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Mon, Sept. 16

Spring has sprung - and so have weeds galore

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Photos.com

The trees are unfolding their beautiful green leaves and their blooms are bursting forth. Grass is greener and our ornamental plants and fruit trees are growing overnight. Unfortunately, also shooting up are those pesky weeds.

Q: Weeds seem to be taking over our yard in a matter of days. Is it better to pull them or eradicate them with spray?

-Ed and Olive Prescott

A: Every year there is an influx of weeds and there is dual attack that needs to take place to control these pests. The first step is to remove the weeds. That may be obvious, but keep in mind, if left to their own devices, weeds will overtake your landscape because they seed quickly and have their proliferation down to a science. The best way to remove weeds is to pull them by hand. The entire plant and root system must be removed in order for the growth and seeding to halt. If you have larger sections of weeds, it is better to use a hoe to clean the area.

Herbicides are extremely effective in killing weeds. There are many great weed killers available at our local nurseries and hardware stores. You can also hire a landscaping company to spray weed killer or apply a pre-emergent. Many pest control companies also offer weed pre-emergent control. Pre-emergents are used to kill the young weed seedlings as they start to grow. Pre-emergents act like weed cloth - however, they do not control already existing weeds. There are different types of pre-emergents that control different types of weeds, so it is important to discuss the application with the company that you hire. Discuss the target weed area, what your control needs are, and what your participation will be to ensure that the pre-emergent does its job, such as making sure you water the chemicals into the ground. Our hot sunlight degrades the application if you do not take the time to water.

With any weed control herbicide, it is important to read the labels and

follow directions if you want to perform the weed eradication yourself. Professional lawn service programs are a great way to go and can control your weeds throughout every season.

-Chris Vicente, owner, Vicente Landscaping, and Peter Hutchinson, manager, Praying Mantis Pest Control

Q: I have heard mulch helps control weeds. Is this correct?-Mark from Chino Valley

A: Mulch can be one of your biggest allies in the battle against weeds. Mulch suppresses weeds and, as an added benefit, mulch retains water and gives your garden area many good organic nutrients. Mulch should be worked into the ground about 6-10 inches and should not cover any area of trunk or stem growth from your plants. You can purchase mulch from landscape supply houses or local garden stores, or ask your landscaper to mulch.-Frank Abbot, general manager, CareScape, Prescott

Q: We recently prepared several pots with potting soil from a local store and were waiting for a particular spring plant to arrive at our nursery before planting in the pots. During this approximately two-week period, the pots are growing with weeds galore! How can this be?-Margie, Forest Highlands, Prescott.

A: There could be a couple of different reasons for this. It is possible that the weed seeds may have been in the potting soil, but it's somewhat unlikely unless the bags had holes. More than likely, passing birds dropped these seeds. It is better not to put any potting soil in pots until you are ready to plant the same day, or apply a layer of mulch between the plants and the potting soil to help keep the weeds out.-Pat Heuer, owner, Pat's Custom Landscaping, Prescott

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Early spring application of pre-emergent is necessary if you want satisfactory weed control. Pre-emergents do not destroy weeds and their seeds; they simply stop growth. Some weed seeds have been known to last 50 years, so if the pre-emergent or herbicide is not applied yearly, the weeds will continue to grow.

There are winter weeds and summer weeds, so it is necessary to apply pre-emergent or herbicides two times per year - ideally March 15 and Sept. 15. Although we are a little past March 15, it is not too late to apply herbicides now to start your weed control.

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