Weeds, Weeds, and More Weeds!

Bonnie Nowicki

As you know, the monsoons brought an abundance of weeds—those poor plants that are growing in places where they are not wanted. Weeds will invade established landscape areas and xeriscapes in response to rainfall and where irrigation water is applied. Weed populations quickly develop where land is disturbed, such as our gardens. Throughout my home landscape, the summer annual weed, ground spurge (Euphorbia prostrata), is everywhere. Thank goodness for a helpful hubby. Perhaps we all should develop a weed control program.

For small landscape areas, hand-pulling, cutting, or hoeing can be effective. However, disturbing the soil creates an ideal environment for additional weed seed germination. Chemical weed control can certainly cut down the tedious labor. According to my master gardener manual, liquid preemergence herbicides such as dithiopyr, oryzalin, pendimethalin, and prodiamine are suggested for landscapes because they kill germinating weed seedlings before they emerge. These herbicides can be applied in the fall before the winter rains and again in spring or early summer and must be watered into the soil within days. Several years of continuous use will result in better weed control. Using the granular form, such as Amaze or Snapshot 2.5 TG, allows the granules to fall through the foliage of desirable plants to the soil underneath. Then there are postemergence herbicides. They are sprayed on actively growing emerged weeds without disturbing the soil. Over time, they too, prevent weed seed production and reduce labor.

Perhaps you also have unwanted woody perennials, such as desert broom. This is a common problem, because the wind disperses the seeds long distances. Unwanted desert shrubs and trees can be eradicated using undiluted cut stump herbicide treatments of glyphosate (41% or greater solution) applied with a paint brush. This herbicide is not active in soil and can be used safely around desirable ornamentals.

There are so many choices of products for eliminating those nasty weeds. Good luck with your research and clever removal tactics.