Does Pulling Lawn Weeds by Hand Work? 4 Things to Know

Written By: Todd Thomasson

When it comes to a great lawn, weeds interrupt the whole gorgeous picture, making your lawn less than curb appealing.

And your lawn – as the front-facing part of your entire property – is highly important to your home value and identity. You don’t need weeds ruining your home investment and everything you’ve worked for. 

A great, weed-free appearance that enhances your home doesn’t happen by chance. It takes proper care and attention, which includes a comprehensive weed control strategy.

As you see weeds in your lawn, you might think you can just stop at the local home improvement store and purchase some DIY weed removal products or even pull those weeds by hand and be good to go. 

But is pulling weeds by hand effective? Does pulling weeds make it worse? Let’s talk about this weed control option and whether it’s doing more harm than good for your lawn.

4 Bits of Info About Pulling Weeds By Hand

Weeds aren’t welcome in your landscape beds; that’s a given. You don’t like them; we don’t like them. 

Read The Ultimate Guide to Controlling Lawn Weeds
But going on a total rampage and spending your quality time ripping weeds out of the ground may not be impacting your Northern Virginia home lawn in a positive way. 

In fact, you might only be encouraging your weed problem instead of stopping it. Let’s learn more and answer the question, “Does pulling weeds work?”

1. When Pulling Weeds By Hand You May Not Pull the Entire Weed

Pulling weeds is both time-consuming and exhausting. And with how fast weeds spread, you can easily find yourself in a nonstop battle with these lawn invaders throughout the growing season. 

The problem with pulling weeds by hand is that when you yank it from the ground, you may not be pulling out the entire weed. And if you leave the roots behind, a weed can easily regrow. 

weeds growing in lawn

This is especially true as weeds mature, growing deeper and deeper roots. 

Nothing is worse than doing a job and then having to keep redoing that job again and again. It’s an endless weed cycle.

2. Does Pulling Weeds Make It Worse? Yes, It Could Spread Weed Seeds

Another big reason to avoid pulling weeds by hand is that you can inadvertently spread their ugly weed seeds, making the problem much worse then when you started.

Weed seeds are meant to spread easily; they are made that way. So not only can they travel in the air, but they can also latch onto your shoes or clothes or any tools you’re using, and then end up in new places – maybe even places they wouldn't have showed up. And now you have more weeds to pull all over your property instead of just the one.

3. Pulling Weeds By Hand is Hard Work

Pulling weeds by hand is considered manual labor. You have to bend way over or get down on your hands and knees and get close to that weed to ensure you yank the entire plant and its roots from the ground. 

Crabgrass with seedheads

You may also need tools you don’t have to really grab that weed by the roots. Garden gloves are also a plus. 

But the manual labor really kicks in when you find you have to continually pull weeds by hand as they continue to grow back. So, putting in this hard work isn’t as rewarding when you don’t get the results you’d like.

4. You Could Be Wasting Time and Money Pulling Weeds By Hand

Many people think pulling weeds by hand will save them money. 

But, the reality is that since the weed rarely goes away, the costs of continually trying to control it add up. 

Spotted Spurge in grass

You continue to waste time on hand-pulling the weed, as well as buying some tools to help. 

Your time is something you shouldn’t take for granted since it’s a large part of your total costs. What would you pay yourself per hour? Your time performing this weed control by hand might be better spent at work, on a hobby, or even enjoying time with family.  

What Strategies Really Do Work For Northern Virginia Weed Control?

Now you know the answer to, “Is pulling weeds by hand effective?”  

Here are real, proven strategies that help keep weeds at bay and controlled in Northern Virginia.

Mow Correctly

While you may be tempted to lower your mowing height when you see weeds sneak in, that’s actually the worst thing you can do because it brings sunshine to weeds and weed seeds, helping them grow faster. 

lawn care expert mows grass

Mow to a 3.5- to 4-inch height to keep your lawn from stressing out and encourage dense grass growth, shading out weeds so you don’t have to spend weekends pulling weeds by hand.

Keep Your Lawn Healthy

Your best way to avoid pulling weeds by hand is to maintain a thick, healthy lawn. 

holding-soil-2

To do this, you want to provide proper, regular nutrition through a fertilizer program that is based off of soil test results, so it provides exactly what your lawn needs.

Stop Compaction and Eliminate Bare Spots

Pulling weeds by hand is not a great way to spend a weekend. 

One of the best ways to prevent this inevitability is through a simple fall service that actually provides so many positives. 

lawn care technician aerates grass

Annual aeration, overseeding, and topdressing can limit soil compaction, fill in bare areas, and provide your lawn soil with any additional nutrients it needs to take in water and fertilizer adequately. This is important because voids left in grass with exposed soil can permit weed invasion.

Water Properly

Next, make sure you’re watering your lawn with long, infrequent irrigation and that you have adequate drainage to prevent weeds and pulling weeds by hand. 

You definitely don’t want to underwater or overwater – especially overwater since weeds prefer extra moisture. 

sprinkler head waters grass

Usually your Northern Virginia lawn needs about 1 to 2 inches of water each week. 

At certain times of the year, however, this requirement can be met through rainfall. But during dry spells, you’ll want to supplement what Mother Nature provides through watering with your irrigation system or lawn sprinklers.

Hire a Professional For Weed Control

Even though weeds are pretty hardy, hiring a professional for weeds is the best way to tackle them and prevent having to pull weeds by hand. 

lawn care team sprays for weeds

Preventive strategies will keep a lot of weeds away, but they may still find a way through if the weather is just right. That’s when pre-emergent weed control can help with weeds that are best controlled before germination like crabgrass and post-emergent weed control can help with other weeds. This is best done by a professional since each weed needs proper identification and precise herbicide timing to ensure maximum, targeted control. Lawn care pros will use specialty herbicides delivered with precise nozzles to reduce the particle size of the product and help it better stick to tough weeds. 

We also provide adequate fertilization, aeration, overseeding, and topdressing to build lawn health at the same time to ensure your lawn better defends itself against this weed.

Turf’s Up Can Help You Fight Weeds The Right Way in Northern Virginia

Weeds certainly enjoy stealing the spotlight and taking over when all you want them to do is keep out. 

That’s why learning how this weed operates and finding the best methods of control can help you get a weed-free lawn in Northern Virginia and prevent you from having to constantly pull weeds by hand. 

You don’t want to be constantly interrupted by weeds. And once these weeds get in, they can be quite hard to control. We get it; weeds are a nuisance.


Preventing and eliminating weeds is your greatest way to keep your lawn looking great. But your time is precious. Turf’s Up can help you by providing a complete, proactive lawn care program that includes everything you need to keep your lawn healthy – proper fertilization based on soil test results; pre-emergent and post-emergent weed control treatments; lime applications to get your pH in the right range; and aeration, overseeding, and topdressing services. 

When you have professional eyes on your property with technicians who can recognize different weeds and stop them before they get out of hand, you can get your nice lawn back and eliminate this stress. 

Ready to learn why Turf’s Up could be your totally awesome choice for lawn care services in Northern Virginia? We’re stoked to learn more about you and help you have the best lawn on the block. Get started today with a free quote. Together, we can prepare a customized plan that is perfect for you and your lawn. 

lawn care service comparison

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