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Pulling out the weeds
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If you are like most of us, then this is the time of year we all have something growing in the yard other than what you want to be growing.

I think weeds in a lawn after gardeners have taken time to make it is as pretty and lush as possible is Mother Nature’s way of reminding us she is still in control.

Right now, the weeds are called winter annual weeds. These include henbit, purple deadnettle, annual bluegrass and chickweed.

At this point, you cannot do much to kill them because they have already done their damage by producing seed that will germinate next fall. But you can mow them down to make them a little less noticeable.

The one good thing about all of these weeds is once it gets hot, they will die. And the problem is gone for the rest of the growing season.

The second group of weeds concerning Hall Countians are the summer annual weeds. Weeds such as crabgrass, lespedeza and prostrate knotweed can be prevented now with a good application of a pre-emergent herbicide. If not controlled, the weed seeds will germinate in the coming weeks and be harder to control later.

A third group of weeds to consider are perennial weeds such as Virginia buttonweed. Perennials are harder to control and usually take repeated applications of a herbicide.

Many times you will have to resort to digging out as much of the plant, roots and all, to eliminate them. Perennials not only reproduce by seed, but are able to spread by their root system. This is what makes them very difficult to control.

No matter the type of weed you try to remove, always read and follow the label directions and prescribed rates of application. If the chemical manufacturer could have you use more, then they would. It means more sales of the products.

Also be aware of the weather conditions the day of and the days immediately after application. Applying chemicals in the wrong weather conditions can cause a failure of the treatment or contaminate a neighbor’s flowers or Lake Lanier.

Chemical treatments are just one tool for you to use in controlling weeds. Test the soil to obtain proper fertilization rates and lime recommendations.

Keeping a healthy lawn with a dense canopy will go a long way to reduce weed pressure.

Mow your lawn at the proper height and don’t let the grass get too high before cutting. You should only cut about 1/3 of the plant at a time. So this means cut the lawn when it reaches 3 inches if you intend to keep it at a 2-inch mowing height.

Watering your lawn is another way to keep it strong and healthy. If your grass needs it, apply 1 inch of water once a week. This will encourage a deep root system and dense carpet of grass.

If you have questions about lawn weed control, give me a call. I will be glad to help with your questions.

 

Michael Wheeler is county extension coordinator for the UGA Cooperative Extension office in Hall County. You can contact him at 770-535-8293, www.hallcounty.org/extension. His column appears weekly and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.

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