What the world weeds now…is lawn sweet lawn….not exactly the lyrics of Burt Bacharach and his 1965 hit. The liberties with the lyrics however does point out our love for our lawns and landscapes and the simultaneous battle we wage against weeds. As Austin Powers would say… “Oh behave” as he and Elizabeth Hurley dance to the music of Burt Bacharach in Austin Powers International Man of Mystery…… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dh7n7_DJZxM
Just the other day I was approached by someone with their sandwich baggie stuffed with weeds. They were ready to “throw in the trowel” on their yard and landscape due to the invasion of a weed taking over their landscape. She said at home they refer to this invasive weed as “Taliban” weed. Her husband had sent her to me for well rooted advice….take me to your “weeder”. Here is the weed she brought me….I identified it as Sorrel. I could tell by the amount of sand in the sandwich baggie that the lawn and landscape soil was poor and lacking in humus. I called her husband with the bad news. Feeling “sorrel” for myself I knew I had to however deliver the news. Sorrel is a noxious weed and can be difficult to control if it gets away from you because of its seed production and perennial creeping rhizomes re-rooting along the way as you can see from the picture. Repeated cultivation can weaken the weed along with the use of both lawn and landscape herbicides…in spring before the weed flowers and goes to seed and in fall when you get good herbicide translocation into the roots. But as with any weed…you need to be “weeding” by example. The point is the landscape conditions where this weed is growing are more suitable for the weed than the desired lawn or landscape plants. Presence and abundance of sorrel is an indication of poor sandy and “sour” soil with a pH too low or acidic. By improving the humus levels in the lawn and landscape and taking a pH test of the soil, the battle can be won. By adding compost and improving moisture and nutrient retention capability you can bring up the nutrient levels in the soil when feeding the lawn or landscape. Many times whether the weed is Black Medic or Clover or in this case Sorrel, the weed appears and thrives because there are low nitrogen and nutrient levels in the soil. Add to the mix a pH imbalance and…… TaDa!…..the weeds grow better than the plants or turf you desire to grow. Why you ask? Because it’s a jungle out there folks….it’s all about competition. If the conditions are more suitable for this couple’s nightmare “Taliban Weed”…..they need to tip the scales in the favor of their landscape through cultural practices and change the environment for a “root” awakening…….