LSU AgCenter Horticulturists Offers Fall Strategy for Lawn Weed Control

Thomas J. Koske  |  10/26/2006 1:43:58 AM

News You Can Use For November 2003

Fall is usually a time to let the turf slow down, toughen up and get ready for winter and dormancy. Don’t push extra growth or do anything to the grass that requires growth repair for the fix, says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dr. Tom Koske.

"Many homeowners put off early post-emerge control, and now the weeds are mature and well established," Koske says, adding, "Perhaps you are just tired of looking at them."

The LSU AgCenter horticulturist cautions, however, "You may have missed your window of opportunity for effective control. Many selective herbicides do damage."

If your weeds are summer annuals, the frost will do the job for you, he says. There’s no need to apply herbicides. But be ready next spring with either a preemergence herbicide that you put down early enough to catch the emerging weeds or a post-emergence product on young weeds. Observe temperature limitations.

For perennials, you may do well to "hit them a lick" in late fall once the lawn quits growing, Koske says, adding, "Plan on a strong effort of post-emerge control in mid to late spring with an effective product."

Winter annuals are sprouting now if you have thin turf. If you had a thick lawn, you probably will not have weeds. Sod farmers often apply atrazine or simazine for a general winter cleanup and keep-out. A 2,4,D-containing product like those "3 ways" or "4 ways" can be used on broadleaf weeds when the winter weather is mild enough for them to grow well.

Although many herbicides are available for the professional, the homeowner can rarely find or purchase them. They also must be applied properly – and that is usually not the "spray until wet" approach.

So what can homeowners do? Koske offers this advice: First identify the weeds you must control. Then choose a product that is effective against those weeds, yet is permitted for use on the type of grass you have. Apply it at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner. In other words, read the label well and follow directions.

Various product options are listed on the louisianalawnandgarden.org or lsuagcenter.com Web site. Your local county agent can help with the identification of weeds or you can try the AgCenter Louisiana lawn and garden site under home/lawns and pest management.

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On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/

Source: Tom Koske (225) 578-2222, or tkoske@agcenter.lsu.edu.

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