Ask a Question forum: Choke weeds by not cutting grass?

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Montreal
cshahar
Apr 14, 2018 7:16 AM CST
A friend of mine suggested that one way to get rid of the weeds in my lawn would be not to cut the grass for the whole season, I would assume till next year and to plant grass seeds at the same time. They said the grass would grow aggressively and choke the weeds. Another friend said the opposite would likely happen. Any opinions?

Thanks,

Charles
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
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porkpal
Apr 14, 2018 7:56 AM CST
I think it would depend upon which weeds and which grass. A strong stand Bahia grass will choke out most weeds in my pastures; Bermuda grass will not. A bunchy, mat forming grass might be successful. A picture of the situation might help.
Porkpal
Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Apr 14, 2018 8:16 AM CST
You'll end up with wore weeds the next year.

Use, weed and feed granules.
Or, I believe, Weed-B-gone spray kills weeds and most weedy grasses without harming desirable grass's.

A good defence is to raise the mowing height to 3 or 4 inches. The taller the better. Grass will shade weeds out.

If weeds are real bad, start anew.
Scalp lawn, and plant hybrid Bermuda seed. The variety they use on baseball in-fields. It grows thick, with fine leafs. Ownce established, it chokes out weeds.
With the hybrid Bermuda, it does best to keep it mowed one inch high. 👍👍

Good day I tip my hat to you.
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Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Apr 14, 2018 8:35 AM CST
I would discourage any sort of weed-n-feed (just because I don't like to poison anything). Instead, concentrate on the feed part. Give your existing grass what it needs to be as healthy as possible. That might just be an over sprinkling of composted manure. I would then cut the grass at a fairly high length often which will encourage it to bulk up. And perhaps lower your expectation of what a lawn looks like - mine is a mix of various grasses, dandelions, clover, and who knows what else. I'm OK with it. Good luck.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Apr 14, 2018 11:47 AM CST
Unless you are going to go out and snip flowers and seeds by hand, the weeds or weedy grasses will drop seeds.
Now you will find out where the weeds are worst and in a few areas perhaps eliminate some but unless you do something to totally eradicte the weed dominant areas, they will be there forever.

Deb would be right it would be best to fertilize heavily or it would look really nasty by fall.
What weeds do you have?
[Last edited by RpR - Apr 14, 2018 11:50 AM (+)]
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Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Apr 15, 2018 3:29 AM CST
Mowing your grass at 3" will keep most weeds shaded and subdued. Spreading corn gluten meal in the Spring will also help. Add more grass seed in the Fall and spread 1/4" of compost over them using one of these will also improve the soil and grass growth.

Thumb of 2018-04-15/Yardenman/214260

Name: Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Apr 15, 2018 4:00 AM CST
The weeds will out compete the grass. Most plants that we consider to be weeds in our lawns are faster growing then grass. I think of crabgrass as an example.
It loves a broader range of temperature, can withstand dry conditions, loves to be walked on, takes any type of light and you think that by keeping the lawn unmowed that somehow the weeds will be held in check! ? Good luck with that theory.
"Our children are the messages we send to a time that we will never see."
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Apr 15, 2018 4:25 AM CST
BigBill said:The weeds will out compete the grass. Most plants that we consider to be weeds in our lawns are faster growing then grass. I think of crabgrass as an example.
It loves a broader range of temperature, can withstand dry conditions, loves to be walked on, takes any type of light and you think that by keeping the lawn unmowed that somehow the weeds will be held in check! ? Good luck with that theory.


Weeds will easily outcompete the grass when it is cut too short. But a good cover of 3" high grass will generally shade out most weed seeds. Will the best natural lawn have some weeds? Of course.

But 2 years ago, I got one of those "let us check your lawn" ads from someone dedicated to synthetic chemicals and invited them to come over evaluate it. He admitted I had damn few weeds in my lawn and when I told him why, he just left.

It is the beginning of dandylion season here. My neighbors' yards are full of them. Sure, I have a few. But a dozen is not hundreds. and mine are right on the border where I can't stop some from blowing in.

Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Apr 15, 2018 8:30 AM CST
I like the look of dandelions blooming, especially in the fields. It's a sign for me that it's time to get the spuds in the ground.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Montreal
cshahar
Apr 15, 2018 8:43 AM CST
Thank you all. This has been very helpful! I just bought a house for the first time, and I am not sure what types of weeds are growing in the back lawn. But I shall implement some of these ideas for sure!
[Last edited by cshahar - Apr 15, 2018 8:43 AM (+)]
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Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Apr 15, 2018 8:48 AM CST
RpR said:Unless you are going to go out and snip flowers and seeds by hand, the weeds or weedy grasses will drop seeds.


Hilarious! I actually started doing that as part of my exercise. Whenever I walk my dogs in the back I've been pulling off the flowers before they can set seed. It's making a difference and now I can concentrate on feeding the grass.

@Yardenman, I like that compost roller. Thanks. Looks like something a person could DIY. Thumbs up

Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Apr 15, 2018 1:30 PM CST
Bonehead said:I like the look of dandelions blooming, especially in the fields. It's a sign for me that it's time to get the spuds in the ground.

Gee, you would have loved to live in Sharon's neighborhood in the middle of town, the neighbor's boulevards were semi-solids masses of Dandelions in spring and the odd color Crabgrass turns in fall.
One reason I spent a lot of money on chemical weed killers as I pulled them by hand, and still do, for years which was a waste of time as Crabgrass seeds last decades and in one windy day I would gain ten time the Dandelions that I pulled.
I/we had other more nasty weeds but the two above were the worst, UNTIL, Chickweed and Sedges infested the lawn.
I will blame the Chickweed on Sharon having it in several flower barrels and not know what it was , not letting me pull it till all hell had broken loose.
Chickweed will devours an established lawn, as I saw it do to my attached neighbor, till I treated it for him and at that it still comes back.
He actually spent the money for a professional lawn treatment one year. That was a waste of money but it did reduce the Crabgrass on his boulevard to the point I could keep it under control
Then there is Nutgrass....

[Last edited by RpR - Apr 15, 2018 2:06 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1684595 (12)
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Apr 15, 2018 1:48 PM CST
Yardenman said:
Weeds will easily outcompete the grass when it is cut too short. But a good cover of 3" high grass will generally shade out most weed seeds.

Short grass, Dandelion 4-6 inches wide; Three inch grass, Dandelions 4-6 inches high.
Been there done that.
I left a good chunk of my South garden simply go, just weeds.
You do that and you will learn just how high some weeds can get, Crabgrss two-feet high and two-feet wide. That stuff if left alone does not surrender to anything, including other weeds.
The Purslane really dominated one half of the summer but when its wad was shot, I was amazed how others, mostly grasses and non-canadian thistles came out of nowhere.
In the fall I was going to turn an area over but was not going to leave the weed plants holding seeds so I pulled an area approx. eight by ten.
The weeds from that area filled, and I mean filled a large green bin, I am guessing some where between 80 and 100 gallons, the city provides for such things, full to the top.
One way of learning just how solidly rooted and heavy untouched weeds can get. The bin has wheels and I used to wheel it out into the garden, then you learn that crap is so heavy it is a major %itch to try to wheel out.



Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Apr 15, 2018 3:15 PM CST
I am so glad that I don't really have a lawn. I just mow whatever grows in front of the house and it looks fairly tidy - for a few days anyway. I also live on a farm. Lawns sound like way too much work.
Porkpal
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Apr 15, 2018 3:29 PM CST
porkpal said:I am so glad that I don't really have a lawn. I just mow whatever grows in front of the house and it looks fairly tidy - for a few days anyway. I also live on a farm. Lawns sound like way too much work.

You are down in Texas where growing a lawn on a farm is probably the same challenge it is in Western South Dakota where yards are optional BUT up here in Minn. when I was young, nearly all farms had LARGE, manicured lawns and the places usually looked as neat as a spinsters house.

It often, as a youth thinking they mowed the lawn the same way I did, amazed me that they would push a lawn mower over those lawns as that would take hours. (My one grandfather did just that on a lawn that was forty yards wide and a hundred yards long for years, till he got a garden tractor.)

[Last edited by RpR - Apr 15, 2018 7:44 PM (+)]
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Name: Rick R.
Minneapolis, MN, USA zone 4
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Leftwood
Apr 15, 2018 4:18 PM CST
If there was a point to the previous post, it is lost on me. No matter....

I have actually seen a couple bluegrass lawns left unmowed, and I would say about 7/8 of the weeds disappeared. But this took 5 or more years of mowing high (4-6inches) just once or twice a year. Certainly not just for one year, and certainly not with mowing every week or every other week. Consequently the grass was usually in the range of 6-12 inches during the year. Prevalent weeds prior to taking the "wild" approach were dandelions, plantain, dutch clover and crabgrass. Plantain and crabgrass were completely eradicated. Additionally, the conditions were very good for bluegrass, with good deep soil, ample moisture and no harsh conditions. My point is that although it could work, it's unlikely because environmental parameters need to be right to encourage the bluegrass (or whatever lawn grass you have).
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Apr 16, 2018 12:54 PM CST
While the concept in the original post is really close to something that would work... but as previously mentioned, the plants would drop seed... which would be good if you had wildflowers...

The reason that everybody's lawns are inundated by plants that they don't want... is because there's bare soil between the grass blades.

Something that every vegetable gardener knows... bare soil won't stay bare long!

Raising the deck on the mower works by keeping the sunlight from reaching the soil.

most of the plants that everybody complains about need sunlight for the seeds to germinate.

So... by mowing, most plants are killed.... By leaving the turf high, the seeds of the other plants don't get enough light to come up...

Probably should give away the mower, and plant edibles... Edible landscaping is all the rage, and it makes sense to put that effort into food instead of something as absurd as mowed turf.

I don't have a lawn either, and once a year mowing of the natural meadow plants is plenty.

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