Sprinkling certain herbicides can ease spring gardening
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I know spring is several months away, but I would like to suggest a cultural practice that, if you perform it now, will make your late winter chores much easier.
Each spring, gardeners ask how they can get rid of chickweed and henbet in their asparagus patch or landscape bed. Because both of these weeds are considered broadleafs, any 2,4-D product or other broadleaf herbicide will not only kill these weeds but will also damage desirable broadleaf species. The only alternative is the backbreaking work of weeding by hand or with a hoe.
If you have been plagued by these problem weeds in the past, chances are they will return. Don't wait until spring to attack the problem: Do it now. Chickweed and henbet are winter annual weeds. Their seed germinates in the fall. The resulting small plants survive the winter and then grow extremely fast in the spring. Of course, spring is the time when most gardeners notice these weeds.
An easy way to rid your asparagus patch and your shrub beds of weeds next spring is to apply treflan this fall, preferably in late August or early September. This pre-emergent herbicide, put down before seeds germinate, will kill seeds and keep your shrub beds and asparagus patch free of weeds next spring.
You can also use this product in strawberry, daylily and iris beds. In fact, I would use this herbicide in all landscape beds and around most small berry and bramble patches to eliminate weed problems from developing next spring.
Although treflan will eliminate henbet and chickweed seed germination, I should also mention that the herbicide will kill crabgrass seed and the seed of other annual grasses as they germinate in the spring. With this in mind, I would suggest you make three applications of treflan each year in order to eliminate a lot of weed problems throughout the year.
The optimal timing of the applications is Sept. 1, March 15 and June 1. By making these three applications each year, most of the common annual weed problems that plague your perennial patches will be eliminated.
If some broadleaf weed seed does germinate, go back to your traditional method of pulling or using a hoe. You'll still find that you don't have to do nearly as much of that gardening chore.
I have always been accused of being a lazy gardener. When I can use products that make my life easier, I certainly try to use them when all possible. By consistently applying treflan to your shrub, bramble, asparagus, daylily and iris beds, you can eliminate a lot of backbreaking work in your garden.
Send your gardening and landscape questions to Paul Schnare at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63702-0699 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.