Calendar | Logan County Extension Unit | Ag News Elsewhere [fresh daily from the Web]

Winter annuals and warm season grasses

By John Fulton

Send a link to a friend

[March 29, 2010]  Each year the winter annual weeds chickweed and henbit run No. 1 and 2 in the early spring. Again this year is seems like henbit is running slightly ahead.

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 temperatures.

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.

[By JOHN FULTON, University of Illinois Extension, Logan County]


< Recent articles

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor