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Why Does My New Sod Have Weeds?

Why Does My New Sod Have Weeds?

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Willie Moore
Latest posts by Willie Moore (see all)

If you have ever bought a pallet of sod, chances are you found at least some weeds in it. It’s frustrating, but it happens.

If your new sod has weeds, it is likely because seeds from different species of weeds have gotten mixed up with your sod upon purchase. Like other invasive plants, weeds can grow and spread quickly. Fortunately, you can remove those weeds by using herbicides appropriate to the sod’s age or can weed by hand.

Learning about different plants and how they grow is incredibly interesting and fun! Read on to learn more about weeds, why they grow in your new sod, how you can get rid of them, and more.

Weeds Can Spread Quickly

Despite being a nuisance, weeds are not different from any other plant. In fact, some people even try to encourage weeds to grow in their yards in order to try to yield different results. In your garden or new sod, however, weeds can delay the life of your new seeds and can even kill off other plants.

Weeds are any plant that grows in an undesirable location. That means both the typical green plants popping up in your garden can be weeds, but so can sumac growing near a stream near you.

Even a tomato plant if, somehow, it’s growing in your flower garden rather than your vegetable garden, can be considered a weed. However, weed gardeners commonly face weed variations like crabgrass, dandelion, and ragweed.

Weeds, however, are different from other kinds of plants because they’re so adaptive and can spread so quickly. Often, weed plants have the characteristics of having high seed counts, the ability to adapt to different conditions, and the capability to grow incredibly quickly. That’s why weeds spread and grow so quickly (source).

Since sod is often grown in one place, harvested, transported, and replanted, they have plenty of chances to be exposed to weed seeds or could be from weeds that are still in your soil. Additionally, because sod, by its very nature, is so conducive to growing plant life, when these seeds land in your sod, they’re very likely to grow and spread.

While this is generally true, it’s important to point out that the way that weeds spread and grow depends on the type of weed. Let’s take a quick look at the different kinds of weeds and the differences between them:

  • Annual weeds: Annual weeds are weeds in which the seeds are planted, grow, germinate, and spread more seeds within one year. These weeds die off in the winter but grow and spread each year again. The most common types of these weeds are those such as hairy bittercress (an edible salad green), oxalis (a type of flower), groundsel, and chickweed (a white flower).
  • Biennial weeds: These weeds are weeds whose life cycle lasts two years. As opposed to the single-year cycles of annual weeds, biennial weeds first are planted and grow in the first year while producing seeds and spreading in the second year. That means, fortunately if you can catch the biennial weeds in the first year, they won’t spread the year following. These include different types of clovers, carrots, and prickly lettuce.
  • Perennial weeds: They grow year after year, and both can grow, spread seeds, replant, and grow again in the same season. These plants also grow through their seeds and their root systems in the ground. Perennial weeds are the hardest to kill because you need to uproot the entire root system, and if the weeds have been around a long time, this can be incredibly difficult.

How Do You Stop Weeds From Growing on New Sod?

Since the whole point of sod is to get new grass to grow and make a nice, healthy lawn, the typical and often easier ways of removing weeds from new sod can’t be used. But if these weeds aren’t taken care of, then they’ll take over your new lawn, making the whole problem start again at the beginning. So, how can you remove weeds from new sod?

You can stop weeds from growing on new sod by using herbicides. Herbicides are known to be effective in getting rid of weeds. However, this method could kill your sod so it’s best to use a selective herbicide. Alternatively, you can weed by hand. This method is time-consuming but fairly safe for your new sod.

Use a Post-Emergent Herbicide

Unfortunately, if your sod is less than a month old, using most pesticides and weed killers isn’t an option. If you were to use these, it would do a good job of killing the weeds, but it would also kill your newly planted grass and, because it has not had time to really establish roots in the ground, you would likely need new sod. 

Instead, using a post-emergent herbicide on that particular weed can kill it, or weed your new sod by hand.

Use Pre- or Post-Emergent Herbicides

In sod that’s older than a month, the grass has had a chance to establish itself in the soil and is better prepared to handle more intense herbicides and weed killers. Though you should be careful of what you use, you can likely use both pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides on these weeds.

You can also try a DIY weed killer but make sure you understand the implications.

Weed By Hand

While herbicides are definitely the easiest way to eliminate weeds from your new sod, you can also use the oldest and most reliable way of removing weeds: manual removal by hand. Though this is labor-intensive, it will certainly ensure that any undesirable vegetation is eliminated and eliminated for good.

Final Thoughts

Though most sod has a “no weed, guaranteed” rule, sometimes, weeds still manage to get mixed into the sod.

Since weeds spread so rapidly and are very adaptable, it’s important to stamp out the issue before it gets too bad. 

Using specialized herbicides can help eliminate weeds in your new sod, or simply weeding the area will do the trick. However, be sure to be careful because you don’t want to kill your new grass!

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