Do I really want to use 2, 4-D?

cyclewest(5A)June 13, 2007

I'm trying to recapture my lawn. It seems like crabgrass has taken a hold that I'm trying to get rid of. Also, there always seems to be dandelions and a couple other broadleaf weeds that keep popping up. Of course, right next to a new strawberry patch a bindweed population is getting too comfortable in the lawn. I've been mowing all this season at the highest setting, not bagging the clippings, watering only twice a week (three cycles of about five minutes per station - I probably need to measure how much water is being applied), started applying UCG (at least in limited areas in the front lawn) and about a week ago finally applied some SBM. I've been buying a new "weed" product about every other week only to read the labels and decide to return it. After last night's reading of the High Yield 2, 4-D, I'm about to make another return trip. When it referenced the sensitive plants, like young fruit trees (I just planted five and have four others that aren't yet bearing fruit) and tomatoes (mine actually appear to be doing well this year) severe irreversible eye damage (not that I plan on spraying it into my eyes, but...) and keeping off of it until it dries, and people out of the area for at least 48 hours.... did I read too much information? The IFA person where I bought it said to apply it with a hose-end sprayer at 1TBSP/gallon for this time of year, which seemed like a good idea when considering the area I wanted to apply it to, but how do you control overspray/drift? And finally, with the temperature pushing 90 degrees, that may be the final straw, as it warned against it. Any other options out there? If I just hurry and do it, will I just regret it?

I missed my pre-emergent opportunity in the early spring. Is late summer my next opportunity to control crabgrass for next year? Has anyone heard of or tried the baking soda solution for crabgrass?

I guess I could just stop reading chemical labels at night, get the kids to bed earlier, and take a lantern outside to weed (all but crabgrass) while my wife practices the piano... I have noticed a dramatic reduction in dandelion from my efforts earlier this year, but that bindweed always comes back with a vengeance!

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I think you're past the temperature window when it's safe to use it at all, because when it gets close to 90, it can kill the grass as well as the weeds. I use it rarely. Usually only if I used my weed hound when the soil was too dry, so ended up with dandelions growing out of a small hole that the weed hound can't get them out of.

What I do is get the spray nozzle a few inches from each individual weed and spray. Any farther and you get drift, leading to damaged or dying trees, shrubs, vegetables and so forth. It's almost too much trouble to use, I think.

Sounds like the IFA guy has a different approach--using it in a sprayer and doing the entire lawn. Unless you've got mostly weeds, that's overkill. If you sprayed on a day with absolutely no wind and were very careful, you might avoid damaging other plants, but odds are, if you spray that much, some will go where you don't want it.

As for the bindweed. Your best bet with that is to pull it as soon as you see it, so that it doesn't get a chance to feed its roots. If you do that enough, you can keep it at bay.

From what I understand, the best time to kill bindweed is during the fall, after a light frost. That's when it really starts to stockpile food in its roots, so any poisons go deep into the root system.

I'm posting a link to a thread with a discussion of using a dilute solution of glysophate in jars to slowly kill the bindweed. The reasoning is that if you kill it quickly, it kills the leaves, but the roots live. If you kill it slowly, it absorbs the glysophate and takes it deep into the roots.

There's also a mite that attacks bindweed. My understanding is that it takes several years for it to kill the weeds, but it only kills bindweed. I don't think they're readily available in Utah, but somebody on the forum was going to bring some in and give infected plants away once he had some. If you search the forum for bindweed mite, you can probably find the details.

Here is a link that might be useful: Long thread on weed forum

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 10:18PM
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Yeah, I guess I didn't need much convincing not to use it, especially with the wind around here that doesn't seem to ever stop, at least when you want it to!

So for the glysophate jars, best use is after a light frost, but probably the sooner the better, since it seems like it takes a while. I've been trying to be much better about not letting things go to seed, and I think that has helped. Also, the front yard that I weeded and mulched only appears to have one or two sprouts of bindweed, which are very dark, almost reddish. The huge problem in the backyard is some green trailing growth, I don't know the name of the plant, that trails down some rock around a basement door. The bindweed is almost the same shade of green, but I've finally learned to distinguish between the more woody plant and the thinner bindweed. A week or so ago I aggressively pulled everything out, looking over the area very closely. Last night before reading up on the 2, 4-D, I probably filled a five gallon bucket full of new bindweed vines that had come out. This is definitely a target for the glysophate jars. Wouldn't it be great if it is all one plant? I can dream, right?

I can probably just keep pulling the other weeds, but the crabgrass, I'll probably experiment with a couple of the methods mentioned in the lawn forum. Baking soda and water or vinegar? I guess not the two together, right? Is there any other problem with using baking soda? Did you ever figure out what a "church sock" is?



    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 1:25AM
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I think the frost thing is for "traditional" treating of bindweed. I got the impression that the jar approach works pretty much any time.

Vinegar will kill anything, sort of like glysophate. I don't know much about using baking soda on crabgrass. Actually, I've had very few problems with crabgrass. I water very infrequently, so I don't think it gets a chance to germinate. One thing to note is that if you decide to try 2,4 d, it won't help with the crabgrass.

How high is your mower deck set? Seeds need water and sunlight to germinate, so if you have a full lawn and keep it mowed high and water infrequently, the weeds don't have a chance to get started.

Oh, and consider getting a weed hound. They cost about $20 and are great for taprooted plants. Just make sure the soil is damp when you use it, because if the soil is dry, the taproot will break off and the weed will grow back.

The church sock--hah! I honestly never heard that term before. Somebody posted the meaning, which I read and promptly forgot. Some kind of really thin sock, slightly heavier than pantyhose, I guess.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 2:08AM
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A couple comments.

 The bindweed mites do not like moisture and are best suited for a dry patch. Not the lawn.

 "Burnout" is a vinegar product that kills everything like Roundup but is not persistent in the soil. It would have to be carefully applied. Fairly expensive. I got some at Glovers.

I am hopeful that following BPÂs recommendation on lawn maintenance, watering, good organic amendments, etc, my grass can keep on top of the bindweed. It seems to be working so far. As a footnote, I just got my water bill and I have used just slightly more than ½ of what I used last year and my lawn looks much better.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2007 at 7:01PM
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