As the air warms, so does the soil, which sets the stage for another battle with the gardeners greatest nemesis, the weed.
Even though certain weeds continue to grow through the cold of winter, it is the spring invasion that catches most of us off guard.
Mother Nature what were you thinking? Right now, there are millions of weed seeds waiting in your soil for a chance to shine.
They're in your planting beds, flower pots and even under all the millions of grass blades that make up your lawn.
They lie, waiting for the one opportunity, one open spot, to poke their head out and bask in the sunlight.
They germinate unnoticed, until they've grown enough to compete with anything around them.
It seems as if Mother Nature is playing a game with us.
The seeds in the soil are already out numbering us by the millions but then we have to deal with weeds that send fifty seeds springing off in all directions when you touch or try to remove.
Luckily, there are products available to help us control most weeds with relative ease.
They are called pre-emergents and post-emergents.
Yes, they are chemicals and if abused could be toxic, but when used as labeled, they offer you the greatest protection against a sore back and bruised knees.
What is a Pre-emergent? A pre-emergent is a chemical formulation that prevents weed seeds from starting their life cycle.
Seeds will germinate underground but when they try to grow through the top layer of soil, the chemical is there as a guard to eliminate them..
A Pre-emergement prevents NEW weeds from growing.
- apply before weeds start growing- March through mid April
- needs to be present and active at the soil line before weeds start to grow
- need water to become activated, water in or apply before rain - no water, no results
- will not kill existing weeds
- usually lasts 2-3 months
- apply to the soil before you mulch
What is a post-emergent? A post-emergent is a chemical formulation that is applied to actively growing weeds in planting beds or turf.
The weeds are already above ground, actively growing and there is a need to eliminate.
A Post-emergement kills actively growing weeds Most post- emergents are in liquid form sprayed out of a sprayer.
You can buy a store ready mix with a finger pump sprayer for smaller areasor buy the concentrated form and, mix with water in a larger sprayer..
- 2-4 D
We can now eliminate one weed and keep the other right next to it when necessary.
Selective herbicides are formulated to kill specific weeds only.
A selective herbicide for broadleaf weeds in the grass will be sprayed directly over the weed and the grass, killing only the weed, not the grass.
Read labels before you buy Non-selective herbicides are formulated to kill anything they contact.
This means that they don't care what they kill, they kill everything.
Round up, probably the most used weed killer, is a non-selective herbicide.
It will kill anything that is actively growing when it is sprayed on it.
The plant must have leaves on it for the chemical to be absorbed and taken into the system.
If the plant does not have leaves, let it grow a little before spraying, it will work faster.
Round up will not kill a plant without leaves *** Do not use round up in turf for weeds unless you want to kill the grass around the weed.
*** After you empty your sprayer of chemical, rinse it out, spray head and hose also.
Wash each at least 3 times with water to clean the sprayer.
Do not dump the residue on the grass when you rinse, dump or spray out in the street to dry.
Do not dump down drains Remember, pre-emergents need to be applied before weeds start growing and also need to be activated by water or rain.
Use gloves, glasses and the proper clothing before you spray any chemicals.
Good luck, be proactive and read the labels..
Knowledge is Flowers, Todd