The Q&A Archives: dollar weed and moles

Question: Dollar weed is taking over our lawn, as are the moles. How do we get rid of both. Please help.

Answer: Dollarweed, also called Pennywort, is a small broadleaf plant. The best way to get rid of it is to hand pull it, roots and all. The problem is that it grows in large patches and it replaces itself quickly so that few find pulling it up a reasonable solution. There are, however, a plethora of avenues of attack to try. Try weed-killing chemicals. There are chemicals available including WipeOut by GreenLight which will kill the weeds but not their seeds so multiple applications will be needed. A product called Image is also an option. It?s especially good for use with St. Augustine grass. Or you can choose a natural weed killing herbicide whose main ingredient is 10 percent vinegar. You have to use 10 percent vinegar only--regular vinegar is of no use--check with your local nursery or gardening department. The formula for this is as follows: 1 gallon of 10 percent vinegar, 1 oz. orange oil, 1 tbsp. molasses (the ordinary kitchen type), 1 tsp. liquid soap. Shake well and use full strength on warm to hot days for best results. Don?t spray on plants you want to keep alive as it will harm any plant it touches.

Moles and gophers can be exasperating when they take up residence in a yard. The critters tunnel through the soil feeding on grubs, worms and beetles. Sometimes they chew through plant roots and bulbs, causing damage to the plants. The best way to control these pests is by trapping. Invest in one or two scissors-type traps and set them in the active runs. The best approach is to use a stiff metal probe (like a straightened wire coathanger) to find the main runs. Start at a mound of soil and explore the ground with the probe, finding the longest tunnel. You'll be able to tell by whether or not the probe penetrates into the soil easily. Short tunnels are used infrequently, so your best chance of trapping will be by placing a trap in a frequently used main run. Once you've found a likely tunnel, set the trap and cover it with a section of turf or a board to exclude daylight. Keep setting the trap until you stop catching moles and gophers. It may take an entire season, but persistence pays off and eventually you'll reduce the population of the creatures. Healthy soil naturally has a large population of insects. As long as the insects inhabit the soil, moles and gophers will be attracted. Wish there were an easier way to eliminate moles and gophers from the landscape

Best wishes with your projects

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