What’s up ya’ll? It's getting HOT out there all across the country. Hope you all have a great 4th of July coming up!
Today we've got some Q/A on what you CAN vs CANNOT do with your weed control when it gets this hot. Dig in below...
I bought your Cool Season Guide and watching your YouTube channel has helped me tremendously from when I was at a complete loss for working on my lawn. I did have a question for you regarding spraying of weeds as I am a little hesitant since I have killed my fair share of grass in the past.
I'm currently located in Wisconsin and I have my spot sprayer ready to go along with my Bayer Advanced All-in-One weed killer. I feel like if I spray in the summer I'm just going to stress out and kill my grass. Is it better to let the lawn be as it is with current fertilizing until I get to Fall, or am I able to walk my grid and do my spray?
This is my first year actually trying to take proper care of my lawn, and my backyard has a fair share of different types of weeds, so I'm eager to get out there to treat them, but we have some over 90-degree temps coming in the next few days which is causing my apprehension. Do you have any advice?
Thank you for all the help you've already given from your content,
Hey Bro - these are great questions. I’ve seen the heat waves hitting much of the country this week and have been getting lots of similar questions.
First off, congratulations on taking the challenge to have a nice lawn. You are going to love the results you get! I also am glad that you are approaching this with caution and arming yourself with knowledge. So let’s see where you stand currently:
You've taken my advice and started with some easy-to-use, semi-foolproof, over-the-counter-weed-control concentrate.
Here is the product you have from Bayer, and here is the label (make sure yours matches). This should kill probably 60-75% of the weeds you will face in your lifetime. It's called a 3-way weed control because it has 3 active ingredients:
These are quite common and very effective, but in this formulation, the concentrations are set a bit lower for the homeowner market. This allows for some fudge factor and should give you peace of mind when spraying. After all, we’re not out there hosing the lawn with some crazy “industrial witches brew” (A term one of my sales reps coined back in my TruGreen days)
Just for Fun: here is a hopped up version called “Q4 Plus” if you want to compare.
See how the concentrations on the Q4 are so much higher? As long as you follow the label instructions, neither one of these products will harm the lawn, but the Q4 will bring much better results, quicker. However, as stated before, in the beginning, I always recommend you start with something like what you have. Many people will find they never need anything more, ever.
(this product is ok for KBG, Fescue, Rye AND warm-season Bermuda and Zoysia)
So let’s stay on topic talking about your Bayer product:
You have cool season grass - probably a mix of Kentucky Bluegrass, rye and maybe some fescue. It's really a good idea to read the label on every product you buy. For obvious reasons, you want to understand the proper use of the product you are buying including what Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) you should wear while mixing and applying.
Here I want to take just a minute and point out: those rubber gloves are VERY important. Back in my TruGreen days - there was a guy in the ranks who didn’t like to wear his gloves while he sprayed. On a hot day in August, he got some weed control on his hands. In the early afternoon, he needed to pee which meant his bare hands touched his bare member and the result was quite painful I’m told. I remember him describing it as having “fire ants in my pants.” I always wondered if his wife actually believed that story when she saw the resulting carnage: like a burnt breaded mushroom. I digress.
What Else Is On The Label?
There are other interesting facts you will pick up by reading product labels.
The first thing I want to point out with your weed control, being as it's summer right now, is that it contains Quinclorac. This is the very best (affordable) post-emergent weed control you can get for crabgrass. The small concentrations in the product you have will control young crabgrass like you see in this picture.
However, anything any larger and it’s going to just laugh it off. Once those lower growth points toughen up and start pushing more crabby growth, you’ll need something stronger. However, you don’t have to go getting too crazy if you don’t want to right now. Just control what you can and if some crab escapes this season, just mark it down in your lawn journal, remember where you had the greatest problems, and then hit things early next spring with a pre-emergent herbicide like prodiamine.
Now you smartly asked about heat restrictions on this weed control. That’s always an interesting one because some have them, and others don’t. I like to pull up the label online and do a “Command F” (Control F on PC) and search the word “temp” or “temperature.” This is the quickest way to “cheat yourself through the label” as long as you ensure that what’s on your bottle is the same as what you are viewing online. Check out what I found for your product:
Here you will see some information about temps, and some other FAQs that people have this time of year.
Temp Below 90 Degrees F: this means “below 90 when you are actually spraying” so you could apply this product in the very early morning or the later evening and be just fine. I actually prefer evening since temps will continue to fall overnight after you spray, whereas morning, be logical. Don’t spray when it’s 87 and will be climbing to 90 in the next 20 minutes. Play it cool and no harm will come to the lawn. (Bermuda - be careful with this product, you may want to choose something else - see below)
Additionally, there is other info here that is important, namely: seeding windows.
Since you have my cool season e-book, I’m assuming you plan to aerate and overseed in the fall time. In fact, where you live, shoot for later August if you can.
“Bare spots may be seeded 4 weeks after application."
That is referring to blanket applications that are done, and after the weeds are killed and gone -- those bare spots -- those can be seeded 4 weeks after with no issue. That’s really what that is saying. So if you have areas that you really have to get heavy handed in, and hit 2 or even 3 times to kill all the weeds - just watch how close up to August you are getting when you do this. It may be better to opt-out of spraying too hard after July 20 or so. According to the above, you can re-treat weeds every 2 weeks. That’s a good 6-week window you have starting right about now. Get to it!
“Newly seeded lawn may be sprayed after fourth mowing”
That’s another one I get quite often and it’s important. Just as we have to stop blanket spraying 4 weeks before seeding… we can’t start spot spraying again until the 4th mowing which is going to be SEVERAL weeks after you get the initial growth. Depending on grass type (KBG takes 2-3 weeks just to germinate, Rye is a few days) you may not be able to spray weeds again until Halloween and at that time it may be too late anyway. This is why the I tell you to try and push to start in later August if you can be sure to irrigate.
Last But Not Least - Mix Rates
This one is always a little daunting for people. The good news, as mentioned before, is using these homeowner style concentrates lends itself to some safety if you do spray angry. That being said, it’s still a good idea to know what you are doing and why.
First off, watch my video on how to blanket spray a lawn by first calibrating your sprayer. I like the Chapin Battery Sprayer for consistency of application. You can use it to blanket or zone/spot spray.
Remember, it’s ok to blanket spray in the evening time when temps fall below 90 degrees. There is no need for a surfactant in this mix, but if you want to make it work a little better, go ahead and use one or just add 1oz per gallon of baby shampoo. This will do the same thing and also leave the yard smelling fresh and clean.
Also, being as you are from Wisconsin -- I will assume that at some point you’ve visited Milwaukee for at least 6 hours or more meaning, you have directly contributed to our success and we all greatly appreciate it!
St Augustinegrass, Bermuda, Zoysia and Centipede
Let me help you guys out a little here too. There is a very common weed control that you can get pretty much anywhere that works very well in summer and has NO heat restrictions. However, I still recommend you be smart and spray in the evenings when temps fall below 90 also. This is because this is a pretty “harsh” weed control that will cause stunting to your turf, even when sprayed correctly. This one also needs to be watered in! It works best when the weeds take it in via roots, making hose end sprayer application a good option!
Active ingredient, Imazaquin - 3.3%.
Again, lots of helpful info here on the label and mix rates. You can also use your Ortho Dial N Spray and blanket app the lawn quite easily. They even give you the settings you need. If you apply in this manner, you should still water the app in the next day to ensure it got into the soil.
So there you go my friends, a quick little tutorial on weed control. Again I stress, get the easy stuff from your local HD or Lowes and try that now so you can learn it! Once you get the hang of it, then you can move on to something more “professional” if you need it.
I hope you all are having a wonderful Independence Day week and enjoying time with family and friends celebrating America! For my friends in Canada, happy Canada Day week to you as well!
I’ll see you in the lawn!