Can I kill crabgrass in my flower garden?

kimberlysc(z7 SC)July 31, 2008

Hello everyone,

About a month ago I planted a sunflower garden along with many other types of flower seeds. I went crazy planting. I spaced each row about 12-14 apart and crabgrass has taken over like crazy. Is there any possible way that I can directly spray roundup on the crabgrass without killing my flowers? Trying to pull out the crabgrass will take forever.

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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

You might try rolling it on with a small trim-type paint roller. Saves also having to wait for a calm day.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 3:31PM
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You will just have to apply and re-apply every couple of weeks when the newest batch of weed seeds sprout. Usually crab grass sprawls around when actually it is one plant so your situation may not be as bad as you think. There is no clear cut easy way around weeding.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 3:59PM
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Tammy Kennedy

I think i'd cover it up with a heavy application of newspaper to smother the crabgrass, and mulch on top of that. Some may creep through, but it should kill a good bit of it. An alternative is if you have old lumber lying around that you can lay flat and kill the stuff that way.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 4:50PM
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The worst thing about crabgrass is that it can grow underneath your plants and create air pockets. I had some plants dying and couldn't figure it out...then, I found bits of crabgrass here and there and up came the entire perennials when I pulled the strands of crabgrass. It appears that the crabgrass came in with a few shrubs that we planted as there's no other crabgrass near the area.

My husband and I decided to dig up that area (not large) this fall and solarize it (with clear plastic) before replanting.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 8:56PM
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I second the newspaper and mulch idea. I would be leery about using a grass killer near or around growing established plants. If you do, I would expect some loss.

Maybe next year you can place some fabric over the whole area, smother everything, till it and start over? Tho you might miss some seeds and still end up having a little bit to hand pull.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 9:08PM
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I would also try the newspaper and mulch approach. If you can't do that, I have a tool called a ho-mi that has saved my back (and knees). It's a Korean hoe with a curved pointed blade and it's wonderful for weeding. I had a huge mess of weeds in a small bed next to the driveway and the ho-mi made short work of them. It comes in a long and short handled version. I have the long handled one. I got mine from cook's garden on the web.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ho-mi

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 7:48AM
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Tammy Kennedy

catc- i LOVE my ho-mi!! I think it's my favorite hand tool. My only issue is the handle is wood and so i lose it regularly. I need to paint it bright red or something. A good tip is if you have a dremel or grinder when you get a new one, grind the edges sharp- it will work slicker than a hot knife through butter. I may have to look for the long handled version now...

    Bookmark   August 1, 2008 at 12:52PM
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Tammy - you may have been the one that pointed me to the ho-mi. I read about it a while back on a thread here about favorite garden tools and decided that I had to have one. It was one of my birthday presents this year. That link I posted is to the long handled one. Cook's garden has it at a better price than I've seen elsewhere. I'll see if I can get my SO to sharpen it - that would help, I'm sure.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 9:05AM
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Tammy Kennedy

I may have been- any time there's a thread that asks about people favorite tools i do post. I've had the same one for at least 10 years now and it takes lots of abuse. Sharpening them really does help if you're using it to weed. I mostly use mine to plant, and it's not as important for that. They will slowly dull back down, so you may need to resharpen periodically.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 9:38PM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

Its much easier just pulling them out rather than risk killing your plants. Just do it a day after it rains. They are easy to spot as seedlings and much easier to pull out then as well. Good luck! Its good exercise as well

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 9:57PM
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I'm going to have to pick up one of those ho-mi's. That looks like a great tool. I've never, ever been successful in keeping grass and weeds out of my gardens. This counts for my house in a subdivision as well where I dug down about 6 to 8 inches and replaced the soil. I just plan on having a weeding day, usually when I cut grass, to pull out the weeds. I take my tools and wheelbarrow around to put them in as I go and then dump when I'm done in the woods or other designated area I have for weeds, small limbs, dead annuals, and other such compost type material. One thing I've noticed, if the bed is mulched well, they are much easier to pull. Good luck!! Crabgrass can be a pain to get out!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 7:52PM
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I stumbled across this remedy: Corn Gluten Meal. It is a pre-emergent, killing off seeds, but can be used around established plants and transplants per the information. I may give this a try.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 10:18AM
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Cameron, were do you get it? I'd like to try it too, well, after you tell us if it works...LOL.

Hey Tammy,,,you've sold me on that tool too. I told SO I wanted one a while back, he said it wasn't any count, now I have proof it is...YOU!!!

I also told him he needed to sharpen our reg. hoe, he said you don't have to sharpen a hoe, that just makes the metal thinner, and you also proved that point too! HAHA, thanks...I can show him your comments and make him sharpen my shovel tip and hoe like I wanted him to do in the first

Thanks ya'll,

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 12:45PM
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I should do an ad for a produce called PREEN. Sold at all box stores. It will NOT KILL what is there BUT it WILL keep more from germinating. Please try it. I have used it for years. Must put down in early Spring and again mid summer and early fall for the first year. Once you have used it several times you only need to apply it one or two times a year. Always early Spring. Great stuff. It works the same as corn guten meal and a lot easier to find. Doesn't affect all weeds but 95% of them. After several applications you really notice the difference in weeds. Made for flowerbeds and doesn't hurt the plants.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 4:54PM
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I meant to attach the link to the info on corn gluten meal, but I was in a hurry this morning (MIL's 89th bday in Raleigh).

Here's the information with a list of brand names for corn gluten meal. I've not yet tracked any of this down. My husband is game to try it on our Chapel Hill grit pathway that sprouts spurge seeds all the time!

It has too much nitrogen to use around some plants, so read the instructions if you go this route.

Here is a link that might be useful: corn gluten meal info

    Bookmark   August 5, 2008 at 6:30PM
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ncgardner, I like preen, but it cost so much...I guess corn gluten meal does too now...since the corn crops got water logged...
I may just end up getting a BIG bucket of preen and just use that until it is all gone...I don't know...

I would really just like something to kill the bermuda grass growing in my beds, right now that is more important then the weeds, I can pull those for now since they are not so many...I looked for Grass-B-Gone at Lowe's the other day BTW, they did NOT have it...they had Weed-B-Gone but not the stuff for grass....I was bummed...

:) Fran

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 12:23AM
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I have a friend who has used the corn gluten for a few years. It is hard to find, slow, and expensive, but she feels it is kinder to the environment. So far, her experiences have not made me a convert. I do like Grass Be Gone for small problems...have used a pre-emergent called Snapshot in my shady areas with great success. However, it is not sold many places and is very expensive, so I reserve it for special areas. What I need advice on is something I can used near (not in) the lake as a pre-emergent or grass killer for the stilt grass. I know of several aquatic chemicals, but they kill everything, and I have cardinal flowers, NY iron weed, rhexia, many ferns, etc., by the lake that I don't want to kill. Anyone know of a product to help control grasses near water? Don't want to kill the fish nor my good plants!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 8:13AM
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ncgardner: if you use Preen will it also stop bermuda grass from developing new root sysytem or do you know?

Anybody else had this experince with Preen trails?

I HATE using chemicals in gerenal but I have been pulling this stuff A LOT at least 2x a week sometimes more and it is not helping....I go down as far as I can, I just can not get the whole root system this way, I can't dig down to where they all are either, the roots system is too great: EVERYWHERE...


    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 9:18AM
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The PREEN will help with the grass but to be honest it doesn't stop it. Over the years I find less and less of the grass. Again you must spread it early Spring before the growing season. I usually spread it in late Feb or early March. You can put down a dose of it now and again in Fall to get a head start. Sam's and Costco usually has it a little cheaper. Worth every penny and so much easier to find and cheaper than the corn product.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2008 at 12:03PM
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Tammy Kennedy

Good luck with sharpening your hoe, fran. I have to say, i think the metal for the ho-mi's is a bit thicker than the thin stuff they use for cheap hoes, so it probably holds up to sharpening better. A more expensive, thicker & more durable hoe would probably take sharpening well. If you have the cheap kind, you can always try it- i mean, they are only like 5 bucks to replace anyhow, right?

I thought preen did have CMG in it. I've not used it because i don't like the chems. I have some CMG and have used it but may not have been using it at the proper times because i've been underwhelmed with the results. I do know that gardens alive sells products with it in it. I got mine locally at a feed store in north raleigh a number of years ago. (BIG bag). My original thought was to use it in back to beat back the advance of stilt grass but i never have gotten it spread early enough to do any good for that.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 10:05AM
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