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Let’s Talk Weeds

July 30, 2018

If you have a yard in Nevada, you have weeds. No? Well, if not today, rest assured you’ll have them tomorrow because weeds happen. Even when the rest of our plants are struggling to thrive, the weeds seem to do just fine.

Keeping your landscaping weed-free requires a concerted effort. Regular efforts, timed well, will help ensure less common mallow in your grass and spotted surge in your rose beds. Prepare yourself, however, as weeding is a serious commitment. We’ve spelled out the three key techniques to a managing those pesky weeds.

1. One-by-one

a) Pull ‘em out

Pulling weeds is a tried and true way to get them out of your yard and landscaping, but to be effective, you gotta go deep. Get as much of the root system as possible to ensure they don’t return to quickly.

DG Alert! Pulling out weeds may not be the best method if you have decomposed granite (DG) in your landscaping. Pulling weeds that are nested in DG brings fresh dirt to the surface, making it easier for future weeds to take hold. To best manage DG weeds, take preventative measures. First, you’ll want at least 6 inches between the dirt and the air (that’s a lot of DG, so consider layering in gravel) starving the weed seeds of air and water. If you don’t lay the rock yourself, put use a pre-emergent (see section 2).

b) Mow ‘em down

Mowing is another removal method, but only works well if the weeds have not matured and set their seeds. If they have matured, mowing will spread those seeds all around your landscape. Things will look tidy for a week or so and then the weeds will come back with a vengeance.  (Which is extremely counter-productive, BTW.)

c) Burn ‘em up

torching weed

While burning weeds can be an effective method of weed control, our dry Nevada conditions mean burning weeds is a risky endeavor. Flaming is most effective on weeds that are less than two inches tall and should be done with a propane torch and a fan tip. If you choose this technique, make sure it is open burning season in your county (typically spring and fall), winds are low, there are no burn restrictions in place and you have fire suppression tools at the ready. Certain communities may also require burn permits, so be sure to check before you light up.

2. Attack before they appear

Pre-emergents are chemicals that stop weeds before they “emerge.” They work by inhibiting the germination of weed seeds, so to be most effective, you need to apply them very early in the season. The chemical barrier they form breaks down in six to eight weeks, so a second application may be needed during the growing season. While safe for some desirable plants – which are typically indicated on the label – pre-emergents can harm some ornamental plants and turf grasses.

If you’re concerned about the health of little humans and furry friends who play in the affected area, look for organic and pet-friendly versions of this product, like Espoma CGP6 Organic Weed Preventer Plus Plant Food, EcoSMART Organic Weed and Grass Killer and WeedKleen Weed Killer Made with Organic Ingredients.

3. When you’ve got them in your sights

Post-emergents, as the name implies, are herbicides designed to attack weeds that have already “emerged” and are growing. Post-emergents are applied later in the growing season, after weeds are established but before they have gone to seed.

And if you want to save some money and make your own weed killer, check out these DIY options.

Most often, a combination of efforts is most successful for maintaining a weed-free yard – i.e. pre-emergents in the spring, some hand weeding during the season. Just remember to bend at the knees when doing yard work, your back will thank you.

If you would rather weed your own yard versus a landlord’s – talk to an expert on our homebuying team. Our HIP-qualified lenders and real estate pros can get you started on finding a home that suits you and your backyard plans.

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