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How Does Lawn Weed Control Work, When Will Weeds Die, and Will They Come Back? (and More Answers)

Do you feel as though you’re fighting a never-ending battle with weeds? It can be so frustrating to feel like no matter what you do, the weeds just keep coming back. Weeds are not only an eyesore, detracting from the overall look of your lawn, but when they start taking over they begin to crowd out your healthy grass. Unfortunately, if not controlled, weeds can spread rapidly.

If you’ve experienced this feeling, you aren’t alone. The truth is, there are many aggressive weeds in the Memphis, TN and Olive Branch, MS area and it can be difficult to get a handle on them without professional help.

Of course, if you’re considering a professional weed control program, you might have some questions. You may be looking to understand how it all works and whether it’s something you can do on your own or if you truly need to hire a pro.

In order to answer your questions and help guide you on the path toward a healthier lawn, we’ve rounded up some of the most common questions and our explanations all in one place.

How Does Weed Control Work?

If you’re thinking about using weed control, you might be looking to understand how it works. Weed control products work by interfering with weed growth either by blocking photosynthesis and protein production or by destroying or inhibiting root formation. Weed control products may be post-emergent or pre-emergent and are applied at different times for different purposes.

Spotted Spurge

Pre-emergents are applied to the soil before weeds even emerge. These products create a barrier that prevents germination from even happening in the first place. The timing of pre-emergent products is critical to their effectiveness.

Since there is always a little bit of breakthrough (or perhaps the pre-emergent window was missed completely), there are also post-emergent products. These products are applied to the leafy areas of the weeds that are actively growing.

How Do I Kill Weeds in my Lawn Without Killing the Grass?

Another common question that we receive is how do I kill weeds in my lawn? More specifically, homeowners are often curious about how weeds in the lawn can be addressed without harming the grass.


The answer comes down to understanding the two main categories of weed control products: selective herbicides and nonselective herbicides.

Whereas nonselective herbicides are designed to kill all vegetation it’s applied to, there are selective herbicide products that are only designed to kill certain weeds.

Within these two main categories, there are a number of different products. It’s important to recognize that different weeds will require different treatments. Certain weeds, like nutsedge, might require specialty products. This is why a one-size-fits-all approach to weed control is not going to be effective. You want to find a company that will offer a customized weed control program that is specifically designed to target weeds on your property.

How Long Does it Take for Weeds to Die?

Weeds are more quickly controlled when growing conditions are great. If the weather gets really hot, very cold, or extremely dry, weed control results will be slowed down more than typical.

Generally speaking, we tell customers that if they don’t see weeds starting to yellow and die within 2 weeks to give us a call so that we can come back and make sure they’re taken care of. We think it’s important to stay on top of weed control for our clients as we know how much they value this service so we always ask to be “kept in the loop” if they feel something isn’t right.


Transforming a weedy lawn can take a good amount of time, specifically if the grass is thin and if you have some tougher varieties of weeds. We often tell new clients that although you’ll see great progress along the way, it can take 3-4 visits until there are drastic changes and to be patient. A year down the line, you’ll forget how your thick, lush lawn ever looked that bad!

How Long Does Weed Killer Work?

While certain weeds are easy to control and can be knocked back with just one treatment, other weeds are a bit more persistent and may require multiple treatments. While we wish we could say that once we treat weeds, they’ll never return, that’s simply not the case.

Crabgrass in lawn

Some of the more aggressive weeds, particularly grassy weeds (like crabgrass and dallisgrass) do continue to return and require ongoing treatment. Fortunately, when you’re on a comprehensive lawn care program, the goal is to stay ahead of these weeds and to use pre-emergent as effectively as possible. Then, we only have to spot-treat the breakthrough that pops up with post-emergent, selective materials.

Can I Implement Weed Control on my Own?

Now that you understand how these products work and what you can expect out of them, you might be wondering whether you can just implement a DIY program. After all, there are weed control products sold at the big box stores.

While there’s certainly nothing stopping you from handling weed control on your own, you’re not going to get as good results as you would with a professional program for several key reasons.

  • Product effectiveness: The weed control products sold at the store to homeowners are simply not as good as the professional-grade products used by a licensed technician.
  • Being able to mix products properly: Many times your professional lawn care technician will mix products together in order to give you the best possible combination. Homeowners likely don’t know which products to mix nor would they want to be dealing with mixing product (or storing product for that matter) at their home. There are also some additives that professionals will use at times for better results. For instance, Master Lawn adds surfactants, which is a wetting agent that helps materials not to bead up and roll off of leaf blades. This enhances results for some weeds.
  • Knowing when to treat: Lawn care technicians are highly trained to know exactly when to treat weeds—and that makes a big difference. Everything from wind speed to temperature can impact effectiveness. If a certain day isn’t ideal to treat, your lawn care technician can hold off. However, if you’ve only reserved the weekends for lawn care, you might have to apply product even when the conditions are not ideal. Since certain materials work better during certain times of the year, a professional will also switch up products when it’s warranted for better control.
  • Knowing how to treat: Again, technicians are going to be highly skilled in how to handle product. For instance, at Master Lawn we use different spray tips for different applications because the droplet size really does matter in terms of effectiveness. Similarly, a trained technician is going to know which products to use on which weeds. As we mentioned, it often takes a customized approach.
  • Implementing a full program: Finally, another key reason why a professional lawn care company is going to have better results than you would on your own is that they make weed control just one part of a complete program. Other lawn care services—like fertilization, aeration and overseeding, or the use of probiotic nutritional materials—which are aimed at thickening your lawn will also help it begin to naturally choke out weeds. The goal with a complete program is to get your lawn to a point where we do not have to spray as much product to get the same results because your thick and thriving lawn is naturally keeping weeds at bay.

Choosing a Lawn Weed Service in Memphis, TN or Northern Mississippi

In addition to avoiding a DIY approach to weed control, you also have to be selective about which company you choose to work with. Even amongst professional companies there are ineffective approaches to weed control. Unfortunately, some companies take a one-size-fits-all approach that isn’t going to provide you with the best possible control.


Your wise choice of lawn care companies in Memphis, TN or Olive Branch, MS will make a big difference in your battle against stubborn weeds. By selecting a lawn care company that will take a customized approach to your lawn, while also focusing on improving its overall health, you’ll be able to get better control over your lawn and start seeing the results that you desire.

If a lush green lawn is important to you, then you shouldn’t feel as though you’re stuck in a never-ending battle with weeds. By allowing an experienced professional to handle your weed control, you can take back your lawn and finally start enjoying it to the fullest.

Do you want weed control that really works? Talk to a lawn care expert, choose from 3 program options, and become the master of your lawn.

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Image Sources: doveweed,   

Michael Hatcher

Michael Hatcher is Founder / Chairman of Michael Hatcher & Associates.

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