3 Weeds to Nip in the Bud
All weeds are pests, but some are just downright detestable. Let them go in spring, and you’ll be sorry all summer. Here are three weeds I hate most and what you can do about them early on in the season:
Nip crabgrass early before it even starts with a pre-emergent. Post-emergent herbicides are not as effective. The best time for a pre-emergent treatment is now – spring, around March and April. Another way to keep crabgrass at bay is by making sure your grass is dense and healthy enough to compete against it. That means fertilizing through the season and over seeding plus and aerating every fall.
Tip: Avoid weed fabric. It only appears to work. Those crafty weeds are still under there, and once they find a hole, they are really difficult to get rid of. It’s also hard on your good plants because weed fabrics can act as a water barrier and retain heat, sometimes spiking your soil temperature to unhealthy highs.
2. Invasive Creeping Euonymus Vine
This pesky weed is a backyard bully. Euonymus vine (pictured) may be meant as an ornamental addition to your landscape, but it’s been known to creep out of the spot you picked for it, choking out all your other beloved landscape babies as it goes.
The best management is to roll up your sleeves and pull it out every time you see it pop up. Make sure to not let it climb anything, because when it does, it will seed and spread. If you really love it and want to keep it, be a good neighbor and keep it controlled. Whether they know it or not, everyone on your street will thank you!
Tip: A hand trowel is a handy tool. Have one at the ready in a really convenient spot and remove weeds on sight. If you give weeds your attention 20 minutes per week you’ll have no worries.
3. Japanese Honeysuckle
This exotic plant has a bad rap – and for good reason. It’s taken over our beautiful hillsides and woodscapes and it’s spreading profusely. It chokes out more desirable understory plants like red buds, dog woods and much more.
What do you do if you’ve got one in your yard? I love most plants, but not this one. Kill it. Cut it back severely or treat it chemically and then dig it out. In doing so, you’re saving the good plants.
Tip: One of the best ways to start the season with a clean slate is by cleaning up all excess debris and leaves and by trimming back your perennials. This will de-clutter your space and eliminate spots where weeds can hide and flourish. When everything’s cleaned up, mulch. Mulch is a great defender and protector. It keeps weeds at bay and protects the roots of the plants you love. Just make sure you spread your mulch properly to reap its full benefits.
- Craig Grabow is the manager and staff horticulturist/arborist at Central Lawn Care. He is the treasurer of the Kentucky Arborist Association and president of the Fort Mitchell Tree Board. He graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in plant and soil science.