Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

March 25, 2013

Plateau Gardening: Choosing the right weed killer

CROSSVILLE — Successful weed control hinges on choosing the right alternative for the particular plants you wish to eliminate and for conditions when and where the herbicide is to be applied.

Tennessee’s lingering cold, snow flurries, rainy and cloudy weather have stalled the typical growth spurt we expect by spring’s onset (March 20). Certain herbicides work best when plants are growing vigorously and temperatures are at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit but not over 85 degrees F. They may be less effective this year than if late-winter weather had been warmer and drier. Be sure to read the product label.

Note for gardeners who use household vinegar (5 percent acetic acid with 95 percent water) as an organic weed control and don’t have an herbicide label: Vinegar works by drying out plant tissues. Online advice suggests temps should be above 60 degrees F and that the weeds should be growing in sunlight. If conditions are not right, vinegar may not be effective.   

Know the weed types you are dealing with and their life cycles. It helps pinpoint the time of year and during which life cycle stage that nuisance variety is most vulnerable. Landscape weeds can be divided into three types: broadleaf, grasses and sedges.

Within each category weeds have one of three basic life cycles: summer annual (heat-loving, the seed-to-plant-to-seed life span lasts 12 months or less, germinates in springtime), winter annual (cold-tolerant, the seed-to-plant-to-seed lifespan lasts 12 months or less spanning 2 calendar years, germinates in late summer or in autumn) or perennial (roots and sometimes the entire plant is winter hardy, these plants persist more than two years).

There are a number of herbicide options to consider. "Post-emergence" weed control agents are applied to plant parts above ground. Some post-emergence herbicides kill top growth on contact (contact herbicides). Others (systemic herbicides) move into and within the plant to affect below ground and interior plant parts and processes. Post-emergence herbicides are most effective when used to attack unwanted plants that are little, young and not stressed by heat or cold. The objective is to get rid of weeds before they mature and produce seeds or other persistent reproductive structures. Weeds typically produce lots of seeds. Those seeds can survive most post-emergence control methods lethal to growing plants.

"Pre-emergence" herbicides affect germinating seeds. They are spread on the soil. Dry granule forms are typically activated by watering afterwards. Pre-emergence controls should be in place two or three weeks before conditions are right for seeds of the targeted species to sprout. Springtime pre-emergence herbicides are often used against crabgrass. Yellow forsythia bushes in bloom signal soil temperatures are right for grass seed germination. Corn gluten meal is an organic "weed and feed" pre-emergence product that may be used to treat crabgrass, creeping bentgrass, smart weed, dandelions, purslane, lambs quarter, barnyard grass and Bermuda grass in cool season lawns. Corn gluten keeps sprouting seeds from forming normal roots. Treated seedlings die from dehydration when soil gets dry.

Some herbicides are "non-specific" or "nonselective." They kill all vegetation they contact (desirable and undesirable, broadleaf or grass). "Specific" or "selective" herbicides target certain plant species or particular plant categories (broadleaf or grass). However, while broadleaf-specific herbicides containing 2, 4-D and dicamba won’t hurt established turf they may kill tender, young grass seedlings. Always read label directions before purchasing. When mixing and applying, follow directions precisely.

• • •

Plateau Gardening is written by Master Gardeners for gardeners in Tennessee’s Upper Cumberland Region.  Contact UT Extension Cumberland County at P.O. Box 483, Crossville, TN 38557 (484-6743) for answers to horticulture questions, free publications and how to become a Master Gardener. Send email comments or yard and garden inquiries to Master Gardener Rae, MGardenerRae@frontiernet.net.

1
Text Only
Lifestyles
  • FFG Resident Services Painting.jpg FFG Resident Services presents painting to the Pat Summitt Foundation

    A dramatic portrait of Pat Summitt, painted by Chuck Jensen, was presented to the Pat Summitt Foundation by Fairfield Glade Resident Services at its Community Information Event on memory care.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 127 seniors JosephZarolla-W6.jpg Zarola entertains 127 Seniors

    The members of the 127 South Senior Center met Friday, July 25, for bingo and Mexican Train domino game. Conversation, along with coffee and sweets, was enjoyed by all. Helen Lord called the bingo numbers, and the prizes were furnished by Eye Centers of Tennessee. Life Care Center checked everyone's blood pressures.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marriage licenses (Published July 30, 2014)

    July 29, 2014

  • Habitat-Group photo-Crisp Dedication .jpg Habitat celebrates 55th home dedication

    Anne Crisp is excited that she and her two daughters have a home to call their own. Cumberland County Habitat for Humanity (CCHFH) dedicated the 55th home to be built in partnership with low-income families. Crisp put more than 500 hours of "sweat equity" into her home and has completed 50 hours of self-improvement, where she attended classes on budgeting, home maintenance and good neighbor among others.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Gypsy Rose to visit Fair Park

    The Cumberland County Playhouse is currently performing the award-winning Broadway play “Gypsy.” A great American story set during the 1920s fading vaudeville circuit, "Gypsy" portrays the rise of famed burlesque performer and stage mother Gypsy Rose Lee as she journeys across the country with her mother and sister during a time when Vaudeville was dying and burlesque was born. The complex character of Rose could be described as bold and brassy, as she steamrolls everyone in her way to turn her daughters June and Louise into child stars.

    July 28, 2014

  • plateau gardening-springBlooms4361.jpg Match August garden tasks to plant biology

    During all seasons in temperate climates like ours the greenery around us is changing. New shoots appear and leaves pop out of swollen buds after spring rains.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pleasant Hill Ramblings.jpg Landis reunites with Japanese teacher

    There is a special lady living in Pleasant Hill who spent 42 years of her life in Sendai, Japan, teaching English at a Japanese Christian school and as a missionary with the United Church of Christ Board for World Ministries.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lion of Year.jpg Lions Club recognizes Lion of the Year

    Charles Loveday, charter member of the Crossville Lions Club, was recognized as the Lion of the Year at the annual installation of officers picnic July 8. Loveday earned this award for his service as first vice president, membership chairman, eye glass chairman and his help with fundraisers and other matters where needed. From left are Loveday and President Gary Laura.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 8-8 counseling center-play with dolls.jpg Christian Counseling Center celebrating 12 years

    Help the Christian Counseling Center of Cumberland County (C5) celebrate 12 years of community service. Dine at Ruby Tuesday of Crossville Aug. 8, 9 or 10. Print the flyer from the center’s website, www.cccotp.org, and give it to the server.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • A Time 4 Paws collecting shoes to help Soles4Souls in fight against global poverty

    Attention anyone with a closet! Those shoes no longer wanted are desperately needed to fight the human tragedy of global poverty.

    July 24, 2014