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Crab Grass Problem

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
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by afgreyparrot on March 11, 2004 05:41 PM
Two years ago my husband brought me a dump truck full of beautiful topsoil so I could make an awesome iris display in my yard. Then he brought another one for the 80 roses I was expecting from Jackson and Perkins. Unfortunately, this soil was full of crab grass seeds! I tried Ortho Crab Grass Killer (spray), and it didn't do a thing. The crab grass choking my irises and roses was BEAUTIFUL (not!!!)! So, last fall I dug everything up...all the roses and irises. Now I have several beautiful spots full of nothing but crab grass! Do I have to just get the backhoe and dig all this soil back up and get rid of it? (I have my irises and roses in a temporary spot until I get this crab grass problem solved.)

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Buckle up! It makes it harder for the aliens to suck you out of your car!
by shamarian on March 12, 2004 08:08 AM
Afgreparrot, I had something close to the same problem.The first year we were here I worked up and planted a long row all along one side of the house with Iriss.I saw there was some crab grass and so I really worked it up and pulled all I could. Well within a couple years my Iriss were pretty choked out like you say, in fact I didnt even try to rescue the roots, they were so tangled with crabgrass that I dug them up and burned the whole batch. It is still an area I am pulling crabgrass all the time and so I'm not here to give you the answer, I'm waiting for someone to tell you what can be done because I need to know too, please someone, help us! [Eek!]

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I am old, and repotting wont help!
by write2rellie on March 12, 2004 06:26 PM
i'm afraid i don't have good news. from the research i've been doing, (my lawn is mostly crabgrass), the herbicides kill seeds before germination, and that may be the way to go for you. They also say the herbicides kill all types of grass seeds and so it's best to apply it on an established lawn. Will the herbicides harm other types of plants/flowers?? [dunno]

However, all the sites i've found say the best way to prevent crabgrass is to have a thick dense "turf", and unfortunatley that isn't what you have in a flower garden.

They also mentioned that black plastic will kill all existing crabgrass, (as well as anything else planted in that spot), but that crabgrass seeds can lie dormant for up to 15 years! [Frown]
I can't imagine anyone wanting to have sections of their yard covered in plastic for that length of time.

Perhaps-- [thinker] -- I don't know if this idea will work, maybe a more seasoned gardener could be of help..
Maybe you could cover the offensive area with black plastic and build raised beds above it?? Will the plastic harm the environment or inhibit the roots of the iris bed?? [dunno]

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rellie
by afgreyparrot on March 12, 2004 10:05 PM
Thanks for the input so far!
Last year I was surfing around and came across something about crab grass, and it mentioned something like "corn gluten" (?) to prevent the seeds from germinating. But, of course I don't remember the website, and not really sure if it was called "corn gluten". I am trying to find out something about this, and as soon as I do I'll let you know!

I sure didn't know the seeds could lay dormant and sprout 15 years from now, but as mean and wicked as crab grass is, I would expect nothing less!

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Buckle up! It makes it harder for the aliens to suck you out of your car!
by weezie13 on March 12, 2004 10:24 PM
Hey Cindy,
Do you have a Animal Feed Supply near you??
Like a corn mill or a grainery that sells things to farmers..???????????
Go in there and talk to them, go to several if you have to.... and get their take on it from them.
My husband works in the feed delivery business and he's told me about it, the corn gluten as in farmers useage... they spread it on their fields as a natural weed deterant, but it is expensive they way my husband talks.
But for what little amount you use, the $$ may not be that much....
There's something in the gluten that will not allow seeds to germinate, but mind you every seed will be a "weed" in it's mind, so if you use it in area's that you WANT to reseed, it won't happen.
Karen *Catlover* and I had a conversation about it awhile back...I'll see if I can find the link, or do a forum search and type in Corn Gluten
(make sure it's on the all available topic and any dates, not sure how far back we were talking about it!!!

Weezie

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by afgreyparrot on March 12, 2004 10:36 PM
I just found some stuff on corn gluten, too.
It seems that timing is SO critical that it would be risky (for me, anyway!). It has to be applied at the TIME of germination, before the seed of the target weed emerges above the soil. After the germination stage, it is an EXCELLENT FERTILIZER!!! Knowing me, I would put it on a day too late and it would fertilize my crabgrass instead of kill it.
Yeah, I'm sure that's what I would end up doing!

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Buckle up! It makes it harder for the aliens to suck you out of your car!
by weezie13 on March 12, 2004 11:10 PM
Cindy,
Do you know anyone that farms?
They'd be the ones really to talk to.
And ask their little tricks of the trade for it.
Worth a shot in the dark anyways.

I have the same problem with grass,
not sure if it's crabgrass or not...
I cover it up...
One area I have strawberries,
I cover with newspaper and compost.
But it does creep through it, but sometimes,
it's so long and stringie getting to the sun, it's easy to pull out, but still there just the same, maybe not as heavy???
Not sure if the news paper is cohabitable with the iris's though, may be too much moisture?????

Hard to make a call!

Weezie

Anyway to complain were you got the load from??

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by afgreyparrot on March 13, 2004 02:19 AM
O.K....here's my plan.
I'm thinking about spraying it with Round Up right now, because it's already started growing. Then, when more comes up in a few weeks, I'll spray it again.
I have the "crabgrass infested" soil in two large spots and 16 smaller (4')spots. I know it will look bad for awhile, but if I start now maybe it will be gone in a month and I will still have time to plant in those spots. I figure if I kill it real good before it has time to make new seeds, I will be rid of it for good. You think so?

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Buckle up! It makes it harder for the aliens to suck you out of your car!
by catlover on March 18, 2004 02:53 AM
Ohhhhh Cindy I feel for you.....I reallllly do!
I have the "evil" Burmuda grass"....runners, 8 ft. deep, seeds, etc. evil devil....
Round Up to the rescue....2 yr. here and I am still fighting it....but it sure slows it down.
Remember: Round Up is poisonous to animals....so spray and let it dry....then you can release kids and pets. Also use only % recommended for that grass....more is not better...you want it to attack and have time to kill the runners and roots. If you spray a higher concentration it will just kill off the top and nothing happens to the roots. I have also found spraying on a "windless"(very important or you will kill everything else around) day and as warm and sunny as possible. It will take a few days to really show you got it...then after a few weeks you can go back and either rake the dry grass into the soil and add as compost or pull it up and trash it!!!! Best to get any of the grasses before going to seed!!!!

If you do a forum search for Burmuda grass you will probably come up with some of my postings concerning the evil grass! You really have to keep at it....at least with the Burmuda and the crab sounds a lot like it!!!! Also water it real well a couple times ....get it growing REAL well and then zap the stuff....do this a few times over the next couple months and you should be rid of most of it!!! Then it is just for control. I bust out the gallon sprayer and then make some up for the quart spray bottle and when I see some...give it a zap when I am wandering around the yard!

Good Luck!!!!

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by catlover on March 18, 2004 02:59 AM
FYI: The patent on Round Up is over so there is a way cheaper brand called Remuda....I have a big 2.5 gallon jug of it...but it will last for many, many years!!!!

I know there are a lot of people on here that are totally against Round Up....but there is noooo way you can get rid of the Burmuda otherwise. Sorry guys...I only use it for the most stubborn weeds...Burmuda and Purslane!!!! Everything else I hoe or pull out...you know some weeds are killed by Vinegar!!!! Anybody out there tried that???? Works for a few weeds!!!
[kitty] Catlover [wayey]

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by afgreyparrot on March 23, 2004 11:27 PM
I'm glad you told me about the cheaper version of "Round Up". That stuff is SOOO expensive. I asked my husband the other day if he would bring the dozer or backhoe and just load the dirt up and get rid of it, but he said the crabgrass would end up all over the yard if he started pushing the dirt around, so I'm back to the Round Up. I didn't know that it wouldn't do as well if you mixed it higher strength. I figured I'd mix it real strong, but since you told me that you just saved me a bunch of money!!! It's been cold here ever since I posted that I was going to spray it, so I haven't started yet. It is worrying me to death (I obviously have no other life than my yard and my parrot!).
Thanks a bunch!

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Buckle up! It makes it harder for the aliens to suck you out of your car!
by catlover on March 24, 2004 07:41 PM
Cindy...remember this is VERY poisonous stuff..... WASH your hands with soap and water for several minutes before handling the parrot!!! It will also track on shoes, vapors(little droplets) on clothes etc....so wash yourself/clothes thoroughly after applying.....don't want anything happening to your birdie friend!!!! [thumb]

Make sure it is totally dry before releasing any other animals in the yard!!! [thumb]

I just sprayed some about a week ago....the weather was warm when applied but got cooler....still worked....just took longer to show the dead grass!!!
Glad I could help! Good Luck and keep us updated on your progress.
Catlover [wayey]

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by The Plant Doc on March 26, 2004 10:08 PM
There are many products out on the market that will control crab grass not only post emmergent but also in a pre emergent stage as well. The problem with dealing with crab grass after it is there is the fact that you have to catch it while it is still small, in the 2 to 4 tiller stage. This looks nothing like the plant does when it is full grown so you have to know what you are looking for. At this point the weed is easily taken care with selective controls, such as Acclaim or Drive. Just follow the label instructions to the letter.
There are also pre emergents that can be used in a garden as well. the same ones that you use in your lawn will work as long as you don't happen to have anything else coming up from seed. These are usually attached to a fertilizer base so you can kill 2 birds with one stone.

Good Luck

Mike

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Mike Maier
aka
The Plant Doc
by Phil and Laura on March 26, 2004 10:41 PM
Mike, I agree with you fully on your lawn care tips [thumb] However, I do not agree with the use of ANY herbicide in the garden. I'm not saying that someone (who is incapable of hoeing or spreading mulch), Should not use such chemicals, because we do what we have to, to GARDEN! The problem, and you seem well versed, is that the criteria to determine SAFE is based on the effect of the given poison on a subject of Average: Age, Weight,Health...Gee, it's a good thing MOST of us ARE Average [thinker] BUT For those who AREN'T [tears] There are much safer natural herbicides for your garden. My 2 cents worth! [dunno]
by The Plant Doc on March 27, 2004 05:56 AM
Phil or Laura

Not sure which one I am speaking too [Smile]
Personally, like you I would rather not use pesticides in my garden, however I do happen to see the need for them when other methods fail, and will use them myself if I personally feel the need to.
I am a licensed commercial pesticide applicator, so I am pretty well versed in the dangers of miss use of pesticides. This is why I will always recommend that when needed that the user does follow the label directions exactly. This would include any safety recommendations that are given.
As far as pesticides being "poisons" goes, that is with out a doubt true, but no more so then many of your standard household items such as paints, cleaning solutions, adhesives, antifreeze ect... Any of which if miss used can have devastating results.
I would much rather share my experience and let someone know which pesticide to use and how to use it correctly, then to have them try out many different pesticide products, (many of which are gimmicks) and possibly do damage to themselves and their gardens, and never gain control of what they were targeting in the 1st place.
Everyone’s opinion on where they would draw the line in regards to pesticide use will differ.
Some may wish to not use any at all, (More power to them! They have all my respect.) Others will wait until the pest, be it insect, weed, or disease will be in danger of causing harm to their home or garden. Some choose to head things off before they will occur as in this thread, the use of a pre-emergent. Who is to say who is wrong or right? It is a matter of opinion, and all those different opinions are what make the world so wonderfully interesting.

Happy gardening to both of you!

Mike

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Mike Maier
aka
The Plant Doc
by Phil and Laura on March 27, 2004 02:22 PM
Mike, This is Phil that has been posting to this thread. I respect the statement that you made, I too will use something if the situation is not correctable in an earth friendly way. I have gardened for Many years, I have used every chemical out there(except the new ones)They turned my soil and garden into a life-less, dreary place to be.
And your point is well taken concerning "correct use" of said POISON. WAY TOO MANY PEOPLE believe if some is good, alot should be BETTER. It is easy to read into your posting that you are a licensed commercial Applicator, and this is GREAT [thumb]
However, Offering a organic or Bio alternative for folks would be appreciated. So far in your posts you have mentioned NO alternatives. This mind set is the very reason that ,I have been a "LOOSE Cannon" with the UofM's Master Gardener program, I was chastized for promoting "none chemical" solutions, Although they have done a 360, thier posture ,at least here in Minnesota, is to grab the sprayer and KILL EVERYTHING with chemicals.
I will side with you on the use of chemicals IN THE LAWN, and ask you to investigate some of the fine organic and Bio solutions out there. In another thread here you talk of SEVIN,(carbryl) and I think there is nothing better , in the Yard, I suppose you know many use it IN There GARDEN as well, I also assume you know the Facts on Sevin; "Commercial" use of Sevin began years ago, from consumption of store bought produce, every Man, Woman and Child in the U.S. has enough in thier systems that a person from a third world country would be seriously ILL or DEAD at the same PPM level
by afgreyparrot on March 27, 2004 04:36 PM
Well, it's me again!
And, I haven't used the Round-Up yet. I wanted to wait and research a little more, and the more I read, the more I know!!! I think I have too many birds that live in my yard to risk spraying lethal chemicals here. I invited all thoses birds here, so I need to keep it safe for them. I don't use any pesticides at all in my yard, even though I have a terrible Japanese Beetle problem in the summer. Since I don't have a REAL job I have time to take care of those beetles one on one everyday, which is time consuming and, believe me, I'd much rather spend that time doing something besides squeezing Japanese Beetles...but my neighbor has bee hives, so I don't spray any pesticides. (He has no idea that I do this because of his bees, but I think I'll tell him this summer so that he may feel obligated to give me some honey!)

Back to the crab grass problem...
I've been seeing an advertisement for "Scott's Turf Builder with Crabgrass Control" on HGTV for the last few days. I know it is expensive, but if it works I don't care. I'm going to Wal-Mart in a little while and get some of it. It must have corn gluten in it or something similar. I will definitely read the label and find out before I buy it. Everything here in Kentucky is starting to grow FAST, so it shouldn't take much time to see if it's working or not.

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Buckle up! It makes it harder for the aliens to suck you out of your car!

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