Controlling unwanted local weeds

Gregg Eyestone

By A Contributor

In an unpredictable growing season from year to year, I can at least count on weeds. It doesn’t matter if it is a dry or wet season. Temperature doesn’t seem to be much of a deterrent. Weeds aren’t preferred in my landscape but they are faithful.

Black medic is growing like, well a weed. It looks like a clover leaf and has yellow flowers. It is taking over the lateral field. The prostrate growth is crowding out the grasses and other plants. Pulling out or applying a labeled herbicide are control options. Products containing 2,4-D can injure tomato plants. You may want to use an alternative at this time to prevent unintended damage.

Yellow nutsedge is commonly found in wet soils. I wouldn’t say that wet soil is something I have had recently. There still are areas where it is growing. It came in on some divisions of perennials. Cultivation or there are a few herbicides for management. A product containing halosulfuron may work the best. Read and follow label directions.

Field bindweed continues to materialize. It isn’t in the lawn after a few years of management but it does appear in the perennial beds. Pulling helps keep it down. A sponge brush with a labeled herbicide is quite effective.

Little barley and downy brome are finishing up their lifecycle in various parts of the yard. I’ve mowed them down a few times this season. There will be plenty of seeds from them to appear next season.

Just starting to bloom is windmill grass. This warm-season perennial has become a prolific grower in my field. The seed head is interesting but spreads seeds as it tumbles along. I find its off-spring growing in the perennial beds and anywhere there is full sun. Cultivation and a non-selective herbicide are tools for managing it.

Besides cultivation and herbicides, mulch can keep some weeds in check. It can block light from triggering germination. Now is a good time to apply about 2 inches of mulch. Mulch is also good for moderating soil temperature and holding moisture. Woodchips, straw and hay are good choices depending on their location.

Insects and diseases vary from year to year. Weeds seem to prosper each year.

If you would like additional information on a horticulture topic, please contact Gregg Eyestone at the Riley County office of K-State Research and Extension. Gregg may be contacted by calling 537-6350 or stopping by 110 Courthouse Plaza in Manhattan or e-mail: and at

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