The Edmond Sun

Garden

January 8, 2009

Tips for killing winter weeds

With the trees bare and the lawns brown, it can get downright depressing looking outside. Normally any sort of color that shows itself in January is a welcome sight. But there are a few flashes of color that I would rather not see. Winter weeds can become a real eyesore out in the middle of the front lawn. Another area that the weeds seem to congregate is along the edge of the house. The heat radiating from the brick seems to encourage these weeds to get a jump start on the season.

Weeds in a stand of turf are not only aesthetically displeasing, they also weaken the grass. Water, nutrients and space to grow all become hot commodities when unwanted plants are introduced.

The weeds that are present now are winter annual weeds. An annual is a plant that will germinate from a seed, grow, flower, set seed and die in one year. The dying part sounds promising, but the problem to be concerned about is the setting of seed. This means that thousands of seeds will be sown and waiting patiently for their big chance to shine next winter.

The flavors of weeds that we are dealing with right now can be divided into two large groups: grassy or broadleaf. These categories are fairly straight forward. If it looks like a grass, with a slender blade-type leaf it is most likely in the grassy division. Annual bluegrass, cheat, downy brome and little barley are examples of grassy weeds.

Broadleaf plants will have a more diverse collection of leaf shapes. Chickweed, dwarf fleabane and henbit are some of the most common broadleaf weeds found in home lawns. If you are interested in knowing exactly which “critter” you are dealing with bring a sample to your OSU County Extension Office for a free identification.

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