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John Fulton

John Fulton
Former County Extension Director

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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis

Broadleaf Weed Control in Lawns

Posted by John Fulton -

Everyone seems to have been waiting for warmer temperatures and the appointed date to begin broadleaf weed control programs. Well that time will come, believe it or not. For most of the broadleaf products to work, the temperature has to be over 55 degrees. These chemicals do work better when it is warmer and the weeds are actively growing. Usual timing is the first week of May in our area, however, some have had dandelions blooming in March. Others are luckier, and haven't seen the first bloom. The first item of business is to know what type of weeds you want to control. This will make a big difference in what product or products you select.

The main products used for broadleaf weed control in lawns are 2,4-D, MCPP, dicamba, a combination of those three products, and triclopyr. Let's start with the triclopyr since it's probably the easiest to discuss. Its place in weed control is for hard to control weeds and woody plants, and it helps with control of violets. It can be added to one, or more, other chemicals to provide broad spectrum control. Some blends now contain trichlopyr, so check the label. There are many trade names for products containing trichlopyr, and they seem to change every year. Just check active ingredients.

2,4-D is the old standby. It is good on carpetweed, chicory, dandelion, lambsquarters, plantains, and wild carrot. There are amine forms and ester forms. The ester will generally give better control of more weeds, is generally not water soluble (except for a hard inch of rain soon after application), but it does have vapor drift potential. MCPP is good on chicory, lambsquarters, and white clover. Dicamba is good on black medic, chickweeds, chicory, dandelion, dock, henbit, knotweed, lambsquarters, pearlwort, purslane, red sorrel, thistles, white clover, wild carrot, and yarrow. The combination of all three products will pick up all of those listed for the individual products, plus a few more such as mallow, speedwell, and wild onion. The combinations are sold under many different trade names so check the active ingredient list for ones you need.

My annual disclaimer for application of these types of products is: "Beware of potential drift from these products." Not only can the spray move under windy conditions while you are spraying, but particularly with dicamba, the products can drift as a vapor for up to two weeks after spraying with hot and humid conditions

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