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Now's the time to treat your lawn and flower beds to kill the weeds coming next spring and summer.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Just because the weather is starting to cool off doesn't mean you can slack off on your lawn maintenance.

In fact, October could be the most critical month for lawn maintenance. The work you put in this month will create a healthier, more beautiful lawn in the spring and summer.

This month, many summer weeds are dying out and winter weeds are beginning to emerge. This can be a two-fold problem. The summer weeds have created a supply of seeds that will sit dormant until late spring or early summer. Simultaneously, the winter weeds are ready to start their growing season.

Combating these issues now is a fairly simple task, but if not performed, it will lead to larger problems in the future. Consider using a pre-emergent herbicide, such as Dimension, Preen or Amaze in your lawn to prevent winter weeds from germinating. Pre-emergent herbicides are an excellent tool for controlling weeds in the lawn if used properly.

A key to understanding pre-emergent herbicides is to know how they work on the plant. This product inhibits seeds from germinating. So if you already have weeds in your lawn, the chemical will have no effect on them. Any weed seeds that have not yet germinated can be controlled with a pre-emergent herbicide.

These herbicides can be used in the lawn as well as the flower beds. It's even been recommended that you apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the cracks of your driveway and between slabs of concrete and foundation where pesky weeds tend to emerge.

Because the purpose of this product is to prevent seeds from germinating, don't plant flower seeds in the same area. The chemical will have the same effect on seeds you want, such as cosmos and sunflowers, as the weed seeds you don't.

Virginia buttonweed was a horrific pest in Southern lawns this year. You may see this weed yellowing and dying in your lawn this month as its growing season is coming to an end. What may seem like relief from this weed is really just the beginning for next season. There is such an abundance of seeds on this plant, you may consider hand pulling it in your lawn where it is possible. There are no pre-emergent herbicides which give reliable control of Virginia buttonweed. However, physical removal, along with chemical treatments of existing plants, will offer a strong fight against it.

Got a question?

Email gardennews@agcenter.lsu.edu.