Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pre-Emergent Application. Or...Kill it early.

Get out there and do something in the yard. At the moment we are enjoying the spectacularly wonderful weather in Texas that draws snowbirds here. It won't stay this way forever. Eventually we will get one of those blue northers and freeze up for a whole day. But, somewhere out there 100F is lurking. I know it. I can feel the heat of it on my head. Looking around the area you can see the trees changing. There are ripples of green on the lawn where some of the frosts we have had are beginning to send the turf into dormancy. But I also see thin spots in the mulch. Acorns and pecans all over driveways, weeds growing in the bare spots and dead shrubs in beds. Now is the time to repair, expand and maintain your spot of earth. 

Whether you are a tofu-eating vegan that would no more spray 2,4-D than you would poke a sharp stick in your eye or you are hardened chemical slinger (ahem, don't judge me!) now is the time to get with it. There are a few reasons why this time of year is crucial to your overall success with your landscape. I am often asked " Is it too late to apply pre-emergents?" First, I had better define "pre-emergent." A plant can be characterized as pre or post emergent. Meaning it has either not sprouted (germinated) from the seed or it has. Big fancy words for still in the seed or sprouting leaves. Now it might bother some of my earthy friends but when I apply corn gluten to my beds or yard I am applying an herbicide. That is what I am trying to do, prevent the germination of undesirable plants. It is in effect a pre-emergent and is marketed that way and registered with the EPA and TDA as such. If I go apply it at your house I have to have a license same as if I was applying simazine or pendimethalin. Those are two popular and effective pre-emergents widely available. Note I do not name a particular brand name. I would recommend looking at the bottom of the label, over to one side of the front or wherever they stick the fine print box of active ingredients and looking for those chemically inclined names with far too many syllables. They can call it "Kill a Weed." Weed Hammer" "Bash a Nettle!" or whatever snappy name the marketing dept comes up with, I could not care less. I don't care if it looks like the old generic "Beer." I buy my fertilizer in a brown paper bag. It has the requisite label and all the info I need on a 3x5 square. It is just like buying meds. Aspirin is aspirin whether it is the CVS brand or Bayer. Ok now that I have gotten that out of my system, here is what you need to know about applying pre-emergents. 

KNOW the area. Even a rough estimate of pacing the area off will be better than a wild ass guess. This is important because how much product you put out, whether corn or chems is dependent upon not only the target species but how big the area might be. For example, if the label calls for 4.5# of .5% pendimethalin to control sandburs (aka stickers) per 1000 ft sq. Then knowing that your hard is 30x40 you can determine how much of this canary yellow stuff you need to put out. Well, let's just work that problem shall we?
Ok 30 times 40 = 1200 sq feet. So another 20% over our 1000. We need to add a bit. Tack that 20% to 4.5 lbs and we have 5.4 lbs. Ok this is a good estimate for weight. A cup is usually about a pound. You can get really picky and weigh it out exactly and mark it on a measuring device but a standard cup is fine. Close enough. Just don't mound it up or leave it low. A nice measured cup, flat and even. Just like flour. So in our area in question we can dump five and allllmost a half a cup in our little grindy grindy spreader and walk around . Don't run around with it wide open trying to get full coverage! Open it up about halfway and walk normally back in forth until you have good coverage of the entire area. If you made it all the way across and still have some left, finish it off by going perpendicular to your original pattern until it is gone. Sweep or blow it off the sidewalks where you inadvertently got some product and turn on the water. This scenario applies to corn gluten the same as it does chemicals. Rather than the 4.5 lbs per 1000 it is 20lbs, so adjust accordingly. 

Or you can just go out there in the yard, pull the dandelions and chickweed and eat them. That works too. 

Maybe next time I will talk about planting trees and roses. 

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