Monday, April 27, 2009

Watching Grass and Weeds Grow : Week 5

This week I was watching the weeds. The constant moisture that it takes to get the grass to spread is encouraging a huge crop of weeds. I identify spotted spurge, wild chamomile, tomatillos*, lots of junk grasses, annual bluegrass, cranesbill and others. I don't like to use herbicides, but there are too many weeds to control by hand pulling and using the scuffle hoe would rip out the spreading grass runners.

My recommendation for anyone trying to establish a buffalo grass lawn - or any kind of lawn - would be to start in the fall. Prepare the soil then. Water it well in early spring to get the annual weeds to sprout so you can kill them with glyphosate before the grass is planted, and use a pre-emergent to get the stragglers. I didn't, for compelling scheduling reasons, and am having to compensate by applying chemicals I don't normally use.

After a lot of researching what works for buffalo grass (there is not much information yet) ... it was time for some chemical warfare against the weeds with a broadleaf weed killer that has a mix of 2, 4 D (2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid), Mecoprop (methylchlorophenoxypropionic acid), and Dichlorprop.

As usual, I read the label, used the lowest recommended dose and followed ALL the instructions carefully. Buffalo grass is reputed to be more sensitive to broadleaf weed killer than some turf grasses, especially if the herbicide is applied on a hot day. I sprayed early in the morning on a day when the highest temperature was predicted to be below 90° F. I'm now watching for the weeds to start dying.

Grass News: In a the small area we planted with 9-inch spacing to use the few extra plugs, the runners from the clumps are touching the other clumps. In the areas with 18-inch spacing, a few runners are a foot long. If your budget can handle the extra expense, I recommend buying enough plugs for 9-inch spacing.

*Perhaps tomatillos are not considered to be a weed, but a couple hundred tomatillos sprouting in the lawn takes them out of the garden vegetable category. The seeds may have been spread by birds, or were in the compost we spread.


Hung said...

Hi there. Enjoyed reading your blogs on buffalo grass. I just finished installing UC Verde Buffalo grass in my front and back yard. It has only been a day, but I find myself staring out at it for signs of life. I'm surprised the weather is not close to the high 90s. I went to school at ASU, so I'm very familiar with the weather in Arizona. Please keep update your pics on your lawn.


Muhammad Nasir said...

(did not see my earlier comment appear, so leaving it once more)

Hello there, you mentioned you used "a mix of 2, 4 D (2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid), Mecoprop (methylchlorophenoxypropionic acid), and Dichlorprop". Would you please let me know what was the name of weed Killer? I have been trying to find one whith above ingrediets but not all of them are in one weed killer. Would you please also let me know if it killed annual blue grass weed? I have an ivasion of it :( Thanks in advance

Lazy Gardens said...

Muhammed -
The older posts are moderated to prevent spammers. I deleted the duplicates.

I don't remember the name of the product. It did not work very well. And, that product is meant to kill "broad-leaved weeds", not grasses. It would not kill the annual bluegrass.