Q: I have two questions. On your show Saturday, you mentioned someone who sharpens, etc., lawn mowers. I didn’t catch the name. Can you tell me who that is? I have five acres and need the name of a ground sterilant for one corner where cheatgrass has taken over and I am ready for it to be sterile for some months or a year. Any ideas?
Thank you very much. I always enjoy your show.
Gwen

A: Thanks for the questions. First, you can get your tools sharpened at the Meridian D&B store!! That was easy.

The soil sterilant question is a bit harder to answer. D&B carries several types of soil sterilant that mostly work the same way. Some have a much longer residual than others and I would highly encourage you to carefully read the label and speak with a sales associate about these products if you have specific questions. Soil sterilants are serious business and will kill anything, beneficial or otherwise in the soil, so they should be used with caution. Some will remain in the soil for 10+ years so be sure of your choice.

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A few considerations about a soil sterilant:

In an arid environment like ours the product may persist longer in the soil than stated.
These products move in the soil, especially with water, so they should be used with extreme caution around desirable vegetation, especially trees that can have extensive root systems.
Don’t use around streams, ponds, rivers or wells.

Additional info about Cheatgrass:

Cheat grass is a winter annual and germinates (mostly) in late summer. It sits for the winter and takes off growing again at the first hint of spring. A less drastic measure than a soil sterilant is to use Round Up or another glyphosate product to kill the plant and prevent seeding. Along with that, a pre-emergent used in late summer (when cheatgrass is germinating) and again in the spring will keep the seeds that are in the soil from germinating. Also, keeping the cheat grass mowed down to prevent seeding is another way to help gain control. A crop that can compete with cheatgrass is also beneficial as cheatgrass does not do well with competition. Keep in mind a pre-emergent will keep any seed from germinating so if you plan to plant any seed at all there, don’t use a pre emergent. I personally had 5 acres of cheatgrass that I eventually got under control by mowing and using a competitive crop. This didn’t, however, happen in one year but was a several year project. (And I had kids at home to do the mowing!!)

Soil sterilants certainly do what they claim and sterilize soil. Be sure that’s what you really want before applying as there is no reversing this decision other than the waiting game.

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