Winter annual weeds can actually germinate in the fall, carry
through the winter, then get going very early in the spring.
They also are done by the heat of the summer, leaving seed to
germinate again later in the fall.
Right now chickweed stands
out in yards because it is quite abundant and has a lighter
green color than grass and most other weeds. I can't begin to
tell you how to identify it, and it gets even harder when there
is common chickweed and mouse-ear chickweed. Henbit is easier to
identify since it has purple flowers and smells like mint.
As for control, that gets a bit easier. The straight 2,4-D
that is used on dandelions seems to act like a fertilizer for
chickweed and other problem weeds. Combinations that contain
2,4-D, MCPP and dicamba are rated very effective on chickweed,
henbit, red sorrel, purslane, white clover and others. Just
remember the control time for most broadleaf weeds is early May.
These combinations are sold under several different trade
names. You can find these at most hardware, discount, and lawn
and garden stores. Just check the label under active ingredients
and check for two long chemical names and dicamba. You can also
check to see that it says it will control chickweed and henbit.
This group of chemicals is effective in the 50-degree range
and up. It just takes a lot longer for control with very cool
As with any chemical control, read and follow label
instructions very carefully. These product labels will have some
cautions you should be aware of concerning injury to sensitive
plants. This is because dicamba can drift as a vapor for a few
weeks after you apply it if the weather gets hot and sunny.
[to top of second column]
Warm season grasses
There are several "dead patches" of grass sprinkled throughout
lawns in the county. Some of these patches are remnants of the
crabgrass from last year, while others are more troublesome. These
troublesome areas are starting to show a little bit of green coming
on the "dead" stems. These types of patches are actually warm season
grasses growing in your cool season grass lawn.
Warm season means just that. The grasses grow better in warm
weather. They will green up about a month later, then brown out a
month or more earlier than the rest of the grasses in the lawn. The
warm season grasses can be escaped zoysia from a neighbor or a weed
type such as nimblewill. The result is the same: These grasses are
perennials, meaning they come up from the same root areas each year.
This fact makes selective control -- meaning getting them killed
without killing the grasses you want -- almost impossible.
The control consists of letting these areas green up, then
spraying them with glyphosate (Roundup), then reseeding. Since they
don't green up early enough for the spring seeding times of March 15
until April 1, the best success is to usually spray these areas in
early August and reseed from Aug. 15 until Sept. 10.
University of Illinois Extension, Logan County]