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Lawn & Garden

Killing weeds without losing coverage

Good morning.

I just bought a house in Northern Virginia and the lawn is probably 65% weeds of many varieties. I'm wanting to plan ahead now to know how best to attack the weeds for a nice lawn next season.  It is my first time with a yard, though, and I have no idea where to start.

I am considering trying to kill the weeds and plant seed in the fall, but am concerned that it would allow for winter erosion on the sloped part of the yard (which supports our slab on grade foundation).

I would love advice on when/how I should try to treat the unsloped majority of the lawn and whether I should treat the very sloped portion differently. 

Thank you in advance!
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Posted 2015-06-21T14:26:22+0000  by Aishlinn Aishlinn

Hi Aishlinn.


Thank you for your question.  The live weeds that you have now can be pulled out or sprayed with a weed killer, but come next spring, you will still have to deal with all of the weed seeds left behind. This will product more weeds.  Spraying the area with a herbicide will only kill the live plants and will not affect any of the weed seeds unless you use a herbicide that contains a “Pre-emergence”.


To avoid any erosion issues, it may be best to Approach your re-landscaping a section at a time.  Once you remove the vegetation there will not be anything there to hold the soil back in a heavy rain.

 If you choose to use a herbicide with a Pre-emergence, you may have to 4-6 months before you can use a grass seed.  When planting in the fall, keep in mind you will want to be sure you plant your grass seeds early enough to allow the seeds to sprout and become established prior to your first freeze.


Your area is known as a “Transition Zone” for turf grasses.  This means that the climate in your area can be hostile to cool-season grasses (Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue) as well as warm season grasses (Bermuda grass, Zoysia grass).  The best planting time for cool season grasses in the Northern Piedmont area and areas west of the Blue Ridge Mountains is August 15 to September 15 or March to early April after all danger of freeze has pasted, providing your ground is not still frozen.




Most soils in your area are acidic.  It may be necessary to till lime into your soil to adjust the pH to about at least 6.2.  A soil test will be best to help you properly adjust your soil.




Although seed is less expensive than sod, it is more challenging to establish a weed free lawn with seed, since the grass and weed seed will grow together.  The germination time of seed is also not in your favor as is the potential for erosion due to the exposed soil.  Using sod practically eliminates these problems, especially on slopes that may be steeper.


Proper preparation will be the key.  Check out some earlier articles on lawn seeding and preparation.


Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.




Posted 2015-06-23T20:45:55+0000  by Rick_HD_OC
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