The Great Outdoors


Most of the questions that are coming my way are about weeds growing in the yard and how to get rid of them. Pulling and digging is maybe alright for a small area but getting down to the root, literally is another matter.

Most broadleaf weeds multiply in the root system making them very difficult to simply dig up. Any part of the root remaining will just grow into another weed. Absolutely the easiest and most effective way to get rid of unwanted weeds is by using liquid or granular weed killers.

Don’t want to use chemicals, no problem…just keep digging over and over. Who knows, you might get lucky.

Now if you really want to get rid of these pesky weeds, let’s talk about timing and just exactly how the weeds function. I was once under the impression that a thirsty weed would suck up the solution better and therefore die quicker…wrong! A weed will absorb the weed killers then translocate the chemical all the way to the base of the root system best just after a somewhat heavy rain. In other words, while the weeds are in the process of taking up water. It is also a good idea not to mow 2 to 3 days before the application of the weed killers and then again, no mowing for another 2 to 3 days after.

When applying dry products such as Weed and Feed you want the grass and weeds to be damp. Doing this operation in the morning with dew on the ground is the perfect time.

Now that many weeds are in plain sight, everyone is anxious to go after them.

Crabgrass Preventer goes down first followed by the Weed and Feed in April then in late May/early June use plain Lawn Food.

Give your yard a break from the fertilizers and weed killers during the hot and dry summer months.
Once fall arrives it is time, and I cannot emphasize this enough, to apply Weed and Feed for the prevention of weeds for next spring. Fall is the most important time of all for applying weed killers. If you do not want the expensive of all of those applications, then skip all of them except the fall application.

Key ingredients to look for in your weed killers are: 2,4-D (dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) best for dandelions… MCPP (2-(2-methyl-4-chlorophenoxy)propionic acid) best for white clover and dicamba (3,6-
dichloro-o-anisic acid) best for ground ivy control. I give you these long, tough to say words because they are on the label under “active ingredients” and you should know what they are best used for.

Vinegar is a great way to eliminate tough weeds like thistles. Continuous spraying of 10% to 20% vinegar and/or cutting them back often will eventually wear out the plant.

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Doug Hackbarth

Doug's is the former owner of Broadview Florist & Greenhouses in Waynedale. He authors a garden & landscaping article in the newspaper. In his adolescence he attended Hillcrest, Kekionga and Elmhurst HS. His expertise has been shared in print, tv and radio. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer