John Fulton's last column as Logan County Extension Director
Early Season Lawn Weeds, Pruning Roses and Thanks for all of your support
By John Fulton

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[March 23, 2017]  Early Season Lawn Weeds - Each year, the winter annual weeds chickweed and henbit run number one and two in the early spring. This year, it seems the henbit has once again regained the number one spot.

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. It is also beginning to set seed. There are two types: common chickweed and mouse-ear chickweed. Henbit is easier to identify since it has purple flowers and smells like mint. Henbit seems to be more prevalent this year, but both are present.

The straight 2,4-D that is used on dandelions seems to act like a fertilizer for chickweed and other problem weeds. 2-4D is a growth regulator, and if it doesnít actually kill a weed it does make it grow faster. Combinations that contain 2,4-D, MCPP, and dicamba are rated very effective on chickweed, henbit, red sorrel, purslane, white clover, and others. Triclopyr is a newer herbicide found in some combinations, and is used for hard to control broadleaf weeds and woody undesirables. Just remember the control time for most broadleaf weeds is early May, but the winter annuals are going strong now. 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. There will be some cautions on these product labels concerning injury to sensitive plants that you should be aware of. This is because dicamba can drift as a vapor for a few weeks after you apply it if the weather gets hot and sunny.

Pruning Roses

It is now time to prune roses, if you didnít jump the gun already and do back in February! The cold snaps have caused some additional dieback, so waiting has been a benefit.

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 The modern shrub roses, such as the knockouts, have been the most prevalent type planted lately. The rules for the modern shrub roses are: remove a third of the very oldest canes, identify and leave a third of the newest canes, remove remaining canes, cut back beyond the dead areas from winterkill using a 45 degree cut, and size according to your needs or desires. More information on pruning all types of roses is available at: http://urbanext.illinois.edu/roses/prune.cfm 

Last Column for Extension

This will be my last weekly column for University of Illinois Extension, as I will be retiring March 31. Iíve thoroughly enjoyed providing the material for your use. Itís hard to believe it has been over 33 years of columns to at least some of the media outlets. Other staff members will continue to provide material for your local publications.

Thanks for all of your support through these years, and I hope you continue to support Extension. The Logan County Office will have a small reception on Monday March 17 from 4 Ė 6 pm at the office there if you care to stop by.

My best regards to you all.

[By JOHN FULTON, COUNTY EXTENSION DIRECTOR SERVING LOGAN, MENARD, AND SANGAMON COUNTIES]

 

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