Just when I thought we were past the serious marketing of rubber mulches for the landscape, another barrage has hit the market.
Let's clarify a few things:
1. Just because you hear advertising for rubber mulches on KTRH, that does not mean "you heard it from me."
2. I don't, won't, can't, never have and never will endorse the use of rubber mulches in landscaping or gardens.
3. Despite what rubber mulch marketers tell you, shredded hardwood mulches (at the least the ones I recommend) do not attract termites.
4. I appreciate the need to recycle tires, but every time someone wants to recycle something toxic, I'd prefer they not to figure out a way to put it in my garden.
5. I can recommend rubber mulch for running and walking paths, dog runs and playground material, but not a garden.
6. You don't have to believe just me. There are countless documents online you can find for yourself that will confirm the toxicity and dangers of rubber mulch in landscape. Some of these I've provided before, and some are new.
Finally, I challenge you to find a single landscape or gardening expert who endorses rubber mulch. If by chance you find a supposed expert in horticulture who advises its use, I will bet you a dinner at Del Frisco's that they are being compensated somehow by a rubber mulch maker or marketer. If you read at least one of the links above, you'll come to the same conclusion.
Cool-Season Herbicide Season
By way of "full disclosure," the following is simply a re-issue of the paper I did on cool-season herbicides last year about this time.
It's finally time to use the cool-season herbicides I've referred to occasionally on the GardenLine radio program. The perfect temperature range for using Fertilome's Weed-Free Zone and Bonide's Weed Beater Ultra is when we've started to experience 75-degree highs and 40-degree lows.
Years ago, before these herbicides, broadleaf weed control in late November, December, January and February was pretty much non-existent. That's because the herbicides normally used for broadleaf weed control can actually kill St. Augustine and Bermuda lawns if used at the wrong time of the year.
So, with the introduction of Fertilome's carfentazone-based Weed-Free Zone, the art of weed control in cooler months was perfected. Then Bonide introduced their alternative, Weed Beater Ultra.
But there are some caveats that must be respected for these herbicides to work properly.
One constant in weed control, whether it's a cool-season herbicide or a regular post-emergent herbicide, is to use a surfactant. Another important consideration would be the method of application.
You should use either a pump-up sprayer or a hand-held trigger sprayer. These products are sold mostly in concentrate and should be used for spot treatment.
Avoid using dial-and-spray methods at all possible costs, because you cannot be as precise as necessary with them. And their over-use on an entire yard can cause yellow grass. There are also concentrates available in ready-to-spray formulas that hook on the end of the hose. And while I would prefer you use a pump-up or trigger sprayer, if ready-to-spray is the only thing available, please use extreme caution and concentrate on spot treatment. You've got to be quick on the on-off switch.
Remember that these herbicides are specifically for broadleaf weeds. If you've done a poor job of following the pre-emergent part of my fertilization schedule, you may have things like clover or Virginia buttonweed. You can spot treat them with the carfentazone-based herbicides, but they will not control any "grassy" weeds.
Randy Lemmon's GardenLine is heard 6-10 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays,
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