Tips for a Successful Fall Broadleaf Weed Strategy
A fall broadleaf weed control strategy is an important piece in a sports turf playing surface maintenance program. The main focus of a late fall weed control application is to address winter annuals and other broadleafs. The most recognizable winter annual is the dandelion.
Smart Turf Cultural Practices Tips
Although weed control is fairly straightforward with a herbicide program, the best way to minimize weeds is to maintain a thick and dense stand of turf by adhering to sound cultural practices.
- Maintain turf within the recommended mowing height for that species of turf.
- Mow frequently to ensure that no more than 1/3 of the leaf blade is removed during each mowing event.
- Core aerify at least once a month with a PTO driven aerator.
- If budget and time allow, aerify (core or solid tine) monthly.
- Fertilize native soil cool season athletic fields with 3 to 4 lbs of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. per year as some weeds (clover) are indicators of low nitrogen.
- For cool season turf, apply the majority of the fertilizer in the fall.
- For warm season turf, apply the majority of the fertilizer when the turf is actively growing.
Chemically, your athletic field’s fall broadleaf weed strategy should include broadleaf herbicide applications in the late fall – late October/early November. Fall applications provide the best control due to the weeds’ ability to naturally store energy in the roots and stems. Because of this, the herbicide will enter the plant and travel to the roots to achieve better long-lasting control.
Smart Turf Tips for Effective Herbicide Applications
- Always read and follow label directions.
- Adhere to mowing recommendations prior to and after applications per the label.
- Liquid applications will always outperform granular weed control applications.
- Do not apply to drought-stressed turf.
- Consult label prior to application if new seedlings are present.
- Consult label prior to application if new sod is present.
- Pay close attention to overseeding windows after application.
- Apply in low wind conditions.
- Use a product containing carfentrazone in cool conditions.
Using these Smart Turf tips will ensure successful fall broadleaf weed control applications.
Vice President of Sports Turf