Solving Weed Problems At The End Of Winter

Lawn weeds are notorious for waking up and getting going earlier than lawn grass, just as spring arrives. Weeds are quick to take advantage of bare spots or thin grass cover and will grab the opportunity to take over.

Early spring is a great time to tackle weedy invaders, before they turn into an eyesore. Here are some tips on how to deal with some of the usual suspects.

General Broadleaf Weeds

Broadleaf weeds can sneak in under the radar. They start off small and inconspicuous, hiding in amongst grass blades. As lawn growth starts to slow in late autumn, weed growth can really take off - all of a sudden they seem to appear from nowhere. If broadleaf lawn weeds like clover, thistles, capeweed and dandelions aren't controlled they can outcompete grass and become really noticeable in spring.

It doesn't need to be complicated or time consuming to create a weed-free lawn, you can easily control them with a selective herbicide. This is the type of weedkiller that removes weedy invaders without harming the lawn grass. Yates Turfix Lawn Weed Spray is our go-to choice to cull these weeds, and it's compatible with common NZ lawn types like fescue, browntop, and ryegrass.

The easiest way to control most common broadleaf weeds in lawns, before they begin to dominate, is with Yates Weed n Feed Double Action. Clicking it into the hose and spraying it on only takes minutes. Yates Weed’n’Feed is boosted with key lawn nutrients nitrogen and iron, which both promote a deep rich green lawn.

If you only have a small patch of weeds or a lawn where using a hose-on applicator isn't practical, then you can apply some Yates Weed n Feed Double Action Granular. Apply the granules dry, onto moist grass and weeds, and leave for 2 days before watering in thoroughly. The lawn will turn black but will quickly recover to its normal state - but even lusher.


This opportunistic NZ native can creep into your lawn over winter and rapidly expands as soon as the warmer spring weather arrives. If your lawn soil doesn’t drain well and stays wet though winter, or it tends to be acidic, it will be a very attractive environment for hydrocotyle. If you didn’t get on to tidying up the lawn last autumn, it’ll be open season! This is one of the reasons it’s important to fertilise and repair any patches from summer wear and tear, during autumn.

Getting rid of hydrocotyle is quite a challenge because it can tolerate many of the traditional selective herbicides used on the lawn. The best product for the job is Yates Hydrocotyle Killer concentrate as the active ingredient, triclopyr, is very effective against hydrocotyle species (as well as creeping oxalis, another tricky weed to get rid of). For long term control of hydrocotyle it’s good practice to apply some Yates Thrive Natural Garden Lime, aerate the lawn and improve the drainage.


Moss invades your lawn over winter while the wetter conditions suit it best. Just like hydrocotyle, moss will take advantage if you haven't kept up your lawn care routine through the winter. Then if you leave the moss to burn off naturally over summer, the gaps generally fill in with more weeds. A well-fed healthy lawn in Autumn is your best defence against moss. To control moss in lawns, use Yates Surrender concentrate. It's easy to apply and won’t leave unsightly brown stains on concrete or tiles. It's actually able to be used on all sorts of hard surfaces, not just your lawn! If you have some left over from the lawn, use it to clean up moss or slippery algae on the paths or patio. 

Alternatively (if you need to be careful around other plants), Yates Weed'n'Feed Mosskiller Fertiliser is a handy granular format that gives you a lot of control over where it's applied. This concentrated blend of iron and nitrogen quickly burns off mossy patches in the lawn. After two weeks, the dead moss can be raked away. The rich nitrogen boost in Yates Weed'n'Feed Mosskiller Fertiliser will also help feed the lawn and encourage growth. A strong, healthy lawn is better able to resist moss infestations. To reduce the chances of moss returning, aerate the lawn area with a garden fork.

Onehunga Weed

Kids and pets will appreciate a summer without prickly feet! If you had prickles in your lawn this summer, make sure you get Onehunga weed under control before it has a chance to flower and set seed in early spring...basically, you need to kill it before it flowers to stop the prickles from forming. An application of our Yates Prickle Weedkiller any time before early spring will prevent prickles for next summer - giving it an extra shot in autumn while the lawn soil is still warm will boost your results of your spring application.

If you have nightmare weeds like nutgrass/sedge appearing in your lawn, get out the big gun; use Zero Tough Heavy Duty Weedkiller as a spot spray. It contains a water soluble, blue highlighter so you can see exactly where you've sprayed; after application the blue highlighter will vanish with exposure to sunlight.

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