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Still time for planting

by M.G. Gallagher

There’s still time to get areas ready for seeding. If you have a weed problem, you still have time to kill the ones that are actively growing. However, many weeds have gone to seed and have quit growing, and this includes some grasses.

Your options may include early season spraying or a pre-emergent herbicide next season, especially if you have lots of weeds on (and in!) your dirt. Perennial weeds that have gone to seed, like Canada thistle and dandelions, still should be killed while they are growing.

If you opt to spray, there are herbicides that are less dangerous to the environment. Glyphosate-based non-selective herbicides like Roundup and Kleenup have the advantage of going inert on soil contact, biodegrading later in the plant, and not having the more serious effects on other life that some weed-killers do. Glyphosates are rated a dermal irritant, so you want to take all precautions, and read the label.



Remember! “Non-selective” means it kills both broadleaf weeds and grass. Roundup is not for your lawn. If you have weeds in your lawn, use a weedkiller for lawns.

There are also herbicidal “soaps” on the market, but they are only effective against certain weeds. They are non-selective also. (Read: Not for your lawn either.)



Another important issue that came up again was about restoring bad lawns. It’s pretty simple. A number of lawns that have lots of weeds and so on usually are hurting for nutrients, and (understandably with many these days) water. Common lawn grasses need fertilizer. Some weeds don’t like fertilizer. The soil here is generally alkaline and low in stuff that turf likes. Either use a fertilizer that has sulfur and iron added, or use Ironite.

Another question that has come in asked about when to seed lawns, and another about seeding ornamental grasses. Turf grasses can be seeded for some time, but many ornamental grasses are better seeded in the spring. There are exceptions. We’ll talk about ornamental grasses again. I’ve been looking at some interesting resources, and there certainly is interest.

A really good question that has came in (thanks, Mimi) earilier this season, and again after the grass article, is where to get ornamental grasses and seed, and wildflowers and wildflower seed. We talked about Plants of the Southwest and their incredible operation in Santa Fe (www.plantsofthesouthwest.com), and there is another commendable source for seeds for the west. Hit the Internet and log onto



westernnativeseed.com. They have a really good selection of wildflower and grass seed, including many ornamental varieties and wildgrasses.

Folks, the local nurseries generally carry great plant stock, and there are many varieties for here still available. You have plenty of time to get out there and stock up on choice natives, pretty perennials, and cool wildflower seeds. There is mucho planting time left.

Again again – thanks to all for the nice comments. In upcoming weeks we’ll run through some new varieties, and some “best of” articles. There has been interest in alternative turf grasses, and indoor plants (the Fletcher Project), so we will comply. Resistance is futile.

M.G. Gallagher writes a column on gardening and landscaping for the Daily. He can be reached at montanegarden@excite.com


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