Monday, September 1, 2008
Weeds, Weeds and More Weeds!
Carpet, Dollar & Sedge. If you know what these are that means you’ve probably had, or worse, have them. For those of you who aren't yet familiar with these names they're weeds. They are very invasive weeds that we see in the warm southeast United States. Many of us have taken up arms against them with little success, inevitably seeking out the professional lawn service companies such as Chem-Lawn Truegreen and Scotts, to name but two. I, in the past, sought out the pros to dispose of many lawn and garden weeds. I will point out that my lawn variety is St. Augustine floratam, a very water hungry variety. There are three weed types I'd like to address.
NUTSEDGE! I hate this weed with a passion. The lawn service assured me they could kill it all. They used chemicals know by the names Image and Manor, products that state they kill Nutsedge. Maybe they kill Nutsedge in Argentina during the cold months, but not here! I did some homework and talked with my local chemical supply store (DIY weed and bug killing) and was directed to only one chemical that guaranteed it would kill the dreaded sedge, Basagran! Basagran used in conjunction with an herbicidal oil, used to allow chemical to stick to the weed, would be successful. You can substitute vegetable oil for herbicidal oil with the same result. You know what? It worked just as I was told it would. The sedge browned out in a couple of days, killing the roots as well. All I needed to do was harvest the dead sedge.
DOLLAR WEED! This weed has such a long root system that you cannot dig all of it up to eliminate it, aside from tearing up your entire lawn and/or garden. It gets everywhere and the best you can accomplish is to control it when it surfaces. The chemical of choice here is Atrizine and only Atrizine! Why? Because it works, that's why. Here we go again, Image and Manor will kill Dollar Weed in ....yada, yada, yada! Due to the fact that too many people overapplied Atrizine in the concentrated form(if 1 oz is good then 3 oz will be really good!- NOT good) the EPA banned it. You may only buy it in the diluted gallon jug because people used it stupidly and did not follow the specific mixing instructions. Don't use Atrizine if it will be raining within a couple of days. The chemical works best when allowed to absorb into the leaf and when it's dry the leaf will absorb this moisture and hasten it's departure. To a lesser extent it will kill some of the root system if the area remains dry for several days. FYI! If you use a zoned sprinkler system try to direct spray away from moist or shaded areas as Dollar Weed loves moist soil to grow faster. Do Not over-water your yard as this will encourage weed growth and migration.
CARPET GRASS! This is a real pain in the butt! There is no chemical, that is still legal, you can use to kill carpet grass. People know this weed who have planted plugs or sodded a lawn. It creeps in and starts to take over the lawn voraciously. The only remedy I know for this, and I've had partial success with it, is 20 Mule Team Borax laundry booster. Yes, that's right, a laundry additive. Just sprinkle over the carpet grass and wait for it to yellow before pulling it out. When removed use Preen, or similar product, to ensure it won't return. Do Not over-apply the Borax as it can damage your lawn if it has poor drainage(ie: clay or tight soil).Borax can also be used on Dollar Weed but is not as effective as Atrizine.
Be smart when applying any killing agent to your property. Overuse will create collateral botanical damage, pet illness/poisoning and human health issues from contaminated shoes and clothing inside the house from the yard. When handling herbicides, and pesticides, always remember to WASH YOUR HANDS and change your clothes before lounging. When using powdered or misting chemicals always wear a breathing shield(doctors mask), gloves and eye protection. In concentration these chemicals are harmful to humans and animals as well as weeds! At the very least make sure your shield your eyes, as chemicals enter the bloodstream VERY FAST through the eye tissue.
Note: The treatments listed above are NOT a permanent fix. These weeds will come back/ The important thing to remember is not to stress out because it is treatable.