So you’ve identified a garden bully, invasive plants. A quick review of your options for dealing with them starts with breaking the reproductive cycle so they do not spread. Don’t let them go to seed, particularly if they’re annuals. Or use a pre-emergent treatment so the seeds don’t germinate.
And in the last resort category we have something that those folks back in ’96 lacked – herbicides, chemicals developed to take advantage of the plant’s weakness. Our garden centers have shelf after shelf of bagged and bottled herbicides, and it can be overwhelming when there are several brands with similar claims in big letters on the label. It’s the fine print and the instructions that you need to read, before you buy and then again before you mix and apply. For example, don’t buy a weed-preventer to kill existing weeds. And don’t expect an herbicide to make a distinction between a desirable plant and a weed. Dicamba will kill the roots of any plant, including desirable shrubs and 2,4-D will kill broad leaf weeds but not harm grass, which is why we use it on dandelions in the lawn grass but if it drifts onto a bed of pansies – bad news!
Read the label! Will a pint of diluted, ready-to-use product be all you need or would a gallon of the active ingredient be a much better buy? Maybe you could share with a neighbor. Or the whole neighborhood could attack kudzu at the same time.
How will you apply the herbicide? Do you need to mix with water and spray the leaves? Or is it to be applied at full strength to the freshly-cut woody stump? Is this product less effective at certain temperatures or particular weather conditions?
And if you have questions as to how to attack a particular weed, call the Extension Helpline 828-255-5522.
Written by Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Glenn Palmer.