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FAQs - Lawn - Weed Management - Fall

flowering hairy bittercress

Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta)

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This fall my lawn is full of mushrooms. Will they kill my grass and what can I do to stop this from happening?

I  planted grass seed on many bare spots and overseeded my entire lawn. Unfortunately I still have many of broadleaf weeds like, chickweed, clover, dandelions, etc.  What can I do? When can I use an herbicide on my new lawn?

Help me identify an invasive grass-like weed that mixes with my fescue and takes over parts of the lawn. The plant itself has a thin stem and at the end of the stem is several, pointed grass-like blades.  It pulls up fairly easily but it seems to come back year after year. Now that fall is here it will turn brown leaving these straw-like patches in the lawn. What is this weed and what can I do about it?

Moss and mold are invading the shady areas of our lawn. Short of cutting down the trees what can we do to get rid of the moss and grow some nice grass? 

 Ground ivy and Indian strawberry are taking over my yard. Do you recommend weed and feed this late in the year? These weeds seem to grow even in the winter.

 
This fall my lawn is full of mushrooms. Will they kill my grass and what can I do to stop this from happening?

A mushroom is the spore-bearing or fruiting structure of a fungus. Fungi feed on dead organic matter such as dead tree roots, buried logs and stumps. These fungi may live for many years until the wood is completely decomposed. Mushrooms cause no harm to a lawn.  There is no practical or permanent way to eliminate them. If mushrooms must be removed, simply rake them up as they appear.

planted grass seed on many bare spots and overseeded my entire lawn. Unfortunately I still have many of broadleaf weeds like, chickweed, clover, dandelions, etc.  What can I do? When can I use an herbicide on my new lawn?

The first place you should look for that information is on the label of the broadleaf herbicide you plan on using. But in general you cannot apply an herbicide until you have mowed the lawn about 3-4 times. By that time it will be too late to apply it this fall. Broadleaf herbicides need to be applied to actively growing weeds. Wait until the spring to treat your lawn with a combination herbicide like Trimec.

Help me identify an invasive grass-like weed that mixes with my fescue and takes over parts of the lawn. The plant itself has a thin stem and at the end of the stem is several, pointed grass-like blades.  It pulls up fairly easily but it seems to come back year after year. Now that fall is here it will turn brown leaving these straw-like patches in the lawn. What is this weed and what can I do about it?

From your description, the weed sounds like nimblewill. Nimblewill is a perennial grass weed that forms patches resembling bermudagrass. Nimblewill turns brown after the first frost and greens up slowly in the spring. It has wiry, thin stems and spreads by stolons. Nimblewill begins in wet or shaded spots of the lawn but can spread to sunnier areas. Herbicides for controlling perennial grass weeds are limited and usually only available to lawn care companies.  Small infestations can be dug out or sprayed with a non-selective herbicide that contains glyphosate. Reseed the area after you are certain that you have 100% kill.

Moss and mold are invading the shady areas of our lawn. Short of cutting down the trees what can we do to get rid of the moss and grow some nice grass? 

Growing lush grass can be difficult underneath trees, but certainly, the trees are more valuable than the grass!  Consider having them pruned to thin out the canopy and allow more sunlight in. Both moss and mold are an indication that the grass is not happy.  The grass thins out and the moss moves in. We have a publication on (PDF) moss control, which goes into detail on controlling it. Our suggestion would be is to lessen the amount of grass, by mulching around the trees and planting a shade loving groundcover.

Ground ivy and Indian strawberry are taking over my yard. Do you recommend weed and feed this late in the year? These weeds seem to grow even in the winter.

 It is getting too late to apply an herbicide.  Ground ivy and Indian strawberry are extremely difficult to control and should be treated at the correct time, when it is actively growing but before they flower.  Your next opportunity will be in the spring, perhaps in April.  At that time, apply a broadleaf weed killer containing Triclopyr or a combination product like Trimec.  Read and follow the label directions.  Most likely another application will be necessary. The second application should be applied in late summer-early fall.

Please send us a question at Ask the Experts if you have a lawn question you would like answered. Digitial photos can be attached to your question.

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