HERE COME THE DANDELIONS!  – Homeowner Rx

Here they come! You know you’re gonna have some! But how many? And when?

It’s lawn weed time again and what can you do to win the battle this year?

In the Fort Wayne area the most prevalent lawn weeds seem to be dandelions and crabgrass.

When fighting dandelions and other such broadleaf weeds, preventing them from sprouting in the first place is a no win situation. I’ve seen a few products come and go over the years that claim they can prevent germination, but the best way to success is to nail them once they start growing!

The most common way of attack is with a post-emergence broadleaf weed herbicide.

Lots of words, but these products can be purchased in pre-mixed ready-to-use spray bottles, in a concentrate that you can mix with water and apply with either a hose-end or tank sprayer, or in a granular form that needs to be applied with a lawn spreader. Apply as per instructions once the weed is actively growing, and mother nature will kick in and the weed itself will spread the herbicide throughout the plant, including the roots. And before you know it, the good guys win!

But…here’s the tricky part…timing!

Apply too early, miss some of the weeds, apply too late, weeds may have already laid down the next generation of seeds and the whole process starts all over again! And if it rains too soon before the herbicide can work its way into the plant…well, it’s hello yellow flowers all over your yard! Maybe a little tougher than you thought!

Now the dreaded crabgrass plant is attacked in a different way. Crabgrass is extremely tough to eradicate once it is actively growing. For this pesky weed there is what’s called a pre-emergent herbicide that is applied before the weed seed has a chance to germinate. The most popular version of this control is in a granular form. Before germination, in our area that is generally March – April, this product is applied with a lawn spreader and an effective barrier is laid down on the soil. When the crabgrass seeds sprout and try to grow through the barrier, they cease to exist!

Here’s the crabgrass control tricky part…it’s timing too!

Crabgrass seeds will germinate when the soil temperature average is in the 57 to 64 degree range. And when is that? Around here it could be anywhere from late March to late April. So the trick is…don’t wait too long! Get it down early.

Now I’ve also heard of many home remedies that you can do much of what I’ve discussed above with less effect on the environment. If you have one, I want to hear it!

Comment on this article on our website, comment on our Facebook page, or just send us a note in the mail. And you might just see your answer in my next month’s article!

So, educate yourself, read the application instructions, buy your product from somewhere that can answer all your questions, and go for it! GOOD LUCK!

Dave Umber
3rd Generation owner
Umber’s Do It Best Hardware
Waynedale & Georgetown North

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