Winter Weeds Are No Cause for Concern

Winter Weeds Are No Cause for Concern

Supplemental watering — or in our case, plentiful rainfall — leads to weeds. Lots of them. Most cool-season weeds will die by April. But if you can't wait that long, just follow these simple steps to get rid of them now.

We received a lot of feedback from the winter weeds article that published last month. Readers had comments and questions ranging from what kind of weeds they were to why did they appear and how to eliminate them.

My response to most of the queries was the same: These are cool season weeds, meaning they will all die by April, never to be seen again until December.

But if you are perturbed by the sight of these winter weeds and wish to remove them, just follow these simple steps.

Step 1

Stop any and all supplemental watering. Established grass and perennials generally don’t need additional water during the dormant (winter) season. Excess water only encourages weeds; of course, you can’t control the rainfall so they may spring up anyway.

Step 2

Get some exercise and pull them weekly, if there aren’t too many (and that’s for you to decide). Bonus: they slip right out of the ground when the soil is soft (from all the rain).

Step 3

Eliminate ALL seed. Drag carpet swatches, burlap or old blue jeans over the area to remove the seed.

Step 4

Target spray. Your choices are vinegar and orange oil, glyphosate or a product containing 2,4-D.

Step 5

Remove and destroy all live and dead plants. Remember, weeds spread by seeds. No seeds means no weeds.

Step 6

Plan ahead — pre-emergent herbicides such as Amaze or Dimension can be applied in September. You can also use an organic product like corn gluten. For warm season weeds, apply at or near the end of February.

Step 7

If the weeds are in the turf, then mow, mow, mow and mow again. Mowing is the simplest way to kill weeds.

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Mark Peterson

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Mark Peterson

Mark A. Peterson is a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System. With over 30 years of experience as an urban forester and arborist, Mark is probably the only person you know who actually prunes trees for fun. When not expounding on the benefits of trees and limited lawns, you’re likely to find him hiking San Antonio’s wilderness parks or expounding on the virtues of geography and history to his friends.