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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Fall homeowner woes

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"It is all over my yard, killing out my grass. What is it?" or "They are buzzing around like crazy and I don't want anyone to get stung by them. What can I do to get rid of them?"

Those comments and others are some of the things I have heard since joining Purdue Extension in Clay and Owen counties.

By now, you have probably figured out I am referring to two of the hotter topics on homeowners minds this time of year: Lawn weeds and hornets/wasps.

Therefore, I thought for this week's article, I might share a little bit of information regarding these two topics.

Lawn weeds

Now is the time to start thinking about weed control. There are some weeds that don't have to be treated with an herbicide. Instead, they will die out after a couple of hard frosts. These weeds include broadleaf summer annuals and grassy summer annuals, such as crabgrass.

However, the weed that you might care about is Dandelions.

Dandelions are best controlled in early and mid-October through the use of an herbicide.

A possible way to control or rid yourself of pesky Dandelions is to use a product containing 2,4-D. It will help with Dandelions and other broadleaf perennials. Another troublesome weed, Creeping Charlie, can be controlled best by using a product that contains Dicamba.

Here are a few quick notes about using herbicides. The first step in selecting an herbicide is to identify the weed you are going to treat.

That will allow you to make sure you are using the correct herbicide directly on the affected area instead of broadcasting it onto the entire lawn. Similarly, if you treat your lawn repeatedly, try not to spray the herbicide where tree roots might be.

This is because your tree may absorb some of the herbicide and have a negative impact on the tree (especially true with products containing Dicamba).

Finally, it is a good idea not to treat your lawn with the herbicide if it is expected to rain soon.

This would cause the herbicide to not be absorbed by the plant and for you to waste money.


As the leaves fall from the trees, individuals begin to see hornets and wasps nests. Some want to keep the nests but others wish that the nests would go away.

Tim Gibb, a Purdue Extension Entomologist, says that the best way to deal with the nests is to let nature take its course. Therefore, patience is the key to not getting stung by these little critters. If you leave the nest alone until after a couple of good hard freezes, the wasps will naturally leave the nest.

Then, if you want to bring it inside or destroy it, you can safely.

If you are not willing to wait to deal with the nest until after some good hard freezes, then here are some basic precautions you should take when dealing with the nest.

First, it is best to wear protective clothing when dealing with the nest. This would include a long sleeve shirt, pants, gloves and a hat with a veil (if possible).

When applying the insecticide, do that at night.

When you are applying the insecticide, it is best to use a flashlight with red cellophane on it. Additionally, make sure that you have a quick and easy escape route planned if the hornets or wasps decide to attack. It is extremely important to make sure no one who is allergic to hornets or wasps is applying the insecticide and that there is at least one other person there in case of an emergency.

This time of year can be a lot of fun once you decide how you are going to deal with the usual problems that can arrive. In the case of lawn weeds, hornets and wasps, there are ways to deal with the individual cases using chemicals or by allowing nature to handle the problem on its own. No matter which method you decide to do, it is best that you practice basic safety measures. Those safety measures can be as detailed as you like or as simple as notifying a close neighbor to watch out when standing next to your apple tree.

Whichever the case may be, don't forget about making time to attend some of the great opportunities available to you through your local Purdue Extension Office. One opportunity is to have Purdue Extension help identify those pesky weeds growing in your yard.

You can do this by bringing in a photo or sample of the weed to your local offices (photos can also be e-mailed to smith535@purdue.edu).

Other opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

* Sept. 21 -- Annual 4-H Council meeting, Owen County Extension Office, 7:30 p.m.,

* Sept. 22 -- Owen County Extension Board Meeting, Owen County Extension Office, 6 p.m.,

* Oct. 2-4 -- Seventh Popcorn Festival of Clay County, Forest Park,

* Oct. 5 -- Annual Fair Board meeting, Owen County, 7 p.m.,

* Oct. 8 -- Owen County Ag Day with Owen Valley FFA,

* Oct. 17 -- Owen County Extension Board Annual Dinner, Owen County Fairgrounds (call 829-5020 for ticket information), and

* Oct. 19 -- 4-H Ward Program Night, Owen County Fairgrounds, 6:30 p.m.

You may contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 448-9041 in Clay County or 829-5020 in Owen County for more information on upcoming events.