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Welcome home to your weed patch

Vacations are wonderful things. They allow us to get away from all the hustle and bustle of our normal routines. But sometimes, they are hard to come back from. There can sometimes be a vacation hangover. You know when you come back and realize that there is work waiting for you. With the rains and short bursts of heat and sun my garden was recently over taken with crabgrass, bermudagrass, nutsedge and spurge. I could have sworn that those beds were weed-free before I left.

Nevertheless, there were weeds and plenty of them. The weather may be putting a damper on some of our other summer favorites, but the not so welcome pests are flourishing. Not only are these weeds an eye sore, but they are depriving ornamentals of needed nutrients in the soil. So what's a gardener to do? Here are some quick fix tips that won't break your back or the budget.

The best method is to never let the weeds get ahead of you. Pull weeds two or three times a week rather than once a month. This will give you a great chance to monitor the garden for other problems that you might have missed. And the work should be very minimal each time and will prevent becoming overwhelmed.

Sometimes it can be hard to find the time to make it into the garden twice a week. In that case, organic mulch could be used to choke out the weeds. There are several types to choose from; pine bark, cypress, pecan hull, cotton bur compost, cocoa mulch and the list goes on. Even lawn clippings could be used as mulch in the garden and save space in the landfill. Just be careful that the lawn was not recently treated with any chemicals that could be transferred to the plants you are trying to protect. No matter which type of mulch you choose, it should not be deeper than two to three inches.

For the individual who really lacks the time or physical ability to use the prior methods, an herbicide may be utilized. There are pre-emergent herbicides, which work by preventing a weed seed from germinating. If the weeds are already above ground and green a post-emergent herbicide is the ticket. Just be careful not to touch any of your desirable plants with the chemical. A device that has a sponge applicator can be bought at most garden centers. This will allow a more precise application and prevent the wind from blowing the chemical to where it is not wanted.

If you have any questions about identifying a weed in your yard ask an OSU Master Gardener, 405-713-1125. The most important thing to remember is to have fun and be safe in your garden. Because if we're not having fun, then why on Earth are we doing all this work? Happy weeding.

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