Monday, January 30, 2012

Preemerge Weeds

Preemergent weed control time is rapidly approaching. Just spread a product and no small seeded annual weeds to worry about for a few months (check label for weeds controlled). Keep weeds away before they take over your lawn and ornamental plantings. Controlling weeds is a whole lot easier before they come up with a preemergent product, than after they come up with a post emergent product or by hand pulling.

If you enjoy pulling weeds in the flower and shrub beds, skip the preemergent product in these areas. The beauty of pulling weeds! Sweating (the lady folks - glowing), then swatting at that mosquito or gnat that is flying about your face, and ending up with a nice dirt smudge (in that split second soil changes over to dirt) on your face. So much fun!

Pulling weeds by hand is like bailing water out of a boat with a hole in the bottom of boat. Weed seeds are very small for the most part (usually over 2,000,000 seeds per pound), so they need to be right near the soil surface to germinate. For the more technical, these seeds do not have enough endosperm (stored food supply – energy) when they germinate to fight their way up to the soil surface where their new leaves can begin to manufacture their own food.

These weed seeds just wait in the soil until the soil gets disturbed and they get their chance to become a full grown weed. Dogs digging, birds pecking, moles tunneling, you planting or transplanting a plant, tilling, and yes, you pulling a weed will bring weed seeds to the surface where they can germinate. Many farmers have switched to no-till farming, so they will not bring up new seeds to the surface.

Think of the process of pulling a weed. I’ll skip the part about applying sun screen, applying bug spray, taking medication for back, arthritis, and knee pain, looking for the other glove for your pair, fighting with your spouse over how weedy the yard is, telling your friend that you cannot go fishing, shopping, golfing, etc. until you pull the weeds and paying the fine to the homeowner association for not keeping up the proper appearance.

When you pull a weed, you want to pull up the roots as well. Everyone’s mother taught them that, “be sure you get the roots or they will grow right back!” Attached to the roots is soil. The roots may go several inches into the ground, so you bring soil up to the surface from several inches below the surface. When you pull out the weed, you shake the soil off of the weeds roots. In this soil are weed seeds that you were nice enough to bring to the soil surface where they could germinate. Yes, by pulling weeds, you have just given weed seeds that would have stayed in the ground unnoticed, a chance at life.

Understand why it is like bailing water out of a boat with a hole in the bottom? Make your life easier and use a preemergent product in your lawn and beds this year! The time to apply them is rapidly approaching.

Always read, understand and follow product label. The product label is a Federal Law.