Now is the best time to control winter weeds. With this beautiful week of weather, Iris and daffodils are starting to pop their heads up, but so are those irritating weeds. This is a great time to spray your winter-hardy weeds like Dandelion, Chickweed and Henbit in the lawn. These are weeds that are already growing so your spring application of PreEmergent won’t touch them, and IT’S BETTER FOR THE BEES! Spraying now, before flowers emerge and bees are active, protects the bees and the hives from weed killer damage. If you just have a few problem spots, a ready-to-use application of weed free zone should work, but for large areas or small weeds difficult to spot spray, a hose end application might be easier. In beds or vegetable gardens, either pull weeds or use Roundup – don’t get Roundup on desirable plants.
It is time to water! We have had an exceptionally dry fall – unseasonably warm weather coupled with a lack of rain (I mean we haven’t had a decent rain since the first of September) is wreaking havoc on trees, shrubs and lawns. Even if the forecast is predicting rain, unless we get an inch, supplemental watering will be necessary. We are seeing established trees and shrubs around Kansas City wilting, which will be very hard on these plants going into winter and can cause irreversible damage if the winter continues to be dry.
All trees and shrubs, especially evergreens, should be watered about every 10 days.
What is the best way to water?
For trees and shrubs, start by setting a hose at the base of the plant and letting the water trickle from the hose, about a pencil-sized trickle, for 45 minutes to 1 hour for each plant.
If using a sprinkler, leave the sprinkler on for 1.5 to 2 hours. Lawns, especially under trees, need to be watered with a sprinkler for 45 minutes to 1 hour about every 7 days.
As the temperature cools down, more time can elapse between watering, but unless we start getting regular, steady rains (3/4”-1”), watering will need to continue until the ground freezes. All newly planted trees and shrubs – even if dormant – need water periodically throughout the winter. A good trick is to pile snow up around all your trees and shrubs when shoveling. The heavy layer of snow will help insulate the plants and give a much needed drink as it melts.