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Friday, March 28, 2014

Eliminating Lawn Burweed

Lawn Burweed

The extremely cold winter even slowed the weeds down a little.  However, as soon as it warmed up a little, they took off like gang-busters.  Then my phone started ringing with homeowners looking for control solutions. 

Depending on the weed species I might tell them to mow the weeds or wait until warm kills off the winter annuals.  One big exception to these two scenarios is if they have lawn burweed also known as spurweed.  This weed needs to be destroyed now before it flowers and produces those little, sharp, brown seeds with spurs. The simplest way to do this is with a timely application of a postemergent herbicide.

  A three-way combination herbicide may be used on bermudagrass, zoysiagrss, centipedegrass, or St. Augustinegrass. The active ingredients of a three-way herbicide often include the following broadleaf weed killers: 2,4-D, dicamba, and mecoprop (MCPP). Examples of a three-way herbicide are Ferti-lome Weed-Out Lawn Weed Killer with Trimec, Bayer Advanced Southern Weed Killer for Lawns, Spectracide Weed Stop Weed Killer for Lawns, Southern Ag Lawn Weed Killer with Trimec, and many others regional brands.  Ferti-Lome Weed Free Zone adds a fourth chemical, carfentrazone to broaden the spectrum of weed control.  Spectracide Weed Stop 2X for Lawns also adds a fouth chemical, sulfentrazone.

If the clumps have gotten large or the weather is too cool, two applications might be necessary.   Wait 10 – 14 days after the first application to make the second one.  Do not apply these herbicides around the drip-line of trees or in flowerbeds. Always follow label instructions and precautions.

Another piece of advice for effectively controlling lawn burweed is to apply an appropriate preemergent herbicide during the fall or late winter months.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Preventing Summer Annual Weeds in Your Lawn

Common lespedeza
As winter begins its transition into spring, we look to the beautiful, yellow blooms of yellow bells (Forsythia sp) to remind us to apply pre-emergent weed killer to the lawn
Well, mine is not blooming this year.  I cannot ever remember not seeing a yellow bell bloom in the spring, but apparently that last hard freeze killed most of the buds on my plant.
 I generally tell people to apply their chemicals by the calendar and not by when a plant blooms, so it is not too big a deal for me except I miss the bright, yellow flowers.

Anyhow, now is the time to apply pre-emergent weed killers to your lawn to control those pesky, summer annual weeds.  It is best to try to control them now so you will not have to call me later in the summer with a problem.  There are several good products from which to choose:

1. atrazine                        Image herbicide for St. Augustinegrass and Centipedegrass with Atrazine; Spectricide Weedstop for Lawns; Hi-Yield Atrazine Weed Killer
2. dithiopyr                        Sta-Green Crab Ex; Green Light Crabgrass Preventer; Vigoro Preemergent Crabgrass and Weed Preventer; Hi Yield Turf & Ornamental Weed & Grass Stopper
3. pendimethalin               Scott’s Halts Crabgrass Preventer
4. oryzalin                         Southern Ag. Surflan A.S.
5. isoxaben                       Portrait Broadleaf Weed Preventer
6. benefin + oryzalin          Green Light Amaze Grass and Weed Preventer; XL 2G
7. benefin + trifluralin         Hi-Yield Crabgrass Preventer; Southern Ag. Team 2 G
8. corn gluten meal            Concern All Natural Weed Preventer Plus; Nature’s Guide Corn Gluten Meal   

I often tell clients to buy any product that has ‘crabgrass killer’ in its name.  That makes it easy to remember when they go to purchase a product.  These products will control many other weeds beside crabgrass however.  The key to good control with any of these products is to apply them before a rain or to water the lawn within a week of application to move the chemical into the soil.

The corn gluten meal products are primarily for those who want an organic form of weed control.  It is primarily effective on crabgrass only.  Also, due to the high temperatures and high rainfall in the south, it will be less effective than the other products.

As for those ‘weed and feed’ products that are supposed to control weeds in your lawn and fertilize it at the same time, do not waste your money.  You need to be applying your weed control product now.  Your grass will not need any fertilizer for about two more months. 

Before you use any chemical, be sure to read and follow the instructions on the product label . . . even if you have to put on your glasses!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Caring for Your Valentine’s Day Bouquet

Did you come back to this blog to see if I bought my wife flowers or planted a tree for her for Valentine’s Day?  Or, were you one of the fortunate ones that received a bouquet of roses or other cut flowers for Valentine’s Day and want to know how to prolong their beauty?

Here are a few tips will help your flowers last longer, maybe even a few weeks!

First, recut the stems at least 1 inch shorter than when you got them. Use a sharp knife and cut at a 45-degree angle.   Immediately submerge the stems in warm water.  Even better is to cut the stems while they are under water.

Be sure and strip off any leaves that would otherwise be immersed in the vase water. Add a packet of flower preservative to the water.  Often this comes with the bouquet.  If not, you can purchase these from a florist or from the floral sections of some discount stores.  If you do not have or cannot find the floral preservative packets, change the water daily in the vase.

Avoid displaying your bouquet in a hot room or in direct sunlight.  You can make your bouquet last even longer is to put the whole thing, into the refrigerator every night before you go to bed and then take it out in the morning.  Putting the bouquet in a cooler part of the house will work to some degree as well.

Remember, cut flower bouquets do not last forever, so take a picture of you with your bouquet so the memories will last long after the flowers have faded.  Or you can press a few of the flowers between pages of newspaper to dry them.  They might not be as colorful but the will be a reminder of the good times.

As for my wife, I bought her a pot of yellow orchids.  And she is very happy!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Special Arbor Day Celebration in 2014

Two very special things are happening next Friday – Valentine’s Day and Arbor Day in Mississippi.  Both are important days.  One keeps the significant other feeling loved while the other makes Mother Nature happy. So where is your emphasis going to be?

It is nice to have someone to keep you warm on these cold winter nights, but planting trees slows global warming.  The choice is which to celebrate.

Are you going to buy some roses that have been flown in from South America?  This contributes to both a warm body next to you and to global warming.  But stop and think about it for a few moments.  You will pay an excessive amount of money for flowers that will be thrown out in a week and degrade the environment to get them here.  Or you can plant a tree that will last for decades and will clean the environment.

I suggest you start a new trend.  Plant a tree dedicated to that special person on this Valentine/Arbor Day (and all future Arbor Days)!  Yes, you might have to sleep on the couch a few nights while trying to get her to understand this great thing you have done.  But some day when your children or grandchildren are swinging from this tree and the two of you are watching them in its cool shade, you will be seen as a true romantic and a hero saving the planet Earth.

Some of you might be wondering what choice I am going to make.  You will have to check back in the future to find out!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Arctic Blast: Part 2

     Remember in my last post I recommended waiting to clean up your freeze-damaged plants. Well, that was just in case we had another severe cold weather outbreak. Guess what is coming to Mississippi early next week: Arctic blast part 2.

     If you cleaned up your damaged plants, let us hope that you did not get into any undamaged wood. If you did, you might get additional damage and have to cut your plants further back. And this is not good for your plants.

     One thing you need to do before the cold air gets here is to check the moisture around your outdoor plants especially if you have any in containers.  The low humidity has dried things out a lot in spite of how cold it has been.

     You can bring your water hose indoors to limber it up before watering your plants.  Give them a good soaking.  This will give them added freeze protection.

     Now just hang on for another week of severe cold.  Long range weather projections are showing upper 60s the first week of February.