weed killer you purchase and what kind you’re most comfortable working with. In general, there are a number of different kinds of weed killers that have various effects:

  • Weed killer granules work their way into the dirt to target roots and seeds when you sprinkle them across the lawn. Some pet owners prefer not to use these if their dog or cat is inquisitive; it’s not healthy for them to ingest, and it sticks around for a few days until it has all worked into the earth.
  • Weed killer sprays or mixes are chemical-based herbicides that are already mixed into a ready-to-use solution that has the perfect ratio of active ingredient and dilution (usually water and sometimes a nutrient mix to feed your lawn in the process). These mixes are often preferred by people with less lawn care experience because they require fewer steps.
  • Weed killer concentrates are bottled only with the active chemical agent that actually targets specific plant types and kills weeds. They are very strong because they haven’t been diluted yet, so they need to be mixed with water (according to their instructions) first in order to avoid harming your lawn. Once they’re mixed, however, they often the most accurate, effective, and long-lasting.

Different types of weed killers

Besides the way they’re prepared, presented, and applied to your lawn, there are actually also different types of weed killers at a more action-based level. By that, we mean that you can choose a product based on what it targets and how in order to have the best impact on what’s actually growing in your lawn. These types are:

  • Translocation herbicides: These weed killers actually kill the plant internally. The chemical is absorbed by the roots and root system, which then circulates throughout the plant’s internal system and breaks down the parts of the plant that help it grow and germinate to spread.
  • Persistent herbicides: These weed killers are aptly named because they continue to effectively control weeds for a period of time after their first application. Their impact lies in the fact that they’re created to be more generic, killing all kinds of plants directly wherever they’re used and stopping that kind of plant from growing again within their active timeframe. Just be sure that you’re targeted with your use, or you might accidentally kill and prevent plants you wanted to let bloom.
  • Selective herbicides: These are specially formulated chemical combinations that are created to only target certain kinds of plants with very specific characteristics. They’re great for taking out particularly aggressive sprouts and grasses in your lawn without harming any of the other plants around them (but they’re not, of course, generalized weed killers).
  • Post-emergent herbicides: As the names suggest, these are another type of more targeted weed killer that you use when you can actually see that a weed has begun growing. You’ll have to apply them as needed, potentially repeatedly. These herbicides can also be one of the other types, like selective or persistent.
  • Pre-emergent herbicides: This kind of weed killer lets you get proactive about lawn care before the weeds have even arrived. It’s designed to be sprayed on the lawn before they sprout so it can actually prevent them from germinating in the first place. It also stops plants from forming productive root systems. The window of time in which these weed killers are the most effective, however, can be a little tricky to gauge.

Best Weed Killers for Lawns

Just in case you still feel like you need some more specific suggestions, and maybe even some help in considering their individual pros and cons, check out this outline of the six best weed killers we came across in our own search.

1. Extended Control weed preventer

This granular weed destroyer from Preen is sprinkled over your grass and left to work its way into the earth and target weeds from there. It has the strength and capacity to wipe out 600 various weeds, including whole aggressive shrubs, perennial plants, and things that spread rapidly and cover lots of ground. Pop the convenient lid spout, pour it before weeds have started sprouting, and let it stop the seeds from germinating and forming root systems. It works best when the ground is moist because the moisture activates its chemical agents, so sprinkle it during a rainy week or water the yarn slightly after application. These granules are strong but eco-friendly, so leaving them in your lawn is fine. In fact, doing so will provide you with protection from new sprouts for up to six months.

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Because these granules are effective thanks to the way they sterilize seeds, avoid sprinkling them where you’re trying to grow new grass or other plants, like flowers. It will stunt those are well since it can’t differentiate the seeds. Make sure you also remove weeds that have already sprouted manually (or with another treatment) before you start since this product won’t kill or control those.

  • Capable of killing over 600 common weeds at the root
  • Effectively handles a wide range of unwanted plants and sizes, including shrubs, perennials, and groundcovers
  • Stop seeds from germinating and taking root before growth
  • Great for spring use because moisture (i.e. rain water) activate it more effectively
  • Up to six months of protection
  • Eco-friendly
  • Not effective on plants that have already started taking root or growing since its main defensive action is seed sterilization
  • Remove actively weeds already growing first, since this product won’t stop them from spreading
  • Do not apply this where you’re trying to grow new grass or flowers; it won’t attack or affect your already existing lawn, but it will prevent newly planted grass from thriving, since it can’t differentiate between that and weeds

2. Ready-to-spray Nutsedge Killer for lawns

If you’re looking for a weed killer that will be kind to your lawn itself (even if the grass is new) but take out most kinds of common broadleaf weed specifically then Ortho Pauher‘s Nutsedge killer is definitely the one for you. This herbicide comes ready-to-use so that you don’t have to do any mixing or dilute anything. Simply attach the included hose to the top of the bottle, press the release tab, and spray it evenly over your whole lawn. Although this herbicide is quite effective, it’s still gentle enough that you can use it again every three weeks or so in order to stop new sprouts proactively, before they’ve become a problem.

There are a few environmental conditions that can reduce the impact of this option. Firstly, it needs quite a generous and even coverage, so you should try to apply it on days that aren’t very windy. The wind will interrupt your spread and cause a patchy effect. You’ll also want to apply it earlier in the season, while spring is still cool and the summer sun isn’t blaring yet; heat tends to make it less effective and less fast-acting. Finally, try to apply this weed killer before the plants have grown. It’s not equipped to take on well-rooted plants that are already a few inches tall.

  • Strong and fast-acting against 50 main types of weed
  • Most effective against Kyllings and Nutsedge
  • Won’t kill your lawn, even if the grass is newly planted or freshly growing
  • Prepared for immediate use; doesn’t need mixing
  • Comes with a convenient application hose
  • Gentle enough for repeated treatment to keep weeds away (about three weeks apart for applications)
  • Effectiveness might be reduced in very windy conditions, as even uninterrupted coverage is necessary
  • Maybe not be as effective in very hot temperatures (apply it before the height of summer)
  • Weeds already grown taller than a few inches might need multiple applications

3. Ready-to-spray Roundup for lawns

This liquid chemical herbicide from Roundup is the kind that targets weeds right at the root of the problem; it literally attacks their root systems specifically so that they cannot grow or thrive. This particular mixture from the brand is especially great at targeting Southern grasses, like Centipede and Floratam. The bottle comes with a super simple “ready to spray” applicator for even coverage, and the bottle’s quantity can help you cover up to an impressive 6000 sqft cumulatively. The applicator also makes it easy to apply this around sidewalks, cobbles, patio stones, and driveways. The product is quite safe, but manufacturers still recommend keeping kids and pets off the lawn for about four hours afterward. Repeated applications are fine; just give the lawn a few days’ break in between to react to your first round.

Although many products offered by this company are advertised as being refillable, this particular bottle is not one of those. The top attachment that makes the hose work actually doesn’t come off, making it so that you can’t even open the bottle. Additionally, although this product is extremely useful on Southern grasses, it doesn’t do as well on seeds that originated in Northern areas.

  • Targets weeds at the roots
  • Kills over 93 different types of weeds effectively
  • Works especially well on stubborn Southern grasses, including (but not limited to) Centipede and Floratam
  • Also particularly good at handling Nutsedge, Clover, Dandelions, and Dollarweed
  • Comes with an easy ready to spray applicator
  • Impressive coverage capacity for the quantity
  • Applicator makes it good for application near stones and driveways
  • Not useful on aggressive Northern grasses
  • This specific bottle isn’t refillable like many by this particular brand are

4. Roundup Ready-To-Use Weed & Grass Killer III

Is your lawn rather large indeed, but you’re hoping to treat it without worrying about mixing or ratios? Then you might get along better with this ready-to-use Weed & Grass Killer from Roundup that comes in a slightly larger quantity. This eco-friendly herbicide, though strong, is safe for use in and around your lawn, flower garden, and even vegetable garden (though we’d still recommend that you keep kids and pets out of the yard for about four hours after treatment and wash all vegetables before eating them). The convenient applicator hose also makes this weed killer easy to use on cobble walks, patio stones, and driveways. Overall, this mix is so effective that it’s rainproof within just ten minutes of application and you might even see visible results within a mere three hours.

In general, the effectiveness of this actual product has received glowing reviews. The applicator, however, is a point of contention for some. Although it’s convenient and easy to use when it is working, the way the nozzle is built has been known to clog and become blocked over time and with multiple uses. You might also want to be careful of using this on newly seeded or freshly planted grass; it’s too potent for most regular lawn seeds to germinate through.

  • Rain proof in ten minutes
  • Visible results within three hours
  • Convenient applicator and impressive coverage range
  • Eco-friendly and safe to use on all grass and garden types
  • Won’t harm kids and pets (but still, keep them off the grass for four hours after treatment)
  • Hose nozzle has been known to become blocked or clogged and can be difficult to clear out
  • Too potent for most newly seeded lawns or freshly grown grass

5. Concentrate grass and weed killer

This weed killer by Compare-N-Save is a concentrate rather than a pre-diluted solution that you can just apply straight to the lawn. This means that it packs more punch, can be stretched further by mixing it with water (without losing its power and effectiveness), and will likely last you longer. On average, the sold bottle size gives you 210 gallons of spray solution once it’s mixed, letting you cover an impressive area of 25,0000 square feet. The ability to mix it for strength gives you more control than the average weed killer as well.

Keep in mind that glyphosate requires a little bit of patience on your part because of the way it works. Previous users caution you to actually hold off until the weeds have actively sprouted. This might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s actually necessary if you want to take advantage of its full effectiveness. Glyphosate does not work on seeds or dormant weeds that haven’t bloomed for the season yet, so they will still spread if you apply the herbicide too early.

  • Concentrated solution, meaning each use requires less, so the product goes farther
  • Kills standard weeds but also aggressive grasses and other unwanted plants that threaten the ones you planted
  • Best for tackling weeds that sprout annually and perennially
  • Works well in the garden and around walkways alike
  • The only reason special targets aren’t listed is because it truly kills all different weeds with equal effectiveness
  • Takes careful judgment in time, since active glyphosate element is only powerful against sprouted weeds, not dormant ones or seeds

6. All-in-One lawn weed and crabgrass killer garden herbicide

This weed killer can lose some of its impact in very high temperatures, so try to apply it early in the season, before the full heat of summer hits. Additionally, although this herbicide is rather gentle on regular grass, it can be harsh on very freshly seeded lawns. Wait until germination has taken place and you’ve mown at least twice before applying this. Finally, the 4-D compound that makes up the active ingredient here is actually carcinogenic if it gives prolonged exposure to your skin. It won’t harm your kids or pets if you want to let them on the grass for about twenty-four hours after treatment, but you should absolutely wear gloves when you’re mixing the solution and spraying your lawn.

  • Kills over 200 kinds of common, broad leaf weeds but won’t harm your actual lawn
  • Becomes rainproof only one hour after application
  • Takes care of even the most stubborn yard weeds, including Crabgrass, Creeping Charlie, Clover, and Dandelions
  • Works especially well in moisture, making it great for spring
  • 6200 sqft total coverage once diluted
  • Does not come with a hose, sprayer, or other attachment
  • Less effective in very hot weather
  • Can be too harsh for freshly seeded, newly grown lawns
  • 4-D compound that acts as an active ingredient is carcinogenic with prolonged exposure; wear gloves when mixing and spraying
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Our recommendation

Of course, no one is more familiar with your lawn than you, so the final choice is yours. In general, however, our top recommendation is undoubtedly the Concentrate Grass & Weed Killer by Compare-N-Save!

Besides the fact that the concentrated nature of this week killer gives it the most power but also the most mileage for its quantity, we also recommend this weed killer the most highly because it has the shortest results time. Thanks to its 41% glyphosate element, you’ll notice tangible results in only 2-4 days.

Lawn care safety

As with any kind of household chemical (like cleaning products), it’s essential that you take certain precautions when you’re using weed killers in order to keep you, your family, your pets, and the plants you don’t want to eliminate safe and healthy. While you’re working with weed killers, it’s suggested that you:

  • Safely store or discard the leftovers according to the specific instructions for that product. Not all weed cleaners can just be set on a shelf in their bottle for unending periods of time, nor can the leftovers you didn’t use be poured down the sink. Read and follow labels carefully.
  • Follow the specific mixing and dilution instructions for your particular weed killer well. Each one comes with mixing precautions and very important ratios for successful mixing and use included. You should heed all of these and not deviate from what’s recommended. You’re working with chemicals, after all.
  • Wear protective gear. This does not, of course, mean that you have to go out into your yard in a full hazmat suit, but you should check out the label on your product to see its warnings. Then, consider wearing gloves, goggles, or a breathing mask.

When should weed killer be applied?

This is another question that might take a little bit of evaluation, patience, and independent lawn research on your part. The kind of weed killer you’ll select is, of course, dependent upon the kinds of weeds you actually see in your yard. Once you’ve determined a weed killer that might be the most effective for your needs, you’ll also have to read about it carefully to see when the brand experts recommend applying it and how. Take note of whether it’s one that should be applied before the weeds have started actively sprouting or afterward.

The window of perfect action can sound hard to determine, but keep in mind that all is not lost if you miss it slightly. Weeding isn’t a one-chance task! With most weed killers, you can either do another application as long as you wait for a certain window in between to avoid harming your lawn, or you can catch the plants that fall through the cracks of the herbicides’ treatment by keeping a hand weeder handy and combining your own labor to catch the stubborn plants that survive here and there.

Evaluating which kind of weed killer you need

Choosing the right kind of weed killer for your lawn might seem like an intimidating task, but the information you need to make the choice is truly all right there on the bottles and also in your lawn. You’ll want to take a walk through your grassy areas and evaluate things like:

  • The types of weeds you see growing or what you’ve seen sprout before that might be lying dormant.
  • The area of coverage in your yard that’s affected by weeds and where they haven’t spread yet; some parts of your lawn might need targeted weed killers, while others might need pre-eminent treatment.
  • What you actually want to kill and what you might want to keep. Believe it or not, there are actually weeds out there that some people appreciate the look of. They might choose to simply control and maintain them rather than ridding their yard of the plants outright. The goal here is to stop them from choking out and overtaking the plants around them.

Do you know another yard work enthusiast who has been looking to try a new weed killer but who could use some help figuring out which one might be best for them? Share this post with them, so they have more information and options to work with.

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Killing Weeds – It’s Not What You Think

If you have a lawn, you have probably already realized that you are going to have some type of weeds in your lawn, no matter what you do. However, you do have more control over how many weeds and how often they take to seed.

The 1st step might not be possible for everyone, but is really important if you’re able to make it happen. Make sure you have 6+ inches of good black soil, and make sure that it is not overly compacted because roots won’t be able to flourish in soil that is overly compacted. Some of you are saying, “I already have a lawn and I am past this step. Changing the depth of my soil isn’t an option at this point.” If weeds are a problem for you, the issue might have begun when your lawn was installed. It’s very possible there were some dormant weed seeds in the soil when it was installed. If you are building a home or have a commercial project, you will want to ensure your landscaper puts down 6” of soil and treats it with a non-selective herbicide like Round-Up 7-10 days before seeding or sodding. If you don’t have 6+ inches of soil, that area will dry out faster than other areas of your lawn, causing your lawn to constrict and die off, which leaves open spots for weeds to come in.

This leads into the 2nd step. Keep your lawn as thick and healthy as possible. I realize this is easier said than done, but the single best defense against weeds is simply a thick, healthy lawn. If there aren’t any places for weeds to germinate, they won’t germinate. A thick, healthy lawn will also reduce the frequency and intensity with which you will have to apply chemical weed control. Keeping a thick, healthy lawn can be mostly managed by proper mowing practices, proper watering practices, and occasionally re-furbishing your lawn.

Mowing: Every lawn has to be mowed, and there are proper do’s and don’ts that will help you maintain a thick, healthy lawn. If you’re wondering at which height to mow your lawn, it’s better to err on the side of long/tall. Your root development will tend to correlate to the height you cut your grass. People who tend to cut their lawns too short will see unhealthy root development and will leave their lawns susceptible to drying out more easily, which increases the likelihood of more weeds. Also, do not over “mulch” your grass clippings when you mow. Mulching can be good for your lawn, but not if you cut off too much of the grass at any single time. Trying to mulch long clippings will lead to excess thatch, which will act as a barrier for water and nutrients to reach the root system. If you stay on top of mowing your lawn and don’t cut off more than 1/3 of grass height, then mulching is a good option. If you do not stay on top of it, then you will want to bag it. I always suggest mulching your lawn for the first couple and last couple of mowings each season. Try to mow your lawn at different angles or patterns to avoid spots wearing thin from repetitive traffic, and equally important is to not do “laps” around trees and other objects.
When you are done mowing, it is time to weed eat /trim the areas you could not get with the mower. This trimming should be at the same height as the mowing. The first way people get this wrong is they trim down shorter than they mow. Keep in mind that the edges of your lawn are typically the initial battleground for weeds to get a foothold into your lawn. If those areas are cut too short, then weeds have an easier time gaining a foothold.

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Watering: Watering your lawn is another area that is vital for a thick, healthy lawn. I know what you are thinking. Duh! Well, hear me out. Yes, you need to water. If it does not rain and you do not water, it will be difficult to have a thick, healthy lawn. Where most people go wrong, is when they water they water incorrectly. You will hear the experts say you need 1/2 inch to 1 inch of rainfall on your lawn every week. However, that is average! The amount of water your lawn needs depends on your lawn and the time of season. Your lawn does not typically need as much water in May as it does in July because of temperatures. Do you have 6+ inches of black dirt? How low do you cut your lawn? How much shade does your lawn get? How compacted is your soil? All of these things factor in. Here is what you need to take away from the watering section of this blog. When you water your established lawn, water less frequently with longer duration. Do not water every day or every other night. If you water your lawn three times or more a week, you are actually crippling the root system. You are teaching the roots to stay close to the surface because that’s where the water is. You want to have your roots search for water by diving down, but supply enough water so they obviously don’t starve. I have seen too many sodded lawns that are 2 to 4 years old and owner waters three+ times a week and can’t figure out why his lawn still dries out. On these lawns there are spots where the sod can still be pulled up because the roots have never needed to develop.

People ask me, “Ryan, how often do YOU water your lawn?” I water my lawn 8 to 14 times a summer. April and May usually provide enough rain where I only need to water 1 to 2 times during those months. But July and August are the months where I have to water once a week. Keep in mind, though, I have 6+ inches of black dirt, I aerate every year, and I have a deep root system that does not dry out easily. So if you remember anything from this part, it is to water for longer time less frequently.

Refurbishing: A lawn is a living organism. It is actually made up of millions of individual living organisms in the form of individual pieces of grass. Living things die, and when they die in your lawn, if you don’t fill that area in with grass, opportunistic weeds will usually move in. Part of your plan of keeping weeds out of your lawn should be to refurbish your lawn in needed areas through over-seeding or cutting out dead or diseased areas and re-sodding or re-seeding. If you stay on top of this, weeds will struggle to get into your lawn. The two main things you will have to do is keep an eye on trouble areas, especially along the edges of your lawn, and re-seed or re-sod as needed. Also aerating and overseeding can help thicken up an entire lawn because it replaces grass that has died off and caused the lawn to thin out. Many people overlook this step and overlooking it allows weeds to get a foothold and spread throughout your lawn.

If you have a plan to do all of the above-mentioned things well, you may still have some issues with weeds. However, if you do all of them well, your issues will be much less severe. At some point, though, a weed control and fertilizer program will be needed to complement the cultural practices outlined in this article.

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Fall is the Time to Control Broadleaf Weeds

They’re out there, beginning to make their annual appearance. They are not plainly visible until spring when it will be too late to eradicate them. But if one looks closely, they can be seen in the fall. “They” are weeds just waiting for spring’s arrival to emerge in lawns, adding their undesirable color and texture. Fall is the ideal time to control many lawn weeds. Chickweed

Reasons for treating for broadleaf weeds in the fall
Broadleaf weeds such as dandelions, henbit and chickweed all germinate in the cool, moist periods of September and October. They overwinter as small plants no larger than a quarter. Arrival of warm spring weather promotes the weeds’ rapid growth and flowering. Once plants reach the flowering stage, they are practically impossible to control. The advantage of fall control is that the seedlings are not well-established. Henbit This is the stage at which control methods are most effective.

Granular VS liquid chemical control of broadleaf weeds
There are several products on the market that are effective for control of these fall germinating weeds. They are available in both granular and liquid formulations. Both are effective, but each has some advantages and disadvantages.

Liquid herbicides normally are more effective than granular products. Lawns should not be mowed for several days before and after the application to allow maximum uptake and translocation of the herbicide. Timing is important. It is best if there is not rainfall or water applied for at least 24 hours after the application.

Granular products often come mixed with fertilizer, which can be convenient. If using a combination product, adjust fall fertilization schedules accordingly. The grass should be wet when applying a granular herbicide. This dampness causes the granular herbicide to stick to the foliage for maximum absorption. It is best to apply the product in the early morning when dew is present or after a rain. When liquids are used, there should be no additional moisture on the lawn for at least 24 hours after the application.

Protect fall planted grass seedlings
Fall planted grass seed should not be treated with an herbicide until the new grass seedlings have been mowed two or three times, depending on what product was applied. Instructions on labels need to be carefully read to determine proper application times for newly seeded lawns.

Another advantage of applying herbicide treatments in the fall rather than spring is there will be less damage to non-target plants. Warm spring temperatures, winds and succulent plant growth can create problems for trees, shrubs and flowers often damaged by the herbicide drift. Cooler fall temperatures and the dormant state of most plants greatly reduce this problem.

In the spring, the lawn should be relatively weed-free without undesirable bright yellow dandelions, purple henbit and lime-green chickweed. With properly timed weed control, the lawn will be a carpet of dark green, a proud site for the homeowner!

Have questions? The Garden Hotline is staffed by trained EMG volunteers and Extension staff who will assist you with questions.