Finally Time for Cool-Season Herbicide
It's finally time, sort of, to use the cool-season herbicides I refer to on the GardenLine radio program.
If you already know what I'm talking about but just need the names of the products, they are ferti-lomeŽ Weed-Free Zone and Bonide Weed Beater ULTRA.
The perfect temperature range to use these two cool-season herbicides is roughly between highs of 75 degrees and lows of 40. But keep an eye on the forecast over the next couple of weeks. While it looked good Wednesday, with the cool front bringing our highs down to the 70s, it might only last a week.
Years ago, before the advent of cool-season herbicides, broadleaf weed control from late November through February was pretty much non-existent. That's because herbicides normally used for broadleaf weed control can actually kill St. Augustine and Bermuda lawns if used at the wrong time of year.
Than, along comes ferti-lome's carfentazone-based Weed-Free Zone, and the art of weed control in cooler months was perfected. Next, Bonide introduced Weed Beater ULTRA. But there are some caveats that must be respected for these herbicides to work properly.
First, the one constant in weed control ... whether using a cool-season herbicide or a regular post-emergent herbicide ... is to employ a surfactant with them. If you've never heard me talk about this important aspect of weed control, please read this archived tip sheet.
Besides the temperature range and the need for a surfactant, another important consideration is how the weed control is applied. You should use either a pump-up sprayer or a hand-held trigger sprayer. That should be easy, since these products are sold mostly in concentrate. Avoid dial-and-spary methods at all costs because you can't be precise with their spray. And over-use of such products on the entire yard can cause grass to yellow. So, spot treating is the way to go with these controls.
There are some concentrates available as ready-to-spary formulas that you hook on the end of the hose. And, while I prefer you use the pump-up or trigger-sprayer method, if a ready-to-spray is the only thing available, please do it with extreme caution. And concentrate on spot treatment. You've got to be quick on the switch with the "on/off" lever.
And here's a final note on these herbicides: they are specific for broadleaf weeds. If you haven't done a good job following the pre-emergent part of my fertilization schedule, you may find you have things like clover in your lawn. You have permission to spot treat it with the carfentazone-based herbicides. They also work well on Virginia buttonweed. But they will not control "grassy" weeds. And no matter what anyone tells you about "organic controls," there has yet to be one developed that will control only broadleaf weeds. The usual weed control for die-hard organics users is vinegar-based, and some with small amounts of orange oil. Know that while they will kill almost any weed, they will also burn grasses.
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