Using herbicides in the garden

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Anonymous
Title: Guest
Using herbicides in the garden

Please see following post for correction. This correction states the entire root of the dandelion must be pulled to prevent it from resprouting.

McDonough wrote:

Hoy wrote:

A special idea, Mark. Not unlike your wheelbarrow trough ;) How does it look like now btw?

Good color on the "semps" in spring, but the whole affair got weedy during summer, I tried to pull some weeds here and there, but many of the weeds are taprooted dandelions that seeded between the semp rosettes... I plan to extricate the perennial weeds in spring. The area my wheelbarrow planting was also ignored, as was my main Allium garden... this year with this new & crazy job, I had so little time in the garden that parts of the garden became disastrously weedy.

A small paintbrush used to carefully apply roundup to the leaves of weeds is helpful. In a tight spot, like your semps, I would use a razor blade to cut the taproot below the crown. Generally, I believe prevention is the best medicine. I put weed fabric down under my mulch and only cut holes in it where I actually plant. This works well for perennials and shrubs. The easiest way to weed bulbs is to let them go completely dormant then spray the weeds. This worked well until I decide I needed something to cover the bare ground. Snapdragons have seeded into the area where I grow Spring bulbs and now fullfill that need.

James

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

James wrote:

A small paintbrush used to carefully apply roundup to the leaves of weeds is helpful.  In a tight spot, like your semps, I would use a razor blade to cut the taproot below the crown.  Generally, I believe prevention is the best medicine.  I put weed fabric down under my mulch and only cut holes in it where I actually plant.  This works well for perennials and shrubs.  The easiest way to weed bulbs is to let them go completely dormant then spray the weeds.  This worked well until I decide I needed something to cover the bare ground.  Snapdragons have seeded into the area where I grow Spring bulbs and now fullfill that need.

James

I do not use plant poisons of any sort in my garden, not environmentally sound... my property is relatively high (~500') and with run-off to other properties. Cutting taproot of dandelion is ineffective, must get majority of taproot out, it comes down to available time.  Regarding snapdragons in the North American flora, I only know of old world Antirrhinum introduced here in the US.
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ANMA3&mapType=nativity&photoI...

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Anonymous
Title: Guest

Please see following post for correction.

Hi Mark,  I must disagree with you about the use of herbicides always being "not environmentally sound."  Indeed, they are used to selectively control weeds in environmentally sensitive areas to help preserve them.  Studies have been done on the environmental fate of herbicides.  Many millions of dollars are spent conducting these studies before herbicides can even be sold.  Soil microbes decompose them.  The half life in a variety of soil types have been published.   The label is a legal document that the user is required to follow.  As long as the herbicide is used legally then tests have determined it is safe.

The selective use of herbicides has usually been shown to be the best method to control weeds in natural areas.  The problem with pulling weeds is the resulting soil disturbance.  The disturbance of the soil causes more damage than the judicious use of herbicide.  The result of pulling weeds and disturbing the soil is often more weeds.

My suggestion of using the razor blade was only intended to help you remove the taproot weeds that are growing in your rosette and bun plants.  It is often difficult to apply herbicide to weeds within the rosette or bun without getting any on your treasured garden plant.  Pulling weeds growing within a plant almost invariably results in also pulling apart the garden plant.  I have found that a slice with a razor blade 3/4 of an inch or more below the crown will prevent dandelions and other taproot weeds from returning.

Regarding my Antirrhinum majas, you are correct that they are introduced.  I believe they originally came from Spain.  They can temporarily spread to ground were competing vegetation has been removed.  However, they do not persist.  According to the USDA website they are not listed as invasive by any State.

Thanks for the comments.

James  

IMYoung
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-31

Quote:

I have found that a slice with a razor blade 3/4 of an inch or more below the crown will prevent dandelions and other taproot weeds from returning.

That method will not work for such plants here  in the UK, James...... unless the pest is only a very small specimen..... even slicing their taproot at a depth of three to four inches is not sufficient to deter a long rooted troublemaker.

Maggi Y

Ian  and/or Margaret Young ( -here it is usually Margaret)

Aberdeen , North East Scotland, UK
Zone 8a

www.srgc.net

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

I have no need for pesticides or herbicides in my yard either.  All weeding is done by hand (even the lawn back when we had one).  I certainly don't have any fallow areas in my yard where it would even be possible to wage chemical warfare.

I agree with Mark and Maggi on dandelions - no point dealing with the same regenerated weed over and over - get the root out and be done.  My trusty dandelion weeder is my most-used gardening tool, for all weeding.  Well, okay, I admit to resorting to tweezers for "microweeding" the rock gardens.  Fast? "Easy"? Perhaps not.  Effective, precise and satisfying... very.  ;)  By the way, "weeding" to me is removing excess self-seeded garden perennials; the number of actual weeds I deal with is a tiny proportion.

Weed fabric/landscape fabric is death on plants here; the low rainfall levels guarantee that the soil beneath it is dry as dust... It's main usage in these parts in those sad neglected plantings at commercial buildings, the ones where even the hardiest "low-maintenance" shrubs languish half-dead.  I have to say though that in my experience, landscape fabric is pretty darn effective for killing lawn (and frankly that's all I'd recommend it for).  The best "prevention" for weeds is to get out and weed when weeds pop up... granted that one has to have the time to do this, and I know we all wish we had.

James wrote:

I must disagree with you about the use of herbicides always being "not environmentally sound." 

My goodness, what a carefully hedged statement! 
Believe it or not, James, it is probably accurate to say that you are preaching to the converted when you post here about the preservation of wildlands... however, bludgeoning readers over the head about which pew they should they be sitting in, gets to the point where your message becomes diminished.  Rest assured that the audience here is not unaware of the issues.  A great many members of this audience have a vast amount of knowledge and experience, which is also worth keeping in mind. 

Anyway, enough about weeds... back to interesting plants instead!

"A phylum cabinet"  :D :D

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Anonymous
Title: Guest

"I agree with Mark and Maggi on dandelions - no point dealing with the same regenerated weed over and over - get the root out and be done."

I did some research.  I discovered my statement about being able to control dandelions by cutting them below the crown was incorrect.  Apparently, I have been doing it wrong.

http://bygl.osu.edu/bimages/2011/05/cimage2011_05n3370.JPG

"Weed fabric/landscape fabric is death on plants here; the low rainfall levels guarantee that the soil beneath it is dry as dust... It's main usage in these parts in those sad neglected plantings at commercial buildings, the ones where even the hardiest "low-maintenance" shrubs languish half-dead."

I have successfully used weed fabric for a number of years.  Precipitation and air readily move through the fabric.  In contrast, the roots of weeds cannot penetrate through the fabric.  This prevents the weed from accessing soil moisture.  Likewise, weeds that germinate under the fabric are prevented from reaching light.  When I lift up the mulch and weed fabric there is always more moisture present than at the surface of adjacent top soil.  The result of using weed fabric in arid climates should be a further conservation of moisture by preventing weeds from taking valuable soil moisture away from garden plants.

There are a number of reasons even the hardiest "low-maintenance' shrubs languish half dead around commercial buildings.  The biggest problem is they usually plant them in subsoil instead of top soil.  Secondly, these shrubs are almost invariably planted near a concrete foundation or curb which creates alkaline soil conditions.  Only certain species like Dasiphora fruticosa can grow successfully in these conditions.  Finally, salt is often an issue.

I apologize to Mark for automatically regurgitating my blurb about the benefits of using herbicides in natural areas.  I have become rather defensive over the years about this issue.  There are many people who are against the use of herbicides in any situation.  This has created many problems for those trying to manage natural areas.

I personally do use herbicides in my garden.  I will use herbicide for weeds that cannot be removed by pulling.  I have found this necessary since certain species repeatedly come back from root sprouts.  I also use herbicide in the instances where the use is significantly easier than hand pulling.  I personally would prefer to leave the dandelions in my lawn.  However, I have bowed to the pressures from my neighbors on this issue.

Sincerely,

James

Weiser
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04

All methods of weed control have their place in my garden.

Rhizominous perennials are judiciously bushed with a glyphosate product. Annuals and tap rooted perennials are pulled.

The best advice I ever got was to bag and dispose of all weeded material. The thought behind this is to get rid of any seed and diseases  (rusts etc.)that may be present.

I feel that about five years of intensive control will eventually deplete the seed bank and make the next thirty or forty years more manageable. Of course, It always helps if the neighbors keep their little slice of heaven weed free too. :rolleyes:

As far as weeds in a cushion go, it depends a lot on what the cushion is. On user friendly cushions I pull the leaves off the weed, yes it will develop more, but I keep pulling them off and eventually they starve to death(a slow and fitting demise). :( In A cactus patch it's literally a sticky situation, so I use a sharp Knife taped to a long handle and cut the top growth off again and again, with starvation as the end result. :) I know this method requires vigilance and repetition, but it has worked for thirty plus years.  I've been set in my ways at least, the last twenty five. There is little hope of changing now.  ;)

From the High Desert Steppe
of the Great Basin and the Eastern
Escarpment of the Sierra Nevada Range
Located in Reno/Sparks,NV  zone 6-7
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierrarainshadow/
John P Weiser

penstemon
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-06-24

I've never found any chemicals that will do anything at all to the weeds in my garden. The weeds just keep coming back.
I bought one of these http://www.shop.waycooltools.com/WEED-DRAGON-100000-BTU-Deluxe-Vapor-Torch-Kit-VT-2-23C.htm but haven't used it yet.
Having grown up in Southern California in the 1950s, I'm partial to most things Japanese, and especially as they relate to gardening.
When I discovered Hida Tool in Berkeley my heart sang. All but the last of the items pictured can be purchased there for very little.
First, the ultimate weeding tools for cushions and troughs.
Second, the kana and nejiri, for general weeding.
Third, the ultimate weeder. Also functions as Rodent Threatener. (Though they know I won't hurt them.)

Bob

Bob

extreme western edge of Denver, Colorado; elevation 1705.6 meters, average annual precipitation 30cm; refuses to look at thermometer if it threatens to go below -17C

Weiser
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04

Bob
A little extreme on the last one!! ;) I can see were it might scare them to death!! ;D

From the High Desert Steppe
of the Great Basin and the Eastern
Escarpment of the Sierra Nevada Range
Located in Reno/Sparks,NV  zone 6-7
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierrarainshadow/
John P Weiser

penstemon
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-06-24

Quote:

A little extreme on the last one!! 

Seemed like a logical sequence to me......
Though, I don't kill creatures that visit my garden. This drove my wife crazy; she would grab a bottle of Dr. Bronner's and go out and drench whatever was being eaten.
Now I adopt a laissez-manger attitude towards everything. (Easy to say in a slugless garden, huh.)

Bob

Bob

extreme western edge of Denver, Colorado; elevation 1705.6 meters, average annual precipitation 30cm; refuses to look at thermometer if it threatens to go below -17C

Weiser
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-04

Hear! Hear! For sluglessness.  8)

From the High Desert Steppe
of the Great Basin and the Eastern
Escarpment of the Sierra Nevada Range
Located in Reno/Sparks,NV  zone 6-7
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierrarainshadow/
John P Weiser

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