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« Spring Lawn Treatments - is it too early? | Main | Lawn Advice - Right Time, On Time, Every Time »

The first signs of Spring - hopefully...

Dandelion_flower_3We should soon be able to put our snow boots and winter gloves away as Spring looks like it is on it's way - whoopee!!

After a miserable Easter Holiday and some rather wintry showers of late, there has been a real glut of weeds appearing on lawns over the past week.

The Dandelion (Taraxicum officinale) is one of the first weeds to appear in the spring and bust into flower with a very vibrant yellow colour.

The ever familiar toothed leaf and yellow flower, that soon fades and withers, to be left with a rather spectacular array of tiny seeds in a near perfect ball that we all love blowing and seeing just how many puffs it takes to disperse all of the weeds from the plant head - Hours of fun for kids and adults alike!

Dandelions are easily controlled with a 'three in one' lawn treatment mixtures that includes, weed, feed and moss control.

It can be more beneficial applying all three treatments separately, or, you can apply a weed and feed as a combined treatment with an application of moss killer afterwards - perhaps Verdone Extra or Vitax Lawn Clear as a foliar spray to control Dandelions and a host of other weeds.

It is always the Sulphate of Iron, the active ingredient, that makes up the moss control element of the product which produces the darkening effect of the moss and rapid greening up of the grasses that make up the lawn. If you have never treated your lawn before and it is full of weed grasses, any such treatment may 'shock' these broad leaf shallow rooted weed grasses and scorch them causing some to die back.

Drop_spreaderIt is common for the majority of people to apply these granular treatments in a push along fertiliser drop spreader, often with marginal results of burn areas, missed areas and over applied areas and we will cover successful treatment application in a future post.

The weeds that are present in your lawn at this moment in time should be controlled now and then if any more appear, repeat the process 6 weeks after. A weed is after all 'A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered' but your lawn should have nothing in it except healthy desirable grasses!

Apply your chosen selective weed killer three days after you have mown the lawn and then do not mow again for another three days following application. This strategy will ensure that you have sufficient vegative growth of weeds that need controlling and the grass will be less stressed (as it is after mowing, with exposed open leaf tips) and not mowing for three days afterwards will also allow some time for the chemical active ingredient to be absorbed into the plant.

It is common for lawn owners to ask 'why are my weeds growing rapidly after a selective weed killer has been applied?' This is simply because selective weed killers are plant hormones that mimic the plant hormone that is responsible for secondary thickening in certain plants.

This is how 'trees rings' are made when viewed on a cut tree trunk. The hormonal selective weed killer acts like a lock and key, making the Cambium Cells in the weeds internal structure thicken and the weeds will soon appear twisted and distorted and literally outgrow themselves over time - around 4 weeks.

Grasses do not have Cambium Cells which is why the product does not kill the grass - if it is properly applied at the correct label rate.

Do not fall for the fallacy, that by increasing the amount of active ingredient that you put into the spray tank ensures a 'guaranteed' kill, because the plant will be unable to take the product in as the concentration of the product is too strong and the plant will not recognise it as a desirable growth hormone.

On the other end of the scale, if you apply the wrong amount such as not enough, the success of the application will be minimal.

If the surface of the weed leaf is waxy or hairy, the selective weed killer will need to work doubly hard to get into the internal structure of the plant to do it's stuff.

Small leaved weeds are harder to control than those with large leaves like Docks, which have a greater surface area to accept the weed killer.

Selective weed killers for lawns do not have a residual effect in the soil, the soil does not hold onto them. The control products will only control the weeds that are present in the lawn at the time of application and there may be thousands, if not millions more weed seeds left to germinate in the soil.

It will take more than one application to control all the weeds present and after two or three applications you will notice a dramatic improvement on previous years weed population.

Some weed killers recommend only one application may be made each year which is why it is important to switch products for the second spray if required.

If the weather is unseasonably dry following application of any turf care product, as you are relying on the plants natural metabolism to take the product into the plant cells, the application will take longer to have an effect as in dry conditions the plant will reduce growth activity to conserve water.

Always Read the Label. Use Pesticides Safely!

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