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.
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.
[to top of second column]
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:
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]