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Weed Executioner

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on June 27, 2010

Weed Executioner. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Gardeners have fought weeds as long as gardeners have planted gardens. All weeds are not created equal, however, and all weed killing products are not created equal. The first choice you must make is whether to use a pre-emergent or a post emergent. Since it is June, pre-emergents are pretty much out for the present time. The weeds are all ready up and growing like, well, weeds. A post emergent it is.

WeedsNext you have to know two things: what are you trying to kill and what are you trying to save. As an example, consider a lawn. It has weeds. They must die. In Texas, people tend to either have St. Augustine grass or Bermuda grass. The difference is significant. Most weeds are broadleaf weeds and can be killed with a product containing 2,4,D. Weed and Feed products usually contain this herbicide along with a fertilizer. Spread it on a Bermuda grass lawn, following the directions, and all is well.

What about a St. Augustine lawn? St. Augustine is a broad leaf plant. Spread Weed and Feed type products on it and you have just killed your lawn. Unfortunately, anything that will kill your weeds will probably kill your St. Augustine lawn, too. You have to water and fertilize the lawn, mow frequently, and get the grass healthy enough to choke any weeds out, or get out there and dig each weed out by hand.

Sedges are a kind of weed that doesn’t respond to 2,4,D. You have to use specific herbicides for the type of sedge. Since the herbicides registered for this purpose vary by state, consult your Extension Office for help with sedges.

Weeds are easier to kill when they are young and still growing. Most herbicides work by being absorbed into the leaves, running down the vascular system to the roots, and killing the root. That is why putting herbicide on a mature plant doesn’t work as well. The plant is not sending much food to the roots and the herbicide doesn’t get down there. It is also why spraying plants that are dormant, whether from heat or from cold, is a waste of money.

With weeds, an ounce of prevention is better than a gallon of herbicide. Use pre-emergents in the spring to keep the weeds from coming up. Spray the young weeds with an appropriate herbicide as soon as they appear, before they get big and tough. Baby your lawn or garden so that the plants you want to be there will thrive and keep the weeds out.

When using any herbicide, remember to read the label. The label is the law and flaunting it could not only result in serious injury or death to you or those around you, it could result in big fines if a complaint is made. You really do not want to bring the Department of Agriculture and the EPA down on your head, now do you? I didn’t think so. So follow the label and everyone will be happier, except the weeds.
Gardenbookfrontcoverthumbnail For more help gardening, buy my book, Preparing A Vegetable Garden From The Ground Up
Available in print or ebook from Amazon.com or other retailers, this book walks you from choosing the site of your garden all the way through what to do after the harvest. Buy a copy for yourself or a friend today! 


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