Weed Control

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by freestoneangler, Jun 30, 2013.

  1. First, my apologies to those who thought this was a thread about Maryjane... sorry to disappoint. I'm wanting to know who uses what to manage their (weeds) never ending advance on the sanctity of your property. I've tried the propane torch method and that is short lived; just does not get down to their roots, plus the place looks like a war zone. I don't really like using chemicals, but it has been the only real practical method of keeping them at bay. My neighbor introduced me to a product available at McClendon's that is under lock and key at the stores has to be signed for when buying. It, unlike the litany of common off the shelf products, is lights out... like done for the season. So, rather than using less potent stuff, but having to re-apply a dozen times during the season, the one (maybe twice) application of this product probably is more economical in both $$ and time. And, I would venture to guess, the total amount applied ends up being the same....maybe less.

    I try and use very sparingly, both because it's expensive as hell and trying not to send pesticides into the water tables. I also do a lot of pulling to limit the amount we use...but in some areas like gravel driveways, it's a losing battle.

    If anyone has come up with some great options, please share.
  2. Pave your yard and paint it green.
  3. That option, along with houseboat and condo living are non-starters.
  4. Seems no matter what I use I can make it rain within a couple of hours. Just happened last week with a 20% chance
    forecast. If you're trying to kill weeds in gravel look for a product with some residual.
  5. I resorted to chemicals this year too. I can't pull much due to my back problems. I do have a teenager but we all know how that goes.

    I've hired some lawn guys and while that looks good for a couple weeks, it is both temporary and cost prohibitive.

    The chems (Roundup and WeedBGone) seem to be working for general weeds but is short lived and does nothing on horsetails (bottlebrush) weeds or whatever they are called.

    In one bed, I stripped everything off to dirt and then went to town with the propane torch. I then bought the thickest, pro grade, landscape fabric and covered that with mulch. If you don't cover the exposed areas with ground cover, this seems to be the best option. Last year I had the lawn guys do another bed but they just used the cheap fabric and its useless.

    I would like to know what your secret chem is...I could use something that is longer lasting.
  6. I saw a green painted concrete driveway once. It still looked like concrete. I have stamped/colored concrete walkways and a patio that almost looks like large cut stones.

    I have used glyphosate (main ingredient in Roundup) in my crushed rock driveway before to kill off the weeds there, but only rarely, and sparingly. Problem with crushed rock driveways, is that much of the chemical misses the weed and just goes down onto the rocks and soil. Glyphosate sprayed on the crushed rocks or dirt is wasted.
    The long-lasting "nasty stuff you have to sign for" usually is designed to stay around in the surface layer and keep working. It binds to soil particles and roots, and doesn't break down rapidly, and some of it drains on down thru.
    I don't think I'd ever use the stuff freestoneangler just tried in my own driveway, since I live on a low sand dune, right near an estuary. You have to be really careful about where and when you spray around here, as well as what chemicals you spray. Even glyphosate can move down into the water table before it has time to break down, if it is sprayed on sand right before it rains hard.
    In the winter, the water table is only 39" below the surface on my property.

    My driveway is mainly "capped" with a layer of fill dirt and/or 6" of packed crushed rock over that. There are some spots that just have 6" of crushed over sand.

    Timing your spraying helps. Its better to spray before everything goes to seed. I would mow or whack seed heads off first.

    I just used up some lawn weed killer (weedBgone, left over from my landscape biz) on my front lawn (over my septic drainfield) and parking strip. I mowed the area on Thurs, and blanket sprayed it with my hose-end sprayer on Fri morning, before heading to the beach later in the day. It was perfect timing, precipitation-wise, although a little late in the season. Any other spraying I might do here this year will be with my tank sprayer, targeting individual weeds, (a small blast to the center of each dandelion, as opposed to a blanket application done to the entire yard with the hose-end sprayer).
    After 6 years of not spraying anything on it, the dandelions, oxalis, and other lawn weeds had taken over to the point where control by manual pulling was a lost pipe-dream. There was a raggedy-ass field of common invasive lawn weeds growing in my front yard, most of them non-native and out-competing the grass. I had to mow it regularly just to de-cap the weeds in mid-summer, even though the grass had stopped growing. (That ain't right!)

    I didn't spray the lawn in my "more ecologically sensitive" back yard, though, since I have managed to stay ahead of the weeds there by simply pulling them, and the grass is healthy due to several inches of good topsoil. Its not that big an area, either. Also, there's a drainage ditch going thru a wild greenbelt out beyond my back fence, and that eventually empties into the Elk estuary, so I'm giving it a large buffer zone. I have seen two species of frogs, two species of salamanders, garter snakes, and all kinds of other critters and birds in the back, where its shady and moist most of the time. Its too dry out in the front yard areas for the amphibians. They don't reside there, or even go there in the summer. (I've seen frogs hopping on the front lawn in the rainy Fall and Spring evenings, though. At those times when they are out hopping around, I've had a green chorus frog and a red-legged frog on my porch at the same time, waiting to nab bugs attracted by the porch light.

    I don't use lawn fertilizer, just mulch-mow in the summer.
  7. My thought is that if you use the glyposate at the right time in the spring or early summer, and remove seed heads first (doesn't penetrate seed coats), and then spray one other time in the late summer (better to not wait until early Fall, but do it after the first rains in Sept, well before the monsoons hit (when we'd all rather be cutthroat or salmon fishing), and just before some drier weather), you can control the weeds in the driveway. I'm usually trying to fish or surf and avoid any landscape work in Sept, though.

    Just not letting anything go to seed really helps.
    Its a bummer to live downwind from a weed patch, though. It will just keep sending more seeds your way, and dilute the effectiveness of your efforts. So If upwind neighbors aren't controlling weeds, you might have more work cut out for you, if you attempt to do so. I'm downwind from several vacant lots that had been cleared by bulldozer, and then just left to go to weeds.:(
  8. Just plain old vinegar works okay to kill broad leaf weeds during dry weather.
    You may have to use it a few times over the growing season, but if the leaves aren't allowed to develop (it destroys them), then the weed will eventually be starved of the energy required to sustain it through photosynthesis.
  9. FSA,

    Not a fan of chemical either, but I haven't found any viable alternative. Just put in landscaping at my new place this spring and having to deal with weeds gone wild, even in my new postage stamp sized lawn. My approach at the last place I owned was to broadcast something like Weed-be-gone the first two seasons because of all the weed seed drift from surrounding property. After that I was able to control weeds with some spot chemical warfare each year, but was never able to have a chemical free yard, due in large part to other property beyond my control. So that's what I'm going to try here at the new place. Did a major spray yesterday until my sprayer broke, so I'm off to Lowe's shortly to buy a replacement. Hope to finish today.

    We're also doing a lot of hoeing of flower/shrub beds, and I think we can eventually get these under control with physical removal.

    Kermit was right; it ain't easy being green.

  10. It always costs more (either $$ or time) to be green. However if you are really interested in looking at a non-chemical alternative for lawn weeks take a look at a weed puller tool (Fiskars and several others make various models). It is 4 2.5 to 3 inch prong pincher (driven by a lever applied to the ground) attached to a long handle (you'll want one that is chest high). The prongs are pushed into the ground by stepping on the "lever" with the prongs/pinchers around the weed and its tap root and then with the lever the weed and its root is lifted from the ground. It takes literally seconds to pull the weed and it can be deposited in a bucket or left on the ground.

    It will take a bit to de-weed an area but since you are pulling both the weed and its tap root they rarely come back. Once you get on top of the weeds it takes minimal amount of every spring or mid-summer to deal with the new weeds as they get started.

    Not necessarily easy but an alternative for chemicals that we have found reasonable way to produce a nearly weed free yard without huge amounts of time invested.

    Richard Torres likes this.
  11. Yep, vinegar works. Not real strong but it's cheap.
  12. I resort to chemicals and usually make it more potent than recommended. I've been told to put some dishwashing soap in the mix but you have to fill the canister very slowly or you'll create a foamy mess. I think we're screwed by the colder weather and rain giving the weeds a huge head start before proper chemical kill conditions arrive. I do as much as I can by hand, but after years of combating horsetail with barriers, shovels, hand filtering turned soil, etc I've realized the weeds will be there long after I'm gone no matter what I try.

    I do have incredible respect for dandelions. Amazing how you can pull a juvenile one and put it on the cement to die. Within a day, that yellow flower (or even bud) will have become the classic seed bearing fuzzball ready for dispersal. Talk about survival instinct.
  13. I've read that a heavy application of salt works to kill roots and vinegar just kills the greens. But nothing will grow in salt treated spots for a long time until the salt dilutes enough. I just spent a couple of hours removing large weeds from all the seams in my driveway (big driveway). I'm going to try sweeping rock salt into the seams and see how it goes. You could spot treat on gravel dives and then broadcast more over the whole thing. Just thinking ahead, I would say that any planted areas in the runoff zone might be in jeopardy.
  14. Riseform, That's why I like to de-cap all my dandelions and other weeds. Off with their heads!

    Best thing when using is just to follow the directions on the package for proper dosage. Sometimes more is not better, since a stronger mix may burn leaves (like vinegar does) before it gets fully absorbed.

    There's a commercial surfactant "spreader-sticker" that you can add to your mix that doesn't suds up like dishwater soap, and works better. I forgot the brand name. Ask your landscape supply dealer. Some formulas come with the surfactant already in the mix.

    You can wipe or brush herbicides onto leaves, rather than spray, and so avoid over spraying on the ground. I used a hollow tool that looks like a hockey stick when I was working cranberries. It had an "applicator head." You fill the handle with the mixture, and wipe away. I've also used disposable paint brushes and a jar, as well a tongs with absorbent pads, so you can pinch the leaves with the tongs and get both sides.
    Also, a hand-held piece of cardboard works as a back splash, to avoid spraying on the ground. I wear long vinyl gloves, rain pants, and rubber boots, and sometimes a respirator when applying chemicals.
    When I rinse my sprayer and stuff, I do it in the middle of my crushed rock driveway. For folks with storm drains on their streets, please never let any kind of rinse water go down a storm drain. Never. Thank you.

    For pulling Scotch Broom and small saplings, you simply can't beat a large Weed Wrench. They're made in OR, and you can find them on the internet. For Broom too large to uproot, I cut 'em off at the base and wipe the stub with glyphosate mixed to max recommended strength.

    One more thing, regularly spraying glyphosate and other weed control chemicals on the ground will change the pH of your topsoil. Probably not for the better.
    10incher likes this.
  15. Go Jim!
  16. Hi Yield Killzall is the product I've been using. McClendon's Hardware (Sumner) is where I buy it, but suspect their other stores also carry it. There is another version of this they also carry that is not under lock & key and does not require you sign for it upon purchase. It works much better than most products, but this stuff is lights out. It is super concentrated... I'm still working on the gallon I bought in 2009. I think I paid about $100.

  17. Oh yeah, and one more thing I almost forgot to mention... Please be sure that your sprayer's nozzle (if you use a tank sprayer) is adjusted so that it does NOT mist. A spray of fine droplets is usually desired for the best application, but not a mist, which will drift in the slightest breeze, and presents more of a danger of getting inhaled. I adjust mine so that there is no sign of any misting.
  18. Curt's idea of using the puller works..........

    Or you can get a goat.

    Goats will eat anything and everything, which could pose another problem for you.
  19. I used to have a miniature dachshund who was trained to go after dandelions. He would bite off the leaves then grab the root just below the crown. He wouldn't bite through, just sink his teeth in and start jerking real gentle like. He would get the whole thing more often than not. Loved to eat them. I miss Digger.
  20. That's a smart pooper. And he may have developed a taste for them for another reason. Dandelion tea stimulates a mild dopamine release. Providing a sensation of peace and well being. At least in humans.

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