I asked resident and landscape-savvy Dan to give us some advice on getting rid of the pesky weeds that never seem to go away.— Ray
Do you have weeds now? Everyone has weeds! Right!? But what are weeds? Weeds are simply undesirable plants, and they come from all over the world. Common weeds are known to steal nutrients & water from desired plants, spread & outcompete desired plants, become physically dangerous, and/or have poisonous or toxic materials. For instance, a Desert Broom can overtake a Texas Sage and the rest of the other desired plants in the yard, until only Desert Broom is present. Ask any adult who grew up riding bikes in the valley about why preventing Goatheads (dry Puncturevine fruits) is worthwhile.
Here’s a few methods to consider:
Quick & Dirty Method:
- Buy & use a broad-spectrum post-emergent herbicide like RoundUp, generally available at local big box stores like Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, & Ace Hardware.
- Be very careful when using broad-spectrum post-emergent herbicides like RoundUp, as they can easily damage or kill desired plants after contact.
Generally, the best method is to apply or have applied a pre-emergent herbicide to your entire landscape, usually in the end of fall and beginning of spring. Then use or have used post-emergent for the weeds found between pre-emergent applications. This ideally minimizes the weeds while also minimizing the amount of money spent to control weeds.
- Search online for and hire an appropriately-licensed contractor to determine and apply the ideal controls. Licensed contractors with the appropriate spray certifications from the Arizona Department of Agriculture for residential work. Great ways to find such contractors can be through sites like Yelp.com, Nextdoor.com, or Google. Useful search terms to try would include “weed control” &/or “Avondale, AZ”.
- Photograph the weed(s) as best as possible and show them to the representatives at a reputable pesticide store such as Arizona Spray Equipment. Ask what the plant is and what product and method should be used to control it. Like Sissoo trees, some weeds are particularly tough and may require reapplication over a series of cycles to effectively kill them.
- Most importantly, no matter what product you are using, it is very important to read and follow the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). This tells you how to use the product safely and how to mix if it is a concentrate. If the mix ratio is not followed, the product may not work as desired.
Useful points to consider when selecting an herbicide to control weeds:
- Be sure you know what you are treating for. There are two types of weeds, grass/palm (monocots) & broadleaf (dicots). Photos of the weeds can be taken to a pesticide store to identify the type of weed.
- Herbicide products are made to either target all plants (broad-spectrum) or to target monocots or dicots specifically. Monocot or dicot targeted sprays are helpful if broadleaf weeds are growing in the grass or palm trees are growing through shrubs.
- They are either made to kill existing plants (post-emergent) or stop seeds from becoming plants (pre-emergent).
- They may be effective when applied onto to the plant (contact herbicide) or after having been absorbed thru the roots of the plant (systemic herbicide).
- Air and soil temperatures often improve or reduce the results. Some herbicides are specifically designed for summer or winter temperatures.
- Herbicides should be applied carefully so as to not accidentally affect desired plants.
Recommended sources for further reading can be found online at: