Introduction to Integrated Weed Management

Prevention, control, eradication, and management are the  foremost tools in our toolbelt when it comes to handling weeds. When used in the right way, these strategies will reduce the future labor and enhance the beauty of your grass.  

Weed Prevention, Control, Eradication, and Management


Weed prevention stops weeds from entering an area. Zimdahl (2018) says it best, “prevention addresses a potential problem, one that does not exist yet.” Incorporating weed prevention into your weed management program is intensive, but the results are worthwhile. The first and easiest step is to purchase clean grass seed from your distributor. When you go to the store to check out different seed products, keep an eye out for the seed analysis tag on the back that highlights this valuable information. Secondly, you will want a clean seedbed to put that seed down onto. Here you have the option of hand weeding the area beforehand, using an herbicide, or another technique more suited to your expertise and topography. Lastly, maintaining clean equipment (spreader or tank wheels, shoes, shovel and rake heads, and work areas) will reduce the spread of weed seeds from potentially contaminated sources.



Weed control is the ability to manage weeds below a given threshold using mechanical, biological, physical, cultural, and chemical means. Weed control is fluid in that your methods can be tailored to a certain problem.



Eradication, like that of prevention, is difficult to completely achieve. To have successful eradication, you must get rid of all weedy material: weeds aboveground, their below-ground components, and all weed seeds in the weed seedbank. Weeds will always be present as much as we do not want them to be. Odds are that your neighbor with the pristine lawn has weeds, too. There is no surefire way of getting rid of all weeds, but this goal can be achieved by consistently scouting for weeds and staying on top of your irrigation, mowing, fertilization, and chemical applications.



Weed management is harmony of these three techniques: prevention, control, and eradication. The Introduction to IPM article focuses on pest management, but the same steps are applicable while managing weeds as well.

  1. Set your pest threshold- When should you act against your weeds?
  2. Understanding general IPM principles- Sun, nutrients, or water causing the weed infestation?
  3. Weed prevention- What steps can I take to reduce the weed infestation?
  4. Weed identification and scouting- What am I working with, and when should I see them?
  5. Weed control- What is the threshold I will control my weeds at?

Managing weeds will always be an uphill battle, but with proper planning and execution, you can be a successful turfgrass manager.


Zimdahl, R. L. (2018). Fundamentals of Weed Science (5th ed.). San Diego, USA. Academic Press.