It’s Mighty Cold out There, But Weeds Don’t Mind

— Written By and last updated by Carol Hicks

While the cold weather and snow have us thinking about sitting near a warm fire with a hot beverage, don’t get complacent. Spring germinating weeds will not be delayed by today’s cold weather. There are three weed management tasks which you need to be planning.

  1. Mulches should be top dressed before crabgrass and other summer annual weeds germinate. Weed seeds on top of the mulch will germinate and grow; a new layer of fresh mulch applied now will prevent many weeds before they can gain a foothold in your garden.
  2. Preemergence herbicide treatments for summer annual weeds like crabgrass should be applied as soon as possible. Preemergence herbicides need to be applied several weeks before weeds germinate. And, while the soil is cold today, just a week of warm weather will stimulate weeds to germinate. When soil temperatures reach 60°F, crabgrass emergence will not be far behind. So, be ready to get started on this maintenance task as soon as the snow is off the ground.
  3. Winter annual weeds like chickweed and henbit will be flowering and seeding before you know it. So, if you have winter annual weeds in your landscape, be prepared to control them before they go to seed.

For more information on weed control in landscape plantings, check out the resources on the Weed Management in Nurseries, Landscapes & Christmas Trees portal.