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Dallas Morning News - January 11, 2018


It’s along about this time every year that homeowners start stressing about what to put out kill the cool season weeds that are showing up. Corn gluten meal is brought up but it has no weed control properties at this time. CGM is a natural pre-emergent product and has to be applied before the weed seeds germinate. In other words, it has to be put in the fall to stop the winter weeds like rye, rescue grass, dandilions, henbit and poa annua and in the early spring to stop the summer weeds like grass burs, crabgrass and dallisgrass. But there is something that can be done now.

It’s the perfect time, this year, to spray dormant turf with organic herbicides. The summer grasses are dormant and the winter “weeds” are growing but still small. It’s now you can spray the entire lawn without damage to Bermuda, zoysia and St. Augustine. Fatty acid products such as BioSafe, essential oil products such as Eco SMART, citrus products such as Avenger and vinegar products can be used safely.

The vinegar homemade formula is full strength 10% pickling vinegar with 2 oz. orange oil and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap added per gallon of vinegar. No water. This technique works well any time during the winter when the summer grasses are dormant.

The other choice is the 20% vinegar labeled product. One of the commercial companies making this product available is Good Natured and it is available in many stores that sell organic products. All these organic herbicides should be sprayed with pump-up or backpack sprayers – not with hose-end sprayers. You need to do the mixing – not the device.

Another thing I recommend if time and money allow is to put out a thin layer of compost (1/2”). Compost applied at this time of the year functions as a mild fertilizer and subtle weed preventer. As humic acid is made more available, weed seed are much less likely to germinate and grow. Compost has a longer lasting period of efficacy than corn gluten meal and other pre-emergents.

If winter weeds are growing through gravel, mulch or in cracks and joints in concrete and other paving, kill them with a vinegar herbicide. Vinegar and other organic herbicides work when you spray them on actively growing plants. These herbicides are not selective, so be careful where you spray. Avoid plants that you don’t want to kill. Weeds growing in beds can also be killed hand removal or killing with on of the pus-pull hoes.

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