As winter begins its transition into spring, we look to the beautiful, yellow blooms of yellow bells (Forsythia sp) to remind us to apply pre-emergent weed killer to the lawn
Well, mine is not blooming this year. I cannot ever remember not seeing a yellow bell bloom in the spring, but apparently that last hard freeze killed most of the buds on my plant.
I generally tell people to apply their chemicals by the calendar and not by when a plant blooms, so it is not too big a deal for me except I miss the bright, yellow flowers.
Anyhow, now is the time to apply pre-emergent weed killers to your lawn to control those pesky, summer annual weeds. It is best to try to control them now so you will not have to call me later in the summer with a problem. There are several good products from which to choose:
1. atrazine Image herbicide for St. Augustinegrass and Centipedegrass with Atrazine; Spectricide Weedstop for Lawns; Hi-Yield Atrazine Weed Killer
2. dithiopyr Sta-Green Crab Ex; Green Light Crabgrass Preventer; Vigoro Preemergent Crabgrass and Weed Preventer; Hi Yield Turf & Ornamental Weed & Grass Stopper
3. pendimethalin Scott’s Halts Crabgrass Preventer
4. oryzalin Southern Ag. Surflan A.S.
5. isoxaben Portrait Broadleaf Weed Preventer
6. benefin + oryzalin Green Light Amaze Grass and Weed Preventer; XL 2G
7. benefin + trifluralin Hi-Yield Crabgrass Preventer; Southern Ag. Team 2G
8. corn gluten meal Concern All Natural Weed Preventer Plus; Nature’s Guide Corn Gluten Meal
I often tell clients to buy any product that has "crabgrass killer" in its name. That makes it easy to remember when they go to purchase a product. These products will control many other weeds beside crabgrass however. The key to good control with any of these products is to apply them before a rain or to water the lawn within a week of application to move the chemical into the soil.
The corn gluten meal products are primarily for those who want an organic form of weed control. It is primarily effective on crabgrass only. Also, due to the high temperatures and high rainfall in the South, it will be less effective than the other products.
As for those ‘weed and feed’ products that are supposed to control weeds in your lawn and fertilize it at the same time, do not waste your money. You need to be applying your weed control product now. Your grass will not need any fertilizer for about two more months.
Before you use any chemical, be sure to read and follow the instructions on the product label – even if you have to put on your glasses!
• Wayne C. Porter is Regional Extension specialist-Horticulture Mississippi State University Extension Service. You may call him at (601) 482-9764.