Truth About Weed Control


By Rick Orr 09/02/2009
St Augustine lawn without weeds next to a weedy lawn

From the Customer’s Viewpoint

A customer asked, "I see that the dollar weed is all but gone but what is the other weed that is infused with the Floratam (St Augustine turf) and what’s to be done?"

The question shows the good and bad side of weed control and the expectations of the customer – you killed some weeds – when will you kill the rest. There is nothing you can spray today and every weed will be gone tomorrow or gone in a week or even a year. Weed control is a complicated process resulting from the easier weeds go first and then the more persistent weeds linger until they too give up.

Using Herbicides is Complicated

There is no one solution for weed control. There are different herbicides for different weeds – one herbicide for this weed and another for that weed and nothing for some weeds. And herbicides can negatively impact (stress) the St Augustine giving a zero-sum result in the end – you killed the weeds but weakened the turf and the weeds rebound before the St Augustine can recovery and repopulate the space. So you are right back where you started.

Weed Science is a Philosophy

My success in weed control is attributed to my philosophy about weed control: Keep the St Augustine healthy and the weeds weak and dying. The end game is that there are more St Augustine and fewer weeds. Keeping the St Augustine healthy and weeds weak/dying is a process repeated every application, year after year.

Process not an Event

It is a never-ending process. Some years I win and some years the weeds win!  The customer noticed that I eliminated dollar weed from the lawn but other weeds remained. What he observed was the use of a specific herbicide to weaken and kill a specific weed. What he hasn’t noticed is over the past two years his lawn has become healthy and vigorous and he never saw the cornucopia of weeds that never flourished in his lawn because it was so healthy and vigorous (free from disease and insects).

Healthy Lawn has Fewer Weeds

So, what’s to be done? Staying the course of keeping the lawn healthy by maintaining the fertility medium to medium-high, killing the bugs and keep the weeds dead or dying with regular applications of herbicides (aka lawn spraying). When you keep the St Augustine healthy and the weeds weak and dying, the weeds will perish and the lawn will not only survive, it will thrive.

You Can help Control Weeds

A healthy lawn has fewer weeds and there is more to a healthy lawn than lawn spraying. To keep your St Augustine lawn healthy requires:

  1. The lawn be mowed at 3” or higher
  2. Water as much and as often as law permits
  3. A well-maintained irrigation system
  4. Protect your lawn from spills – pool overflows, detergents, etc.

Meanwhile, relax, weeds are not lethal to your lawn, they are merely cosmetic. Weeds do not destroy, choke out or kill a lawn. A weak dying lawn allows weeds to populate – a healthy St Augustine lawn dominates.

Rick Orr Owner-Operator APL Pest Control/Creator of ILOVETURF.COM
APL Pest Control

Rick Orr is the creator of, Owner/Operator of APL Pest Control, and a graduate of VA Tech in Agronomy (Turf Ecology).  

Since 1980, Rick worked in the green industry, mostly with golf courses, resorts, and large communities. Rick worked as a Golf Course Superintendent of Fripp Island Resort, agronomist for Seaside, FL, and the spray tech for Vinoy Golf Course. Rick has been certified as an arborist, landscape and irrigation contractor, and adjunct professor for Environmental Horticulture (SPC) in Pinellas County.  

Home Pest Control came naturally. Entomology (bug science) was part of agronomy studies. Nearly every indoor pest problem starts outdoors. Crossing over to home pest control from lawn spraying was a natural process – the technology, methods, and materials used for home pest control are modifications of the ones used for lawn spraying. 

The result of that work is one of the top-rated pest control companies in Pinellas County – APL Pest Control. APL Pest Control is a family-owned business serving residential and commercial properties in Pinellas County, FL. 

Free Price Quote for Home Pest Control and/or Lawn Care CLICK HERE

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Speaking Engagements - Does it seem like you are only hearing one side of water restrictions, fertilizer bans, plant restrictions, and many other urban landscape hot topics? Rick Orr is available for speaking engagements for your HOA, Community or Professional Association, or Garden Club about a variety of subjects. To contact Rick you can find him on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram for booking information.