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Weeds: The Real Harbingers of Spring

Category: Gardening Tips | Posted by: Jeremy Newell

The birds are singing. Flowers are showing their smiling faces. Kids are shedding coats and uncovering their bikes from a long winter’s nap. All signs that spring is here!

There are a few other signs that the solstice is upon us: belching engines from dormant mowers, mole tunnels in the yard that resemble the New York City subway system and weeds, weeds, weeds!

It doesn’t take long for a yard to become a rogue’s gallery of landscape culprits. So far it seems that bitter cress, dandelions, chickweed, and henbit are front-runners of the early spring caucuses. How does this happen? You were so diligent in getting that weed preventer stuff down early this year!

The weeds that you are seeing now have over wintered as a root.

Yep, just biding their time underground until the soil unfreezes so they can begin their horticultural domination. A weed preventer doesn’t kill roots. A weed preventer only stops a seed from sprouting.

I know it is frustrating when you spend money and time trying to prevent weeds and you still have a yard full of non-welcome plants. Rest assured, you have done the right thing. What you see growing now is only the first round. These are the cool season weeds-those plants that are tolerant of cooler soil and air temperatures. Waiting around the corner is an entirely new gang of thugs-the warm season weeds.

These include crabgrass, goose grass, and Bermuda grass. These are controlled very well by preventer because most of these weeds sprout as seeds. If you put a preventer down in your lawn or landscape, you should see little of these culprits in the warmer months.

So how do you get rid of what is already up and growing?

Dig ‘em up or spray them. I know most people don’t want to hand-dig weeds but it is an option. The soil is typically moist and loose in the spring which makes digging easier. Notice I say ‘dig’, not ‘pull’. Make sure you get all of the root system, not just the leaves. Spraying is also an option.

Something to keep in mind when spraying-the bigger the leaves on the weed and the faster it is growing, the better the chemical will get into the plant and kill it. Round Up or Hi Yield Killz All can be used in landscape beds and Fertilome Weed Free Zone can be used in the lawn.

Don’t let the weeds get you down. The more you know about how they grow the more effective your strategy for elimination becomes. For now, enjoy the birds, flowers, and bikes!

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