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Spring Weed Control

Spring Weed Control

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This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

Larry Sagers Horticultural Specialist Utah State University Extension Service Thanksgiving Point Office © All Rights Reserved

Weeds are often called the silent destroys more gardens than any other pests. Good consistent weed control programs are one of the most essential of all garden tasks. Develop an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to controlling weeds. This program includes prevention, mechanical controls, competition, natural enemies and herbicides if needed.

The first step in any IPM weed management program to make certain that the weeds are identified correctly. If you do not know what weed you are dealing with, you may never get good control.

If you have gotten behind on your weeding get out and pull or cultivate annual weeds. Prevention and cultivation are two very successful methods of annual weed control.

The real secret of controlling deep-rooted perennials is to destroy the roots. Perennial weeds are divided into two categories. Simple perennials have a single root and reproduce by only by seed. Control these by digging them out. For those with a large taproot, it is difficult to get down and remove it all completely but removal is an effective control.

Offer a bounty to your children for digging out dandelions. Make it a requirement is that the plants have to have a part of the root attached.

The more difficult weeds are creeping perennials. These produce horizontal stems that grow above or below the soil and form new plants at each node. Some of our most difficult weeds are reproduced this way. Knowing the growth habit of creeping perennial helps you use that knowledge to help control these lurking monsters.

Field bindweed or wild morning glory, wild violets, Canada thistle, clover, whitetop, and quackgrass are all sinister plants in this category. Digging these plants is not the right prescription. The roots of these plants may extend more than five feet into the soil and spread many feet in all directions. Digging these plants or tilling them and cutting the roots into sections simply creates more plants and makes control even more difficult.

Turfgrass is very competitive and can suppress bindweed. Follow all the practices for good turfgrass management including raising the mowing height, irrigation, and fertilizing regularly.

The daytime highs need to be near 55 degrees F for good chemical control on weeds that have already emerged. Remember that herbicides work much more slowly at 55 degrees than they do at 75 degrees.."

Clear away plant debris that may interfere with spray operations and decide which weeds are your targets. Using Trimec or other broadleaved herbicides to control broadleaved weeds. Grassy weeds are best controlled using Roundup or Killzall (glyphosate). A mixture of the two is effective against both grasses and broadleaved plants.

Carefully mix the materials according the label directions. Add an extra spreader sticker if the label calls for it on the label. The material must remain on the leaves until it is absorbed. Spray the weeds so that the foliage is thoroughly wet but avoid using excessive amounts of herbicide.

Mixing a chemical stronger than is recommended actually reduces the weed control. Excessive chemical burns off the top without translocating the herbicide down to the roots.

Weeds are the nemeses of all gardeners but don’t be overwhelmed. Weeds have always been and will always be in your garden. Successful gardeners use many different IPM techniques to suppress and control them. Weed control is always important to a successful garden.

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