Stop the weed apocalypse before it’s too late

  • Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The time has come: Stop the “Weed Apocalypse” now. Many terrorist of different genus and species are prepared to attack you where you live. Prepare to fight. Stop the spread of the obnoxious weed species now before it is too late. Weeds cause disease and mayhem. Weed jihad against your yard and flower beds.

What you are targeting now are small seeded winter annual weeds. These are weeds that germinate from seeds late summer, grow into plants during the winter, then flower and produce seed for the following year in early spring. The seeds lay dormant over the summer, and then germinate late summer to begin another life cycle.

Some examples of the most common winter annual weeds are annual bluegrass (Poa annua), chickweed, Carolina geranium, and Henbit. The weed that we get the most complaints about is annual bluegrass. It is the grassy weed with the white seed head in late March, early April. If you control your winter weeds now with a preemergent herbicide, you usually will not have to mow your grass until later. All of these weeds are very visible in a brown dormant grass. These weeds also compete with your existing turf when it tries to come out of dormancy in April.

A couple of weeds that are not annual weeds that are visible at the same time are Dollar weed and Florida Betony (rattlesnake or artichoke weed). These weeds require different control methods since they are not coming up from seed.

Many customers of ours at Possum’s have reported a drastic reduction in Florida Betony by using the higher rate of Dimension right now. I have done research for the manufacturer (Dow AgroSciences) and have shown great results in all my test plots. Technically, since Dow did not pay the EPA the money to add this application to the label because this weed is not significant enough in their eyes to recoup the money paid to the EPA, I cannot recommend this application. If you have Florida Betony and are going to use a preemergent product for annual bluegrass, you might want to give a product containing Dimension a try.

Dimension comes in many strengths, so be sure you purchase the correct one. We see many national companies selling the lower active ingredient product (0.10 percent, 0.13 percent, and 0.15 percent) and not advising the customer about the higher use rates required in the Coastal South for this product.

Preemergent products do what their name implies. These products kill the weeds seed before it can emerge from the ground. By killing the weed before it emerges from the ground, you are making your life a lot easier. Killing weeds after they emerge (post-emergent) is much harder on you and your grass.

Be careful to read and follow product labels so that you do not over-apply products. Since a lot of people put out preemergent products as a granular, be careful not to overlap too much or you can damage your turf.

Now is the time to put out preemergent products (two weeks before the soil temperatures are ready for winter weeds to germinate). Various fertilizers such as; 16-00-08, 15-00-15, 00-00-07and 23-00-08 combined with preemergent will give your lawn and shrubs (don’t forget the shrubs!) one last feeding of nitrogen for the year while controlling the weeds. Usually you will want to come back with another preemergent in 6-10 weeks depending on the products you use and the weather conditions.

Mosquito invasion. Don’t get me started….

Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a federal law.


Bill Lamson-Scribner can be reached during the week at Possum’s Landscape and Pest Control Supply. Possum’s has three locations including one at 481 Long Point Rd. in Mount Pleasant (971-9601). Bring your questions to a Possum’s location, or visit us at http://www.possumsupply.com. You can also call in your questions to “The Garden Clinic”, Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m., on 1250 WTMA. The Horticulture Hotline is available 24 / 7 at possumsupply.com.

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