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Prevention best cure for weeds.

Byline: Paul Rogers


Dandelions and bittercress are in full flower and will soon be setting seed. Gardeners should realize that the flowering of weeds is a wake-up call to homeowners. We either take the time to control - pull, bury with mulch or spray them - or we can expect to try controlling them for the remainder of our garden years.

Right now we are seeing the winter annual weeds that, for the most part, are busy setting a prodigious crop of seed that will start up again in the fall. Next in the parade are the hot-weather annual weeds such as crabgrass that are just ready to sprout. Note that the latest in a series of tests on the use of corn gluten to control the development of crabgrass resulted in the same conclusion as those of previous tests.

Standard pre-emergence crabgrass chemical herbicides produced crabgrass control ranging from 81 to 97 percent. Corn gluten provided crabgrass control from 42 to 48 percent. When you consider that a single surviving crabgrass plant has the capability of maturing 150,000 seeds, what help do you provide your lawn by destroying less than half the crop?

Two management practices, in my opinion, will better serve you than the use of any herbicide.

Mow your lawn at 3-1/2 to 4 inches. Tall grass plants are healthier than short-cut plants. They will form deeper growing roots, and their taller leaves will shade the soil surface, thus retarding weed seed germination. Leave the grass clippings in place to feed the growing turf.

Control weeds in gardens while the weeds are still small.

Do not allow them to flower and set seed. The best weed control is prevention.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:May 12, 2011
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