Killing weeds in the landscape garden

A weed is defined as a plant that is in the wrong place. Pulling weeds in the garden can be a wonderful Zen-like experience but sometimes the job transcends meditation and it becomes time to spray.

Kill Virginia creeper with Roundup

If one is careful, weeds may be removed from the garden by spraying

I am often asked if spraying weeds in the garden will kill the desirable plants.  My answer is, “Not if you are careful.”  Here are some tips and techniques:

Equipment: I like to use a one gallon pump sprayer.  There are a lot of different pump sprayers on the market but this is the easiest one for me to handle.  Always make sure that the sprayer has an adjustable nozzle.

one gallon pump sprayer

I find the one gallon pump sprayer the easiest to use overall.

For smaller applications a hand-held trigger sprayer may be used. Trigger sprayers are available at a hardware store and they are cheap.

Using a trigger sprayer with Image to kill nut grass.

Using a trigger sprayer with Image to kill nut grass.

The number one chemical for spraying weeds is Roundup.  This chemical is available in a number of concentrations but for the best buy, look at the label and find the product that contains 43% glyphosphate.  Since the patent for the chemical has become public domain, there are a lot of different names to purchase this chemical under.  Ask a nurseryman.

label for glyphosphate--a widely used weed killer

label for glyphosphate–a widely used weed killer

Read the label and observe the precautions. Mix the chemical as directed.

If you plan to spray large areas, you will want to set the nozzle on the pump sprayer to an open spray pattern.  The adjustment is found by tightening and loosening the brass (sometimes plastic) nozzle at the end of the spray wand.  For close work in the garden, I like to set the spray pattern to a jet stream like one would get with a child’s water pistol.

When killing weeds, the sprayer nozzle may be adjusted to different patterns.

When killing weeds, the sprayer nozzle may be adjusted to different patterns.

With the nozzle set properly I can walk around the garden and spray the undesirable vegetation without harming my pretty flowers and shrubs.  Sometimes, if things are really close, I will place a piece of cardboard between the weeds and the good stuff.

By being careful, one may  kill the weeds without hurting the flowers.

By being careful, one may kill the weeds without hurting the flowers.

When dealing with weeds that grow as vines, I have found that pulling them is counter-productive.  What shows up as a green vine on top of the ground is usually also a brown vine beneath the ground. If you pull off the top, the underground part will branch out and send up even more shoots than you have pulled.  It is much better to spray the vine.

If the vine is growing in desirable vegetation, I like to unwind some of the tips and lay them out on the ground or where I won’t get the chemical on the desirable plants. Then I spray the tips and green growth.

Lay a vine out from desirable material and spray the foliage.

Lay a vine out from desirable material and spray the foliage.

Nut grass can be a problem in the garden because the more you pull the more you get.

Nut grass is hard to eradicate.  The more you pull the more you get.

Nut grass is hard to eradicate. The more you pull the more you get.

Roundup won’t touch nut grass but another chemical will. Image, if used properly, will kill the nut grass in your lawn without harming the grass.

Image--A specific chemical for getting rid of nut grass


Image–A specific chemical for getting rid of nut grass

Always remember to be careful when using these chemicals. Read the label and follow instructions. Clean up and store chemicals properly.

Thanks for visiting John the Plant Man

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Robert
    Jun 23, 2013 @ 21:28:45

    John you have done it again. You have helped people who no longer do the stooping and hoeing they once did. Thanks, Bob

    Sent from my iPad

    Reply

  2. gsk@kinseylutherie.com
    Jun 24, 2013 @ 06:11:48

    Thanks, John.. cleared up some foggy points for me.Best, Scott

    Reply

  3. Trackback: These Garden Weeds Should be Sprayed–Not Pulled—Here’s Why… | Johntheplantman's stories, musings, and gardening.

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