Tag Archive | herbicides

Handling Chemicals Safely – a gardening tip

by OCMGA Master Gardener and Vice President Tom Wentzel

IMG_6144One of the major risks in handling garden chemicals is in the mixing.  Pouring and measure is full of skin contact risks.  Here is a method that I have tried that works well.  It is based on an ordinary turkey baster injector syringe.  Simply pierce the containers seal with the needle.  Do not remove the seal.  Draw the needed amount into the syringe, typically a tablespoon/ gallon, then squirt it into your sprayer for dilution.  I have used the method for treating deciduous shrub weeds, such as buckthorn.  Normally you would “paint” the cut end with herbicide concentrate.  This method allows you to dispense the  herbicide one drop at a time onto the cut end.  This method has a lot few steps and lowers the risks of skin contact.

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Crabgrass Prevention

by Lisa Johnson, Horticulture Educator for Dane County

Forsythia is one of the harbingers of spring. The bright yellow blooms indicate that spring has finally sprung! Forsythia’s bloom coincides roughly with soil temperatures at 55F at 1/2 inch depth — the conditions crabgrass seeds need to germinate. So, when forsythia blooms, it is time to apply pre-emergent crabgrass products.

The key to a pre-emergent is to apply and water in before crabgrass seeds germinate, but not too far before, because many products available to homeowners have a limited window of efficacy, usually about 90 days.

Products available to professional lawn care companies have a longer period of efficacy, so you often see companies applying these products earlier than when the forsythia blooms.

Pre-emergents don’t actually kill the seed; they create a chemical barrier that doesn’t allow seeds to germinate. If the soil is disturbed and the barrier disrupted, germination may still occur.

One problem with pre-emergents is that they will also prevent desirable lawn grass seed from germinating, if it is sown while the herbicide is still active. So, be careful when and where you apply the pre-emergent and where you seed later.

If you have dead patches of lawn in spring and want to reseed there, avoid using a pre-emergent in that area. The best time to sow lawn grass seed is actually late August or early September, but if you need to seed in spring, just make sure to keep the seed watered, if it is a dry spring (the same, if it is a dry fall). Wait until the seed has germinated and is about 2 inches tall before fertilizing. The lawn, in general, should not be fertilized until Memorial Day.

by Lisa Johnson, Horticulture Educator for Dane County