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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Hints on identifying weeds

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Recently, those participating in the Purdue Master Gardener course offered in Owen County had the chance to learn about weed control in turf.

Throughout the course, they have learned some of the basics on how to identify the three main types of weeds we see in Indiana. Those types are grasses, broadleaf weeds and sedges.

Grasses typically have one leaf that emerges from the ground as it begins to grow. The veins on all leaf blades are parallel. Grasses generally have fibrous root systems. Some of the typical grasses that homeowners consider weeds throughout Indiana are crabgrass and quackgrass.

Broadleaf weeds are one of the more common weeds homeowners think about. When broadleaf weeds emerge from the soil, there are two leaves present.

When looking at the leaves of a broadleaf weed, the veins will appear to have a net appearance. Digging out broadleaf weeds can be difficult since they have a large taproot that grows below the ground. Often, if the taproot is not completely removed, the plant will grow back. Some of the typical broadleaf weeds that homeowners deal with are chickweed, knotweed, dandelions and creeping Charlie (also called ground ivy).

Sedges are very similar to grasses. However, when looking at the stem of a sedge, the stem will appear to be triangular in shape. Leaves will appear in groups of three around the stem. Often, you will find sedges growing in wet and lowline areas. The most common sedge found in Indiana is yellow nutsedge.

One of the best ways to control all weeds is through preventative measures. One preventative measure is to maintain a healthy lawn. You can do this by keeping your soil fertility up, reseeding your lawn when necessary, prevent thatch, aerating your lawn and hand pulling or digging any weeds that appear.

Additionally, it is important to properly mow your lawn to a 3-inch height. It is important to realize that preventing weeds from seeding is important since one dandelion plant can produce 15,000 seeds in one year and each seed is capable of living for up to six years.

If you are unable to control your weeds through preventative measures and would decide to use an herbicide, then please identify the weed you would like to control before purchasing the herbicide. Many herbicides are specific to the type of plant you are dealing with. If you need help identifying your weed, please contact your local Purdue Extension Office. As with any herbicide use, always read and follow the label exactly as it states on the product.

As always, if you have any questions or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture, or natural resource topic, then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay County or 812-829-5020 in Owen County or reach me directly at smith535@purdue.edu.

Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

* April 2 -- Clay County 4-H Council Fish Fry, 4-8 p.m., Clay County Fairgrounds, and

* April 5 -- Purdue Master Gardener Course, 6-9 p.m., Owen County Extension Office.