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March 21, 2018

Its still snowing along Colorado’s front range but spring has arrived nonetheless.  The crocus are in full bloom and the daffodils and tulips aren’t far behind.  As our ornamental flowers emerge from their winter slumber unwanted weeds are now waking up too.  The garden can quickly become overrun with tenacious weeds if left unchecked, so spend a little time over the weekend to eradicate them before they get out of control. 

Most weeds can be physically removed by simply grabbing them at the base and gently tugging them out of the soil.  Weeding forks or other tools can be stuck into the ground at the base of the weed to loosen the ground around the roots, making it easier to extract them from the garden.  Pulling weeds out by the roots can help aerate the soil as you work, improving the habitat for your desirable flowers. 

If the weeds have gotten away from you or if pulling them is simply too much work, glyphosate based herbicides (such as Round-Up) are a marvelously effective treatment for weed control.  The use of glyphosate herbicides is somewhat controversial, but mostly as it relates to commercial farming and the use of genetic modification to produce glyphosate resistant crops.  According to the National Pesticide Information Center, glyphosate herbicides are safe for residential application so long as basic safety precautions are followed. 

I prefer to buy the concentrated form as the ready-to-use product is 99% water.  The concentrate is rather pricey, but a gallon can last several seasons.  I have a dedicated one-gallon pump sprayer that I use only for herbicide, and I keep it handy so I can destroy weeds as they are discovered.  If you spray the weeds as they emerge and use a precision nozzle, you use only a small amount of product with very little waste.  Just mind the wind as drifting spray can kill your ornamental plants.

Whether you pull weeds by hand or treat with herbicides, spend a little time each week to control weeds early and often.  If you forget about it for a few weeks or months your yard can quickly be taken over by obnoxious interlopers.