lawn weeds - Knowledgebase Question

Poughkeepsie, Ne
Question by adjuster9
May 21, 2010
I have grassy weeds in my lawn that survive the application of weed killers. I've been told the problem I have is duck grass, quack grass and goose grass. I don't care what it's called I just want to get rid of it! I also have an ivy that is spreading through my lawn. Weed killing fertilizer and Weed-be Gone didn't help there either. What should I do?


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Answer from NGA
May 21, 2010

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Quackgrass is more complicated to control than other weeds. Many weeds can be controlled with "selective" herbicides - ones that kill specific plants and leave all others unaffected. Unfortunately, there is no selective herbicide available to control quackgrass in lawns. To control quackgrass chemically, a "non-selective herbicide" is required. A non-selective herbicide will kill all growth it contacts.
You will need to wait 7 days before reseeding the areas.

Quackgrass, like crabgrass, leaves thousands of seeds in the lawn and they will be ready to sprout next spring. Pre-emergence herbicides, such as crabgrass preventers, will inhibit germination of quackgrass seed. Such seeds germinate as the soil temperature reaches around 55-60 degrees in spring, so timely application is important.

Killing the ivy (which I suspect is creeping charlie) is also a long term project. Round Up or other non-selective herbicide will take care of it, or you can try eradicating the plant by mixing 10 ounces 20-Mule Team Borax in 2-1/2 gallons of water and applying the mixture to the weeds. The boron doesn't affect turfgrass, but overwhelms the roots of creeping Charlie. Cool weather reduces its effectiveness so apply when the weather is warm. The University of Minnesota and Iowa State University have tested this recipe and report good results. Hope it works for you, too.

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