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 (February 2011)

QuestionLast spring I planted bugle weed (chocolate chip variety) on steep slopes at each end of our house. They didn't seem to get a great start. I feel the hot, dry summer was a factor, even though I watered regularly to get them started. The winter weeds have been rampant now and other weeds have popped up. Due to my age and arthritis problems and the steep slopes, I'm not able to hand weed them. Is there a spray I can use to kill the weeds and not do damage to the plants?

 

AnswerBugle weed or Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’ is a great groundcover, but I would suspect that last summer took its toll, especially due to the slope combined with heat and drought. Unfortunately, ajuga is a broadleaf plant, and anything that would kill the weeds that you have which are broadleaf plants too, would also damage the ajuga. If Bermuda grass or other grasses comprise the base of your weeds, then there is a grass specific herbicide that would kill the grass (once it is green and growing) without hurting the ajuga. Many of the winter weeds are annuals and will die with the heat of summer. See if you can get some mulch in there around the ajuga to help exclude more weeds, and fertilize it to get it kicked into gear this spring.


 (June 2010)

QuestionI have a fifty foot border of monkey grass along my front walkway. I am threatening to dig it up and replace it with a rock border because I can't keep the Bermuda grass out of it. Other than hand pulling it out, which would be a daily chore, do you have any suggestion to getting it and keeping it under control? We love the look of the monkey grass but the Bermuda makes it very ugly. I would appreciate any suggestion you may have.

 

AnswerI have two suggestions. One is to invest in a grass specific herbicide that can be sprayed on the monkey grass or liriope (Liriope is in the lily family, and is not a true grass). Poast, Fusilade, Grass-b-gone, Ornamec and/or Over-the-top are all brand names. Try to get these products sprayed as soon as possible, since the grass is getting a strong foot hold and dead grass can be just as unattractive as live grass in the liriope. Once you have the grass under control, create a buffer zone between your lawn and your monkey grass. It should be at least six to twelve inches wide. You can use some type of edging or mulch here, but it gives you some space to keep the lawn in check either with a weed-eater, edger or chemical. Whenever we have our beds directly adjacent to running grasses, the grass takes over.


 (June 2006)

QuestionI have a field behind my house which we hydro-seeded with weeping love grass. The weeds have taken over and I am losing my patience. Will a common weed and feed kill them, or will that kill the weeping lovegrass too?

 

AnswerWeeping love grass can be treated almost like a lawn grass in many respects. Weed and feeds can be either fertilizers with a pre-emergent herbicide, or fertilizer with a post-emergent herbicide. The pre-emergent herbicide prevents weeds and would be of no use now. If it is a true weed killer—post-emergent type, see what type of weeds it is labeled to kill. Some will kill broadleaf weeds, some will grassy weeds. If you have both types of weeds, you are probably out of luck. Broadleaf weeds will be easier to kill than grassy weeds. If it is a grassy weed killer, make sure weeping love grass is not labeled as one of the weeds it will kill. This is a good example of why good site preparation is important prior to seeding or planting groundcovers or lawns.


 QuestionLast summer, we moved into a new house, and planted Vinca and jasmine as ground cover on a hill in front of our house. Since that time, large weeds with leaves approximately l-2" in diameter have begun to grow in the spaces between the Vinca and jasmine. We have poisoned the weeds twice, carefully avoiding the groundcover. However, the weeds have continued to grow not die, so I have 3 questions: If the winter weather kills the weeds, what can we do to keep the weeds from coming back in the spring? And what can we use that will not also kill the Vinca and jasmine? What can we do to promote growth of the groundcover?

 

AnswerIf the weeds are broadleaf weeds, there is no post-emergent spray that will kill the weeds without damaging the groundcover. If you know what the weeds are, you could determine whether they are annual weeds or perennials. Annuals can be controlled with a pre-emergent herbicide such as Surflan. If they come back this year, take a sample to your county extension office. Fertilize your groundcover this spring when new growth begins with a high nitrogen fertilizer to help it fill in more quickly.


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