What is the Best Ground Cover for Weed Control?


A lush, green lawn can be a rewarding sight, considering all the hard work you put in to maintain it. However, this picture-perfect scene also has its fair share of issues, with weeds being the most common problem—spoiling the otherwise aesthetic appeal of your lawn.

Weeds are any vegetation growing where you don't intend them to. They can be invasive, taking up essential nutrients and water from your desired plants and blocking out sunlight if allowed to grow tall. This competition can weaken your grass, making it more susceptible to other issues.

Manually pulling out weeds and using weed control treatments can address the problem at the surface, However, cultivating a lush, green lawn to repair the damage and fill in bare patches where weeds can emerge proves to be a long-term solution for controlling them. By creating an environment where weeds have no space to thrive, your lawn can stay beautiful and weed-free.

Bermudagrass Plugs for Repairing Lawn Damage

With its dense, fast-growing habit, bermudagrass makes an excellent ground cover, repairing damage after weeds have taken over your lawn.  Its vigorous growth—both above-ground through stolons and below-ground through rhizomes—allows it to form a thick carpet that chokes weed seeds once it is established.

Bermudagrass is also heat and drought-tolerant. It thrives in 1-1.5 inches of water per week, thus reducing the need for frequent watering and avoiding the risk of overwatering, which can encourage weed growth. This perennial warm-season grass is also traffic-tolerant, so you can worry less about wear damage.

These small sections of mature grass with full-grown roots guarantee faster establishment, which can outpace weeds. They require less care to thrive than traditional sodding options, making them a more efficient solution for maintaining a healthy lawn.


How to Suppress Weeds Naturally

Weeds tend to spread aggressively, crowding out less aggressive plants, so an effective ground cover for suppressing weed growth requires equally vigorous-growing plants like bermudagrass. When planting them as grass plugs, you can reduce spacing if you desire faster establishment.

However, remember that a grass's ability to fill in damaged areas and consequently suppress weeds is only as good as proper lawn maintenance. Regular mowing, watering, and fertilizing are essential to ensure your Bermudagrass remains thick and healthy, providing a resilient barrier against lawn weeds. By creating an environment where weeds have no space to thrive, you can maintain a beautiful, weed-free lawn.

Prioritize Lawn Health

Healthy soil is the foundation of a healthy lawn. Poor soil conditions, such as compaction and poor drainage, can contribute to various issues, including weed growth. Weeds like knotweed and crabgrass are notorious for thriving in adverse soil conditions, including compacted soil.

Addressing these issues through aeration can help prevent weeds before they take root. This practice improves soil structure, allowing air, water, and nutrients to penetrate deeper into the soil. It contributes to a healthier root system for your grass, making it more difficult for weeds to establish. Read this guide for aerating your lawn.

Fertilize Adequately

Too much or too little lawn fertilizer can equally affect its health. Over-fertilizing can lead to excessive growth, making your lawn susceptible to diseases and encouraging weeds like crabgrass to thrive. Conversely, under-fertilizing can weaken your lawn, creating bare spots where weeds like dandelions and clover can take over.

When planting grass plugs, we recommend using NutriPod® grass fertilizer to accelerate new grass growth by up to two times faster. This helps the grass win the race against weeds. NutriPod® has a balanced ratio of nutrients—nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus—gradually released into the soil to encourage strong roots and overall resilience against environmental stresses.

Mow Regularly

Mowing regularly encourages denser growth and removes weed heads before they can produce and spread weed seeds. To maintain your lawn's health and appearance, mow at the highest recommended height for your grass type. For most warm-season grasses, this is 1-3 inches. The higher and thicker the grass, the more it can choke out weeds.

When mowing, keep your mower blades sharp. Dull blades can tear the grass instead of cutting it cleanly, creating jagged edges that increase the risk of disease. Additionally, ensure to cut no more than one-third of the grass blades at a time to avoid adding unnecessary stress to the grass, which can make it more susceptible to weed invasion.

Pull Weeds

In small lawns, weeding by hand may be possible. Pulling the weeds when they are young gives you a better chance of removing the entire root system. Using a weeding tool, dig down below the plant's crown and pull the weed out of the ground.

Try to get as much of the root system as possible when pulling and digging weeds. This method is particularly effective against broadleaf weeds, which can spread rapidly if not controlled early.

Water Deeply 1-2 Times a Week

Weeds often have shallow root systems, meaning frequent, shallow watering benefits the weeds more than your grass. When water is absorbed quickly at the surface, it doesn't reach the deeper root zones where your grass needs it most.

Aim to water your lawn deeply 1-2 times per week. adjusting based on the weather. This infrequent but deep watering approach starves weeds of their water source while helping your lawn grow strong and lush, ultimately suppressing weed growth more effectively. It also encourages the roots to grow deeper in search of water, increasing their drought tolerance and overall resilience.

bermudagrass-for-controlling weeds

Final Thoughts

Bermudagrass is an ideal grass variety for repairing damaged areas and filling in bare patches in your lawn. Consequently, its dense, fast-spreading habit can suppress weed growth once established. However, in addition to selecting the right grass type, successfully managing weeds in your lawn requires a multi-step approach that ensures proper and adequate maintenance.

As one of the most durable and vigorous-growing ground cover plants, bermudagrass outcompetes weeds for space, sunlight, and nutrients, creating a healthier lawn environment. In severe cases of weed growth, applying a weed killer can help, but it’s crucial to plan the treatment ahead of planting grass plugs to avoid interference with the new grass. Ultimately, maintaining a healthy lawn through consistent care is the most effective long-term strategy for weed management.

Read here for more best practices to control weeds in your lawn. Shop for high-quality bermudagrass plugs at the SodPods® website today!

Jamie Tedder

Jamie surrently serve as Vice President on the board for Turfgrass Producers of Florida. He currently oversees the production of all grasses throughout all farms in Florida at Bethel Farms. He is actively working with top grass breeders, researchers, producers and end users from public and private institutions around the country to stay up to date on current industry developments. Being a University of Florida graduate, he has applied that knowledge to over 22 years of experience growing spectacular grass!

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