One of the unfortunate challenges that will always be a part of landscape architecture is maintenance. How lovely would it be if we could just set it and forget it, right? But nature will have its way … if you don’t put effort into managing your commercial landscape, you’ll find yourself saddled with an unruly, expensive-to-fix, unattractive—even dangerous—environment. How do you avoid that? Well, hiring an attentive maintenance team is the best solution. Still, it always pays to have some knowledge surrounding your landscape’s maintenance needs. So today, we’re talking about the number-one way to keep your landscape architecture thriving: effective weed management. Here are our top tips!
#1 Consider Where Weed Management Comes In
The very first thing to do is to think about your landscape’s architecture. Do you have large expanses of grass or many smaller planting beds? Or, as with many designs, a little bit of both? This is the primary factor that will determine how you approach weed management in your landscape. Why? Because herbicide can be effective in both areas, but planting beds allow you to employ other options, too.
Here’s what we mean by that …
#2 Remember the Benefits of Mulch
When you have a clearly defined planting bed in your landscape architecture, the most low-maintenance weed management plan is made available to you: mulch! It might not be the first thing you think of when envisioning a gorgeous landscape, but our talented design team is skilled at making mulch look marvelous—and it will stay looking that way mostly on its own!
While herbicide may still be necessary, mulch naturally stifles weed growth because the sun isn’t making its way through to the ground.
#3 Commit to Herbicide
The Jerry Pate Design team obviously loves nature, so we like the idea of gentle weed prevention as much as anyone. But, at least in its current iterations, this doesn’t usually work. Maybe at home you can mix up some white vinegar and water to craft a less harmful weed preventative. But for a commercial landscape, weed management will likely demand a strong herbicide.
#4 Know Your Grass
We recently shared a post all about the best grass types for commercial landscapes. Did you know that the type of grass you choose will also influence your weed management plans? Because different grass varieties possess varying characteristics, it makes sense that weed killer can’t be one-size-fits-all.
For example, Bermuda grass can be pretty particular, requiring special formulas that are made to deal with its weeds while preserving the grass itself. A maintenance team should know to consider your grass type in a weed management program. Ask this question as a part of your vetting process!
#5 Understand Pre- and Post-Emergent Weed Management
When choosing an herbicide, you’ll also want to consider your style of management: proactive or reactive. This is because there are herbicide formulas that kill weed seeds during germination, called pre-emergent herbicides, and there are those that kill weeds once they have sprouted, called post-emergent herbicides.
There are pros and cons to both. Since pre-emergent herbicides can be reliant on rainfall, they aren’t a workable option for some climates.
#6 Create a Smart Schedule
If you fail to keep up with weed management techniques, it will result in more weeds to kill. But if you spray too often, it can cause other problems. First of all, when you overspray, you are adding exposure to chemicals that is unnecessary. Even after spraying a highly effective herbicide, it can take several weeks for certain weeds to die off. Don’t be discouraged and definitely don’t spray over and over when you don’t see quick results. These things just take time!
Second, you could cause disease, dieback, and death of grasses and plants if you spray too much or too often. While a maintenance team is going to manage these timelines for you, we always advise keeping a record of your own. That way, if you need to switch firms for any reason, you’ve got a good idea when you need to spray next.
#7 Include More Shady Areas in Your Landscape Architecture
This goes hand in hand with the theory behind mulch for weed management. These pesky plants don’t like the shade! Of course, there are quite a few other reasons to love shady vignettes in your landscape architecture. They create spots of respite from the sun for your visitors. Shade can also be key for certain desirable plants to grow.
Weeds thrive in the heat of the sun, with high surface temperatures. If you are especially concerned about weed management, prioritizing areas of shade in your commercial landscape could be a game changer. This is particularly advisable in the South!
#8 Care for Your Turf and Plants
We may have placed it last, but in fact, one could argue this is the most important factor in weed management. If your grass, flowers, shrubs, and plant life are not thriving, they will be more susceptible to weed overgrowth.
Unfortunately, this is also a vicious cycle. Unhealthy plants and grass may be overtaken by weeds. In turn, the weeds will compete for water, light, space, and nutrients in the soil, sometimes as good as signing a death sentence for your desired plant life.
Weeds can be frustrating to deal with (even if some of them are pretty little things, we must say!), but if you follow the leading tips and advice, it is possible to keep your landscape architecture free of weeds!
We hope this blog post proves helpful, but we would also love to be your landscape architects and maintenance pros. Get in touch to learn more about how we can craft gorgeous environments and manage them—weeds and all.