Monday, January 4, 2016

We are making changes!

Information concerning McCracken County Extension Master Gardeners can now be found on the McCracken County Cooperative Extension Service web site, 
Click the Horticulture tab and you will be directed to the Master Gardener information.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Weed Control

Jack Ressor
McCracken County Master Gardener

Weeds are unwanted plants growing out of place. They are usually native and compete well with our lawns and landscape plants.

Healthy lawns and landscape plants should be a gardener’s first line of defense against weeds. Proper watering, mowing, and fertilizing are essential to minimizing the weeds in lawns. In garden and vegetable beds, mulch can help keep the weeds down. Mulches can consist of organic manner such as pine bark, cypress, landscape fabrics, saw dust, plastic or even newspaper. Hand pulling is always an option, but can be difficult on hot summer days. Always kill and remove weeds before they flower to prevent seeding the next generation. When these remedies do not work, a gardener can use various herbicides.

There are two major types of herbicide: Pre-emergent and post-emergent.
Pre-emergent herbicides are usually used in the late winter or early spring before the weed seeds germinate. They are best in controlling annual weeds such as crabgrass. These products can be applied as a liquid or in granular form. After germination, they offer little help in controlling weeds. Examples of pre-emergent herbicides are Preen and Scotts Crabgrass Preventer.
      Post-emergent products are directed at controlling weeds that have germinated and are easily visible. They are usually more effective when weeds are small, so treat as early as possible. An herbicide may be specific to a certain weed or be active against many weeds. Post-emergent products can be divided into contact or systemic herbicides. Contact herbicides work by contact directly with the plant. Examples are Ortho Grass Be Gone, and Bayer Advanced All-In-One Lawn Weed & Crabgrass Killer. Systemic herbicides are absorbed by the weed causing death. Systemic products may be selective or non-selective. Selective products target certain weeds while not harming desirable plants in the same area. These herbicides include Scotts Lawn Pro Turf Builder with Weed Control. Non-selective materials are used to kill all the vegetation in an area and include Roundup and Ortho Total Kill. Do not let any contact herbicides touch any plants you want to keep. Nonselective herbicides include household items such as salt, vinegar, citric acid and baking soda.
Herbicides are poisons and all contact should be avoided. Use the following guidelines when using them:

1 .      Always read the labels on the herbicide containers and follow the directions before using.

2 .      Wear long pants and shirts, goggles and rubber gloves when using herbicides.

3 .      Wash your any skin contact with soap and water and when finished.

4 .      If an herbicide gets into the eyes, flush the eye slowly with water for 10 to 15 minutes. Check the  label for first aid information and get medical attention as soon as possible.

5 .      Do not breathe the fumes.

6 .      Store herbicides in their original containers out of reach of children (preferably in a locked cabinet)  and away from any food. 

7 .      Avoid disposal problems. Only buy what you need. Never flush unused material down the toilet, sink  or storm drain. Take unused and unwanted herbicides to household hazardous waste collections.  Triple wash any empty containers before disposal into the garbage. Never reuse the containers.