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August 2, 2023

Weed Before Seeds Drop

Fighting weeds in your landscape is a never-ending battle. However, you may be able to get ahead of it a bit by keeping a constant eye out for these undesirable plants. This would be a good time to start your vigilance.

The ideal time to pull or spot treat weeds is any time in their growth until after they’ve flowered but before they drop seeds. Using the ubiquitous dandelion as an example, they can be pulled or treated now, even if they’re displaying their familiar yellow flowers.

You can still get rid of the plants in your landscape after the yellow flowers have turned into the round, white seedheads but it then may be akin to closing the barn door after the animals have escaped. You’ll get rid of one plant but not until it has released all those seeds into the atmosphere to frustrate you even more.

From now until it’s cold enough for killing frosts, weeds are particularly insidious. Their seeds may not germinate now. Instead, they may overwinter in the ground in a latent state until spring. Then they’ll dramatically show how the season got its name when they all spring up and cover your lawn or planting bed.

One way to crimp their style is to treat them with a selective herbicide that contains both pre and post emergent material. The pre-emergent will prevent any seeds they dropped from germinating while the post emergent will kill the existing weeds.

This weed control method isn’t foolproof. Don’t blame the material or your application if a few weeds appear in the spring. You could only take care of those seeds present when you made the application. You have no control over those blown in by the wind or dropped by birds after you finished.

When you buy herbicide for weeds, be sure to buy a selective herbicide, as in broadleaf weed killer. It you apply a non-selective, it will kill your lawn and anything green that it touches. You have to be particularly careful using broadleaf weed killer in your planting beds. Shield the good plants during the application because the material can’t differentiate between a weed and your prize hostas.

While broadleaf weed killers are effective on lawns with no damage to the grass, I recommend hand pulling weeds in your planting beds. After all, weeds are just herbaceous plants that are growing where you don’t want them. Weeds may be stronger and more aggressive than your landscape plants but genetically, they’re the same.