Weed control falls into two main categories, lawn weeds and garden weeds. You might also worry about weeds in paving and concrete which we might think of as a third category! Wherever they grow we can deal to them with either a weed spraying program or hand pulling the weeds for a completely enviro-friendly solution.
Generally speaking, the best defense against weeds in lawn is a healthy, lush lawn. Feed it, water it and don't mow it short!
However, once you have a healthy crop of lawn weeds, they are best managed with a "selective" weed killer. Flat weeds and Onehunga Weed (prickle weed) are the most common problem and almost all can be effectively controlled with a good selective weed spray. Choosing the correct weed spray will leave your desirable lawn grasses untouched, and quickly deal to those pesky weeds. If you are happy spending hours and hours pulling these weeds by hand, great. But if you really want to get rid of broadleaf and prickle weeds, a good herbicide applied once or twice a year will do a far better job.
Some sprays can only be applied by people who hold appropriate Certification. Most V.I.P. Lawn & Garden Franchisees are Growsafe/ERMA Certified Handlers which allows them to apply highly effective commercial grade herbicides. Two of our favorite selective weed killers are Banvine and Victory Gold, both of which eradicate common flat weeds, prickle weed, thistles, docks, dandelions, daisies, and clovers. One or the other also kills buttercups, Convolvulus, hydrocotyle, creeping oxalis and other weeds that seem to like growing in lawns.
Grassy weeds in the lawn are more difficult to manage as they belong to the same plant family as most of the desirable grasses that we try to grow. Like any grass, they are not susceptible to the selective spray.
Which is why we need to mention paspalum. To our knowledge, no selective spray that effectively controls paspalum in lawns is currently available in New Zealand. As paspalum is a fast growing and very hardy grass, it can quickly take over a lawn. The best management can usually be achieved with a very regular program of cutting out new growth about 10-15 cm below the surface while it is young and small. It is possible to carefully paint each leaf with non-selective spray such as Glyphosate but any adjacent lawn grasses that are splashed or touched are likely to die also. Paspalum can be killed by an "overdose" of Urea (nitrogen) fertilizer, but this will also kill surrounding grasses in the same way a squirt of glyphosate or RoundUp will kill all in its path.
Garden weeds are usually easier to get at than those in lawns. Best practice is to pull the whole weed out, root and all. However, that can be time consuming and is therefore sometimes replaced with other treatments including weed spraying and/or tilling with a shallow hoe. We love the Niwashi tool for this job as it neatly snips the weeds off just below the soil surface and lightly agitates about 1-2cm of soil on top of the ground. Weeds can then be easily raked and collected, and the surface-feeding roots of nearby plants you want to keep are subject to minimal damage.
Pulling weeds when they are a few weeks old is usually the best, as it completely removes the root and plant, and prevents the weed from flowering and seeding. We recommend weed pulling either 2 or 4 weekly, while we are at the property for every, or every second, mowing service.
Garden weeds are normally collected and removed from your property. Or, you might want them in your compost. Your choice.
Weeds in Paved and Concrete Areas
These weeds can be removed mechanically, for example with the Niwashi tool mentioned earlier, but this can leave a strong root in place to re-grow as it is impossible to cut the weed out below the surface. We therefore recommend regular application of a good general weed killer such as Glyphosate, when weeds are 1-2cm tall. There are other excellent weed killers that have a much longer lasting effect than Glyphosate, but care must be taken to not use them where the residue can leach into your adjacent lawns or garden beds when it rains, as residue in the soil is toxic to all plants.