Raking leaves and garden debris and other fall activities that disturb garden soil can expose the seeds of winter annual weeds and start them growing.
Fall can be a busy season in the garden. Fall, of course, is the time to plant spring-blooming bulbs. It's also an excellent time to plant perennials and shrubs, not to mention adding splashes of color with fall ornamentals like mums and decorative kale. Fall is also the season for checking off pre-winter chores like raking leaves and cleaning up seasonal plant dieback. All of this activity has one thing in common. It churns up the soil. And this can be a problem because there are literally millions of weed seeds buried in all garden soil. Planting, raking, pulling weeds and other activities that disturb the soil can uncover those seeds, offering the light, air and moisture that many need to germinate.
You might think that "winter will kill them, so what's the big deal if weeds start to grow now?" The answer is: a group of nasty weeds called winter annuals. These weeds germinate in fall and lie low through winter, even under the snow. When spring arrives they kick into high gear, growing rapidly in the garden. Problem weeds like chickweed, annual bluegrass, hare barley, Carolina geranium, henbit, and others are programmed by nature to produce large numbers of seeds by early summer. Come fall, those seeds are just waiting for the opportunity to sprout.
When dealing with winter annual weeds, the solution is to stop them before they grow – to stop weeds when they're seeds. That's why September and October are perfect months for a smart fall application of Preen Garden Weed Preventer or Preen Southern Weed Preventer.
Remember that Preen is a weed preventer, not a weed killer. It's important to remove any existing weeds before you apply Preen. Sprinkle the product on top of mulch, then water it in to activate the weed prevention barrier.
Fall can be a lovely season in the garden, with mild weather and the bounty of the harvest to enjoy. By adding a fall application of Preen to your other yard chores, you'll insure that when you tiptoe through your colorful tulips and daffodils next spring, you won't have to wade through a crop of fast-growing winter weeds as well.