Round up tank sprayer?

Celac(Zn6 KY)April 15, 2004

Hi Everyone, I have a small area I have decided to turn in to a wildflower meadow. In the past this area was part of the yard but then I converted it to a vegetable garden. The plants were very healthy. Neverthless I was forced to relocate the garden as this site was very rocky and I just got tired of fighting the rocks. Every time I had to hoe the area it sounded like; CHING, CHANG, CHONG, well you get the idea. I live in southwestern Kentucky. The area is 100X45 feet. It is on a south faceing slope. The area is in full sun except for a small portion that gets some shade but only for a few hours a day. I have decided to roundup the area several times this summer in preparation for the flowers and grasses. I have a few questions. Can I use a had pump sprayer to cover this large an area or would I be better off getting one of those I can pull behind my lawn mower? I can get my mower in there pretty easy as the rocks arent that big just a lot of them. If a pull behind sprayer is needed can you reccomend a good one for the job? And lastly How Much money is the round up gonna cost me for the whole job? Thanks so much.

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John_Blakeman(z5/6 OH)

Spray with a cheap 3-gallon hand sprayer.

There is no need to spray with Roundup(r). What you want is any herbicide with "glyphosate." Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup(r) and it's no longer protected by patent. Any company can make the stuff, and many do -- at prices much cheaper than Roundup(r).

But the problem is getting the glyphosate into the plant. That takes a surfactant, some soap-like chemical that gets the glyphosate across the waxy surface of the plant.

Go to a farm supply store where there are usually several kinds of glphosate herbicide for sale (including classic Roundup(r). Buy the cheap stuff (make sure the active ingredient is only glyphosate -- no 2,4-d or other herbicides). Then, when you mix the stuff with water for your sprayer, include a good squirt of Dawn dishwashing detergent. That is a really good surfactant. And you also can ad a single scoop/gallon of regular Miracle Grow fertilizer. This causes the plant to suck up the glyphosate.

Remember, glyphosate works only on growing, green plants, so don't spray until your area has a bunch of weeds starting to grow. Then wait until the second round a month later and spray again.

If you can, it's helpful to till or roto-till the top 2-inches two or three times during the growing season. This will expose more weed seeds to light and cause them to germinate, where upon you will zap them with another mist of the glyphosate/Dawn/Miracle Grow mixture.

After a season of this, you will have a site with very few weeds, ready for a Nov or Dec frost seeding.

But as I've stated on this board many times, don't plant just "wildflowers' (properly called "forbs"). You'd better include some grasses, or the weeds will eventually come right back and you'll have in three or four years a weed patch again. Forbs require grasses to hold them up and keep out things like Canada thistle and host of other badies that easily grow between individual flower plants. No meadow is only forbs. That's a garden. Meadows have mostly grasses, and you need to add them.

I prefer the planting of little bluestem as the grass. It has many advantages for what you envision (but too detailed to go into here).

    Bookmark   April 16, 2004 at 9:47AM
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Celac(Zn6 KY)

John, Thanks for the reply. Do I still mix the glyphosate as directed on the bottle if I add in the Dawn and the Miracle Gro or should I cut it some? The reason I am asking is I have very little experience with weed killers but I have heard that to much of this type weed killer will burn the leaves but leave the roots intact. I like the LBS also. Should I go with any other grasses or can the LBS get the job done by itself? Your help is greatly. appreciated

    Bookmark   April 16, 2004 at 10:01PM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

LBS can do the job all by itself! It's nice to have others, though, depending on the height/spread that you're looking for. June grass, Indian grass, switch grass, various sedges, etc.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2004 at 1:59AM
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John_Blakeman(z5/6 OH)

I commonly use a 0.5% glyphosate solution (with the Dawn and Miracle Grow), instead of the often-specified 1.5% concentration. You can at least try cutting the high label concentration by one half.

About using "too much" glyphosate herbicide, causing the plants to only topkill, leaving the roots to sprout back. This can be a problem with forms of glyphosate herbicides that include 2,4-d and other quick-acting additional herbicides. I refuse to purchase or use any of these. They are advertised as fast-acting, often showing a weed that quickly curls over.

This is baloney. The "problem" with glyphosate herbicides is that they can take up to two weeks to kill certain plants. Too many people want instant results, and when they go out into the garden and see weeds still thriving three days after an herbicide spray, they ignorantly think the spray didn't work. To get around this typical impatience, some herbicide manufacturers mix in some 2,4-d herbicide. This stuff does indeed curl over a weed in a day or so. With this useless additive, consumers are fooled into thinking the addulterated glyphosate is acting with great quickness.

But what's really happening is that the 2,4-d is killing the vascular tissues in the above-ground parts of the plants. The plant does look like it's dying, but in fact, the quickly-dead above ground tissues are no longer able to translocate the real killer, the glyphosate, down into the roots where real weed death must occur. If you use too much of one of these products, too much 2,4-d indeed kills the upper parts of the plant and the roots are spared.

Simply, don't buy or use any of these fast-acting glyphosate products. They are intended only for herbicide-ignorant consumers who always think faster is better. It's not. Slower is better, allowing more root-killing glyphosate to diffuse downward.

Buy the cheap, slow-acting glyphosate products. Much better in the long run.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2004 at 3:00PM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

It does seem to take a while for glyphosphate to work, that's for sure. No instant gratification. I sprayed some grass I wanted to get rid of with it....and 2 weeks later, the grass was finally kaput!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2004 at 5:47PM
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