Around the farmstead bare ground weed control may be desirable, eg, equipment lots, around grain bins, sheds and fence lines, to name a few sites. While it is possible to keep areas weed free with multiple applications of RoundUp/2,4-D throughout a growing season, it is more cost effective to apply a soil sterilant or long term pre-emergent herbicide once in the early spring. Not only will you save money in the long run but the time savings are significant.
Not all sites are suitable for bare ground applications, however. Carefully determine if any desirable trees have roots in the area in which you’d like to treat. As a safe rule of thumb, do not treat closer to a tree than 1.5 times its height, eg, 30 foot tall tree stay 45 feet away from trunk. Also, steep slopes should not be treated since herbicide runoff can occur. Gravel driveways and other hard packed surfaces should also not be treated since rain on these sites more than likely will runoff carrying the herbicide with it.
For best results apply your pre-emergent herbicide early in the spring (February to early March) after the ground thaws. Avoid treating thoroughly saturated soils until they have dried somewhat. There are two big advantages of early applications.
- An early application will control those winter annuals that germinate early (think cheatgrass)
- Your application will be sure to get the necessary ½ inch of rainfall to activate the herbicide and move it down in to the upper ½ inch of soil.
I’ve seen April applications fail miserably due to lack of rainfall to activate the treatment. If you are applying in the late spring, invariably there will already be weeds present, so add a glyphosate and or 2,4-D to your mix.
WHAT PRODUCT SHOULD I USE?
D&B Supply carries three products widely used for bare ground weed control. Pramitol 25E is a liquid formulation and Pramitol 5PS is granular formulation which can be spread by hand or rotary spreaders. Diuron 80WDG is another widely used bare ground material. Relatively insoluble, diuron is an inexpensive treatment when used at 10-15 lbs/A and tends to stay put following heavy rainfall.
Krovar DF and its generic version, Bromacil 40/40, are the kings of bare ground weed control. These herbicides contain bromacil, a deadly grass material along with the proven diuron. Use rates are higher (10-12 lbs/A) on sites that have never been treated before, the annual maintenance rate is 8 lbs/A. WeedBlast is a dry granular option for those not wanting to spray.
What about puncturevine or goathead? This noxious weed is best controlled by adding Telar XP to your mix at the rate of 2 oz/A.