How To Tackle Weeds in an Overly Wet Season

Put an end to these unwanted, moisture-loving plants.

If you've never had to deal with the crazy number of weeds that comes with an extra-wet spring or summer, chances are you'll get your turn. As weather patterns shift, different regions are seeing rain like they haven't before, and all that extra moisture creates the perfect conditions for plants that can handle such extremes—like weeds. It's important to know what to do in this kind of situation, because controlling weeds in heavy rains means doing things a bit differently. Here's how to prevent, pull, and put an end to these unwanted plants.

Prevent an Influx of Weeds

Once the rain comes and doesn't stop, you can feel a bit helpless in terms of tackling weeds. The key is setting yourself up beforehand, if possible. Here's how to get ahead.

  • Protect your lawn. If the meteorologist is predicting an unusually wet season, weed and feed your entire yard before the rains start. Spreading a weed killer with lawn food (aka weed and feed) will help knock out any bad guys that are already there while strengthening your grass so it can fight off any weeds that might crop up after a lot of rain.
  • Check your landscapes and hardscapes. If you have any weeds sprouting up between your patio pavers, along your driveway, or in your landscape areas, they're only going to get worse once consistent rain sets in. Use Ortho® GroundClear® Super Weed & Grass Killer (following all label directions) to spot-treat these problem areas while you can.
  • Add mulch where you can. Put down a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch on your landscape and garden beds to help deter weeds. Mulch isn't just for aesthetics (although, it does look nice)—it also helps discourage weed growth and block out the sunlight they need to successfully sprout.

Kill Weeds When You Can

Certain weeds, such as dandelion, purslane, moss, and wild garlic, experience explosive growth in wet conditions. Get them under control anytime the rain lets up, before they get out of control. Young weeds are not only easier to deal with physically, but pulling them out of the ground immediately means they won't have the chance to go to seed and become perennials. For example, one mature dandelion can potentially spread 15,000 seeds! So, pull them up while the soil is damp and make sure to remove the entire root to keep them from coming back.

How to do this without getting soaked yourself? Keep weed-killing essentials at the ready. A basket filled with garden gloves, a hand-weeding tool, and lawn bags makes it easy to dash outside during a rain reprieve to hand-pull any newly formed weeds. Be sure to toss those into your bag. In drier times, weeds left on the ground wither away and die quickly, but in wet weather, they could re-root, so it's essential to dispose of them properly.

Look for New Weed Spots

With extensive rain comes the potential for weeds in places you might not have had them before, including your yard. If you've always kept your lawn weed-free, don't worry. One overly wet season probably won't turn it into a danger zone, but you might have problems with dandelions, chickweed, and moss that you didn't have before. If you see small weeds starting to creep into your precious green space, spray Ortho® WeedClear™ Lawn Weed Killer Concentrate (as directed on the label). It's rainproof 1 hour after applying it, and it kills over 200 weeds at their roots.

Weeds also are notorious for showing up in hard-to-grow places like driveway cracks, between bricks, and through decks. So, look up, down, and all around the outside of your home—don't be surprised to find weeds growing from vinyl siding and trim. If you find weirdly placed weeds, enlist the help of Ortho® GroundClear® Super Weed & Grass Killer to spot-treat them. When used as directed, it starts working immediately to kill weeds, and is rain-resistant within 15 minutes. But, if you spot weeds in rooftop gutters or drain pipes, pull those manually so that product doesn't flow into storm drainage systems.

Recover After the Rain Stops

Once Mother Nature turns the waterworks off, spend time examining your property. If there are landscape weeds that grew despite your due-diligence and are now too big to pull, go after them with Ortho® GroundClear® Super Weed & Grass Killer. When used as directed, it can kill even the toughest of weeds down to their roots—and if you're dealing with plants that have had the added benefit of prolonged moisture, you'll appreciate the maximum control.

If all this precipitation has increased weeds in your lawn or delayed your usual springtime treatment for crabgrass, be sure to spray Ortho® Weed B-Gon™ Lawn Weed Killer Ready-To-Use + Crabgrass Control as soon as you can get back out there. When used as directed, it won't damage your lawn, but it will tell moisture-loving crabgrass and other pesky weeds that they're not wanted.

Check your mulch levels and make sure it's still intact, or spread a new layer if heavy rains displaced it. Sun is likely on its way, so give the plants you love the best chance for success by reducing weeds' ability to germinate once those powerful rays of light return.

Whether you're able to help prevent an influx of weeds ahead of an overly wet season or you have to go on patrol and kill weeds in the rain (or a bit of both), these tips will make it easier on you and tougher on them. You probably won't find yourself out there singing in the rain, but keeping weeds in check is a glorious feeling, indeed.

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