Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Waging War on Weeds

Some of my rose beds are being overrun by weeds.  Battling these weeds feels like a full-time job right now.  It's warm and sunny most of the time, and we have had ample rain ... creating conditions where the weeds can thrive.  I'm not sure I've ever seen so many types of weeds before.

I spent 5 minutes outside with my camera, waiting for the schoolbus this afternoon, and I found:

Crab Grass,

Bermuda Grass,

Poke Weed,

Ground Ivy,

Creeping Woodsorrel,


White Clover,

Morning Glory,

Purple Deadnettle,

some weed I haven't identified yet, and lots more. 

I won't even begin to list the weeds that grow in the Rose Field.  It's been too hot here for the past week to get out and do any consistent work outside.  Add to this, we've had really good rain for the past few weeks, and we have a formula for explosive weed growth.

Here is one of my secret weapons:

Ornamec is a selective herbicide that only kills grassy weeds, and it doesn't harm broadleaf plants (like roses).  I can use it in my rose beds to kill Bermuda and Crab Grass, which are so incredibly hard to get rid of any other way.  (The same chemical is available ready to use as Ortho's Grass-B-Gone.) 

If you want to give Ornamec a try, be sure to read the label to make sure that it is safe around the plants near your grassy weeds.  Roses are one of the plants specifically mentioned in the instructions as safe. 

For broadleaf weeds in large areas (away from the roses!) I use glyphosate (expensive brand name:  Round-up). 

Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide, which means that it kills any green plant it touches, so extreme caution must be used when applying it.  I never spray glyphosate if there is any breeze, because I won't risk having it drift onto my roses.  As you can see, I bought the super economy size bottle of concentrate this last time.  I have garden areas to clear, and Glyphosate is the best way for me to kill off vegetation in an area that I'm preparing for roses.  (My gardens are WAY too big to even consider digging the grass and weeds out by hand.)

Some of the newly planted roses are barely able to keep their little heads above the faster-growing weeds that are trying to suffocate them.  I have to carefully pull all of these weeds by hand.  Moist soil the day after it rains makes really nice conditions for pulling weeds.  Even the wild onions come out without a fight.

I have found that the areas with the worst weeds are the beds where the mulch has deteriorated almost to the point of having bare ground showing.  After I get rid of these current weeds, I MUST make it a priority to put down more mulch to try to keep this from happening again. 


  1. After last week's rains here in Colorado, my weeds are ready to take over, too! My flower beds are rather small so I pull what I can, but I did get some sort of new weed killer to try. We'll see how it works on the lawn! It's not Roundup! ♥♫

  2. I have to get some of that Ornamec. I often have weeds around my roses and it's mostly bermuda. I swear it can go underground 3 feet and pop up under a sidewalk. I hesitate to use RU near the roses, even carefully because I've seen damage from it.

    Have you tried Preen or corn gluten as a week blocker? You can even put it on over mulch. But if you do add mulch that will help too.

    This does seem to be a banner year for weeds. Dandelions especially.

  3. By using those sprays, I hope you can get the upper hand on the weeds in your gorgeous gardens! Its amazing how fast the weeds grow.

    With the hot days and rainy nights, the weeds are growing like crazy in my garden. I sprayed with Round-Up, killed the weeds, then it rained for several days, and a new crop has sprouted up.
    As soon as I get rid of this set of weeds, a thick layer of mulch is going down.

  4. We've been battling the dreaded weeds here too! We are winning...for now, but it won't last! Not with the heat and moist soil! Thanks for the names of those herbicides, I've never heard of the first one!

    Kat :)

  5. It is a huge amount of work, isn't it? Bermuda grass growing under my tomatoes seems to be getting ahead of me. Then, I had the dreaded Canada Thistle, which is horrid. Weed season just makes us appreciate the dormant winter season all the more!

  6. Ugh. Morning Glories are the bane of my existence right now. They are in EVERYTHING at my house. I just can't get rid of those little suckers!

  7. The only thing I use in my perennial and rose beds is Preen. I put it down before I lay the mulch in the spring and I dont need to weed all summer. I admit that once in a great while a bit of grass creaps in, but that little bit is easy to handle. I even use it on my beach sand in the area farthest away from the water. Preen saves me a lot of weeding time.


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