Annual weeds in turfgrass
Barton County Extension Agent
If henbit and other broadleaf winter annual weeds such as chickweed and shepherd’s purse have been a problem in your lawn, wait until mid to late October before using a post-emergent herbicide. That way you can be fairly certain they will have germinated and will have developed some leaf area so they can take up the herbicide.
Dandelions are also in this winter annual group, but are much easier to kill and they usually germinate earlier in October. Dandelions are one of the few that can be killed with 2, 4-D alone. All of these are called winter annuals, however, we get most calls about them when they flower in early to mid spring and thus are very noticeable.
These weeds are much less noticeable in the fall than they will be in spring, but they will be difficult to control if you delay action until next spring. With all the moisture we have had, they should come up good this fall. In the spring, not only is control difficult, but they have already robbed moisture from your lawn and out-competed grass. Also, the visual reason you don’t want the weeds has already occurred and once they have flowered, they will still set seed, even if you kill them.
Products that have a combination of 2,4-D, MCPP or MCPA and dicamba, such as trimec, are most effective against these weeds. These come in dry or liquid formulations. In the fall, I like to use the weed and feed combinations with fertilizer that you can put on with a dry spreader.
If you don’t mind spending more money, Barricade is a long lasting product with a broad spectrum of control. It can last all year, but if you water a lot, it may run out in mid-summer if you apply it in the fall.
Keep in mind that a healthy, dense lawn is the best prevention against invasion by these weeds.
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