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What to Do About Weeds in Lawns, Mulch, Nooks, Crannies and Cracks – A Brief Guide to Weed Control
by Rick Orr
It has been a great rainy season. The rains have been good for everything in the landscape – including weeds. Weeds are in the lawns, planting bed mulch and seem to be growing in every nook, cranny and crack. I am seeing weeds where nothing grew. So what to do about the weeds? The answer is a good plan and sticking to it.
Weeds in the Lawn
The good news is that the rains have been good for the turf – not just weeds. Also weeds DO NOT kill a St Augustine lawn. If properly fertilized, watered and mowed (culture), St Augustine will outcompete weeds in the lawn with few exceptions. The main exceptions for Pinellas County are sedges and dollar weed.
Therefore the best management practice is to continue to improve the culture of the St Augustine. The summer wet months are the prime time to grow as much St Augustine as possible, heal in damage areas and recover bare areas. Tolerate weeds this time of the year – even weeds look good mowed and then in the cooler months start to hammer the weeds with herbicides. Otherwise if you start applying herbicides in the summer heat and rains you will damage the St Augustine and have your herbicides neutralized by the next thunder storm.
The best way to manage weeds in lawns is to hammer the weeds in the fall and winter with herbicides to be as clean as possible for the spring. Keep the lawn healthy through the summer and then in the fall treat the weeds that came during the summer rainy season. A rinse and repeat method for weed control.
Weeds in Planting Beds
Your best weapon against weeds in planting beds is consistency. Choose one day a month – like the 1st Saturday – and go weed hunt using Round Up on that day every month. Be patient and allow Round Up to work – it works slowly but it does work. Mix Round Up in a sprayer – mixed roundup does not store so mix fresh every month - and start to hunt weeds in the beds.
Roundup does not remove weeds, it only kills them. So if your beds are overgrown you might want to hand weed and then start your regular monthly spraying. Or you could just spray the weeds and allow nature to take its course and soon even the biggest weeds will decompose.
Roundup Tip: Round Up is only absorbed by green leaf surface. Spraying on bark or woody stems does not kill a plant. Also it takes a good soaking of Round Up to kill an ornamental shrub. Spraying directly on a weed and avoiding the shrub will kill the weed not the plant. I often use my foot to block the desirable from the spray.
Weeds in Nooks, Crannies and Cracks
What is a cranny? Doesn’t matter, you treat them the same as a crack and nook. Like weeds in beds, diligence and consistency pay off. As you weed hunt on that 1st Saturday of the month, go after those areas where you don’t want weeds. Regular spraying of nooks, crannies and cracks will prevent even the smallest seedling from maturing into an ugly weed.
For those area where you do not want anything to grow – like cracks in drives or pavers – use rock salt. Simply sprinkler and sweep into cracks. Careful not to let it get into lawns or planting beds.
ILoveTurf.com - August 16th, 2012
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