Spring Weeds

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 12 September 2019 

After a dry Autumn and a wet and cold winter, weeds are out in full force this Spring. Over the last few weeks, it seems that every second person who comes into our store is looking for advice on how to control them!

It’s not surprising that this is happening – it happens every year at this time, but it does seem that it’s somewhat worse this year. The biggest offenders at the moment are the broadleaf category which include medic, creeping oxalis, thistle, chick weed and other similar types.

How do you kill weeds in lawn?

The fastest way to control weeds in your lawn is to apply a selective herbicide. There are many chemicals that will selectively control weeds in lawn. The type you choose depends on the lawn you are spraying and the weeds you are targeting. Typically, there are herbicides for winter grasses, summer grasses and broad leaf weeds, each of them registered to selectively kill weeds without killing your lawn. 

Choosing the right chemical

It is important to apply the right chemical. If you choose the wrong one, it won’t target the weeds you are trying to kill. Worse still, it may be toxic to the lawn variety you have. Some lawns (such as buffalo) are more sensitive to chemicals than others so make sure you do your research. Have a look at the table below for some help getting this right.  Avoid buying chemicals with an active ingredient called Dicamba. It’s a common ingredient in broadleaf selective herbicides but can be very damaging to your garden’s ecosystem.


Weeds Controlled

Which Lawn?

Mode of Action


Broadleaf weeds such as Clover, creeping oxalis, medic, thistle etc.

Couch, Kikuyu, Buffalo, Tall Fescue, Ryegrass

Post Emergent

Wintergrass Killer


Couch, Buffalo

Post Emergent

Paspalum Kill

 Crabgrass, Nutgrass, Summer Grass, etc.


Post Emergent

Pendi Pro

 Wintergrass, Summer grass and Crabgrass

Kikuyu, Couch, Ryegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass, Bent grass, 


Pre-Emergent (Kills the Seeds)


Winter grass

Couch, Kikuyu and buffalo


Always apply chemicals exactly as per the directions on the label. Avoid the temptation to make your spray mix stronger by adding extra chemical. It won’t make it work better and will most likely damage your lawn in the process. My last tip here is to apply a small amount of wetting agent to your mix just before putting the lid on your sprayer. This will help break the surface tension of the spray droplets which will result in better contact with the leaf of the weed. It will also help stick the chemical on for longer.

What if they simply won’t die?

We often hear of people who have used selective herbicides and gotten poor results. There can be many reasons for this. Following are some tips to ensure best results:

  • Ensure you have the right chemical for the job
  • Make sure you apply the chemical at the right rate. Stronger is not better!
  • Don’t apply when there is going to be rain or dew within 12 hours
  • Pick a warmer day rather than a cold one
  • Spray the whole lawn rather than spot spraying – It’s easy to miss weeds when you spot spray
  • Use a concentrate and mix it with water in your own sprayer rather than using a weed and feed type applicator. Hose on applicators don’t do a very good job at applying the chemical at the right rate.

If your doing all these things and still getting poor results, it may simply be because you have resilient weeds. For example, mature weeds are harder to kill than seedling weeds. Creeping weeds (like creeping oxalis) are almost unstoppable. In these instances, a programed and repetitive approach is required. Be prepared to spray 2-3 weekly until the weeds die. Some weeds will take up to 5 sprays to knock them over.

What if they keep coming back?

Some weeds are easy to kill but they are hard to stop coming back. This is because weeds have a nasty habit of dropping their seeds into your soil. As you kill the weeds, more weed seeds germinate making it look like you’re losing the battle. Persistence is the key. Keep spraying until all the seed in the soil has germinated. 



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