One thing you can say about a wet winter, it makes everything lush and green - especially the weeds!
Cheatgrass is knee-high and really dense this year. Other prolific weeds include redstem filaree with its crane's bill-like seedpods, flixweed and tumble mustard - both with yellow flowers. Of course, let's not forget the grasses that escape the lawn and invade our flowerbeds and shrubberies. Weed, weed, weed! It's never-ending.
I'm trying all the tactics in my weed control toolbox again this year. I tried spraying non-selective herbicides containing glyphosate; but it's been so windy, I was only able to spray once. I have attacked them with a
string trimmer, but they just came back. I've mowed. My husband has mowed. I finally resorted to pulling them in the rain - at least they came out easily from the wet ground. I finally bought a new sprayer (on wheels!) and more chemical for my future weed war efforts.
Next year I swear I will put down a pre-emergence herbicide before the fall rains come to deter the cheatgrass and other winter annual weeds. Although it's too late and a waste of money to control the winter annual weeds now with chemicals, a pre-emergent could still take care of some of the summer and fall weeds.
Pre-emergence herbicides will only control weeds that haven't sprouted yet. Use a postemergence herbicide to control existing weeds.
A word of caution: Avoid products that say they clear the ground, prevent weeds for years or sterilize the soil. Soil sterilants or "bare-ground" herbicides often kill plants in non-target areas because these products move through the soil readily with water and get into the roots of desirable plants and lawn. They also can contaminate surface and groundwater. For all products, read the LABEL before you buy them, before you use them and when you go to dispose of them.
If you want expert advice on gaining the upper hand on weeds, attend University of Nevada Cooperative Extension's (UNCE's) weed workshop 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday at 2621 Northgate #12. Learn to match the best control method to each weed. UNCE specialist Sue Donaldson will be presenting.
To find out how you can win a $2,500 landscape update to install best management erosion control practices on your property, attend our best management practices workshop 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, June 18 at the Hampton Inn, 10 Hospitality Way, in north Carson City.
• JoAnne Skelly is the Carson City/Storey County Extension educator for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 887-2252.