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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Gardening issues: Weeds

Thursday, June 9, 2011

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Two weeks ago, we started talking about some of the gardening issues you might be faced with this year.

We covered some of the issues associated with watering too much and about nutrient requirements for vegetable plants.

This week, I want to continue the discussion about gardening issues and focus on weeds.

Weeds are pesky problems that gardeners have to deal with on an annual basis.

Weeds are often easier to deal with though than the moving pest of animals and insects.

Weeds can be classified as summer annuals, winter annuals, or herbaceous perennials.

Summer annuals are the most common type found in the garden.

However, herbaceous perennials are the more difficult type to control.

They are especially difficult to control since they over winter underground and can be distributed throughout your garden when you are preparing it for planting in the spring using a rototiller.

There are a number of ways you can control weeds.

The first one that comes to everyone's mind is through hand-pulling.

Hand-pulling is labor intensive but can provide a great workout.

It is often only done in small gardens or those that possess few weeds.

An alternative to hand-pulling would be hoeing.

Ideally, when hoeing, you should use a sharp hoe and cut off the weeds just below the soil surface.

Do not cut too deeply as most vegetable roots are near the soil surface and you can damage them easily.

If you would like to stop weeds before they appear, you can use mulch to help suppress their growth.

You can use both organic and inorganic mulches.

They do help with controlling both annual and perennial weeds by preventing sunlight from reaching the soil surface and thus preventing germination.

Please realize that if you would use organic mulch such as straw, grass clippings, or hay, you do have the potential for contaminating your garden with weed seed that might be in the mulch.

An example of an inorganic mulch would be black plastic.

For most gardeners, a combination of hand-pulling, hoeing and mulching will adequately control weeds during the growing season.

Thus, the need for herbicides in a home garden is low.

If you would decide to use an herbicide, please realize that you must read and follow all label instructions and you should especially be aware of the harvest restrictions associated with your herbicide.

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:

* June 11 -- Dobbs Park Fishing Day. A wide variety of activities for youth, go to http://www.terrehaute.in.gov/departments...,

* June 16 -- Owen County Conservationist Class, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Owen County Public Library,

* June 28 -- Clay County Extension Homemaker's Achievement Program, and

* June 29 -- Owen County Extension Homemaker's Achievement Program.