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Now is the Time to Treat for Winter Annual Weeds

Sunday, September 17, 2023

With the official start of the fall season just a few days away, homeowners need to be thinking about controlling winter annual weeds. If henbit and annual bluegrass have been a problem in the past, it’s time to apply a preemergence herbicide.


Many winter annual weeds germinate in the fall or early winter and can survive throughout the winter or early spring when conditions are more conducive for growth. Waiting until you see them is too late, so it’s important to treat them now.


Preemergence herbicides must be applied well in advance of germination in order to control the weeds, so time is running out. Whatever product homeowners decide to use, it must be watered in within a couple of days of application in order to be activated. Some products need to be incorporated into the upper surface of the soil.


Check with the local garden center for available products that will effectively control the germination of most winter annual weeds. Some herbicides are labeled for turf only while others are labeled for both turf and ornamental areas.


Products for both turf and ornamental areas typically contain bensulide or benefin + oryzalin. If homeowners are treating ornamental and vegetable beds, look for products that contain trifluralin.


There are multiple products available, so it’s important to read the labels and choose one best suited for your site and situation, as well as one that controls the weeds being targeted. Read and follow labels directions for the best results and to avoid damaging any desirable plants.


Something else to keep in mind – for those planning to seed any areas this fall, do NOT apply a preemergence herbicide.


More information is available from Oklahoma State University Extension in the Controlling Weeds in Home Lawns fact sheet.

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