Pender Gardener

Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 12:41 PM.

Warm season lawns should not be irrigated after early September. Fall is the time when warm season lawns are shutting down for winter. Continuing to irrigate lawns during fall can increase cold injury during winter and encourage disease problems. The only exception to this would be if we were experiencing a fall drought, which is certainly not the case this year. 


DO Control Weeds

Just as there are warm and cool season grasses, there are also warm and cool season weeds. Cool season weeds come up in the fall, live through winter, then flower and die in the spring. Most cool season weeds are annuals, coming up each year from seed, but a few are perennials. Cool season perennial weeds come back from year to year from roots that persist in the soil. Two of the most troublesome, Florida betony and wild onion, have started sprouting in yards over the past few weeks.

Like most perennial weeds, it is very difficult to control Florida betony or wild onion by digging them up. Repeated mowing can weaken these weeds but will not kill them. The only way to really get rid of most perennial weeds is to spray them with herbicides, but one application will not do the job. Instead it takes repeated sprays over a couple of seasons. To begin controlling Florida betony or wild onion in your lawn, spray them now and again in February.

Which herbicide to use depends on your lawn type. In zoysia and Bermuda lawns, wild onion and Florida betony can be controlled with herbicides containing a combination of the active ingredients 2,4-D, mecoprop and dicamba. Brand names for these products include Weed-B-Gone, Lesco Three Way, and Speed Zone Southern. These herbicides will also control many of the common cool season annual weeds that are coming up in lawns now, including chickweed, cudweed, and spurweed.

Centipede and St. Augustine lawns are sensitive to 2,4-D. In these lawns instead apply Image, active ingredient Imazaquin, to control wild onions, and atrazine to control Florida betony. Atrazine is sold as Purge II, Aatrex, and HiYield Atrazine. In addition to controlling Florida betony, atrazine will also control many cool season annuals weeds. Please note: Brand names are included in this article as a convenience to the reader and do not imply endorsement by N.C. State University nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned.

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