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Archive for Sunday, October 22, 2000

Two weeds leave gardeners feeling a bit foul

October 22, 2000

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Henbit and chickweed are two weeds most of us do not think about until we see them blooming in spring. Chances are, however, that both of these weeds are growing in your yard, garden or flower bed right now. Considered self-seeding winter annual weeds, the seeds from last spring's flowers are beginning to germinate and grow this fall. So, if you have had problems with these weeds in the past, here are a few tips to help you control them in the future.

Henbit is a rather showy spring blooming weed. The violet flowers, born on stems 8 to 12 inches tall, are quite striking on a warm March day. They are commonly found in cultivated areas such as farm fields, flower beds, gardens and in the lawn.

Henbit

Henbit

Chickweed, on the other hand, has a lower growth habit with creamy yellow blooms. Mix the two plants together and you can create a beautiful spring display with little effort. Keep in mind though, as with most weeds, they can be invasive and easily take over if left unattended.

Because both weeds are self-seeding, the plants that were there last year will not be the same plants that we see this year. They sprout from seeds dropped earlier this spring. The seeds have started to germinate and will continue to grow all winter long. Then, as the days get longer and the temperatures rise next spring, both will bloom and start the process over.

Long story made short if you had henbit or chickweed last spring, now is a good time to control them for next spring.

Start with mechanical controls. Hoe or lightly till bare soil in the garden and around flowers, trees and shrubs. For added control, apply a fresh layer of mulch, 2 inches to 3 inches should be enough. For hard to reach or noncultivated areas, the broad-leaf weed killer Trimec is the best product to use. Spray on a sunny day when the temperature is above 55 F. Avoid spraying newly sprouted grass seed as dieback may occur. As always, read and follow all safety directions when using any chemical product.

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