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Late Season Weed Control

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Let’s be honest here, if you have a bunch of weeds going wild on your property right now you've missed the boat earlier in the season. This is not something you are going to correct instantly and the effects are probably going to last years. That’s the bad news, but on the other hand there is no time like the present to start correcting the problem. Let’s take the time right now and come up with a plan that can make the best of a difficult situation and make it easier for next year and the years beyond.

Late Season Weed Control Options

There are two things you can do right now: spray with an herbicide or mow it all down. You will not want to do them both in rapid succession because they tend to interfere with each other. If you spray and then mow you will cut off all the herbicide and make it useless. If you cut and then spray you will have a hard time getting enough leaf material capable of moving the herbicide down to the roots where it can make a permanent kill. Let’s look at a few more details of each process.

Spray First Option

Spray now with glyphosate and give it a week. If the label allows for more pesticide to be used, spray again. After two weeks or the time allowed on the label, mow it all down or crimp it so that it lies flat. If you mow, you can remove the cuttings to reduce the amount of seeds for next year’s mowing. If it is a small area, it would be good to follow up with either a sheet mulch or solarization. Just keep in mind that a good solarization needs to be done with clear plastic and will be more effective during the height of summer when the heat is at its worst. If you are working with a large area where it is impractical to sheet mulch or solarize, you are going to need to look at a plan involving regular glyphosate application, pre-emergent herbicides, regular tilling, grazing, or crimping. Most likely you will find the best results from some combination of the above.

Cut First Option

Cut the weeds and, if you can, dispose of them either with a hot compost pile that will kill the weed seed or throw them in the garbage to get rid of the seeds. The cutting itself will not kill many plants, so you need to follow up as I suggested above. If you have enough leaf surface left on the plants you can follow up with glyphosate. But you may need to wait a week or so for the plants to grow new leaves. If not using herbicide, follow up removal with a plan just like you would for the spray first option.

In all of this please remember that one of the best ways of getting rid of weeds permanently is to just pull them, and that one of the most damaging ways is to till repeatedly. And one more thing; now is the time to plant a winter cover crop which is a great way to slow weeds down during the winter months.


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