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What is the best way to get rid of morning glory in my lawn and garden?

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Field bindweed, often called morning glory, is indeed enjoying the hot summer we are having this year. It is just the edge it needs to compete more effectively against the cool season grass lawns most of us grow. As with any weed management, irrigation practices are important, although less so with this weed, since it grows from roots. But it also produces seed which can germinate and grow quickly in the right situation.

Water lawns only as often as absolutely necessary. By allowing the top one inch of soil to dry between irrigation, you are killing any weed seeds that are sprouting immediately after the irrigation. Train the Turfgrass to grow deeper roots by wetting the soil at least 8 inches deep every time you irrigate. (Test it by digging a hole and looking at the soil or by poking a long screwdriver down into the lawn - when you meet resistance, that is where dry soil begins). Thatch buildup creates a good place for weeds to germinate, because this spongy layer between grass blades and the soil retains water longer than soil would. If thatch is thicker than one-half inch, core aerate this fall or late summer (once hot temperatures subside). Too much nitrogen fertilization can lead to thatch buildup, because grass is growing faster than the clippings and dead roots can decompose. Also, don't forget to raise the mower deck so that the soil surface is more shaded (this will discourage weed growth there). And, taller grass plants grow deeper roots, so you can go even longer between irrigations (thus allowing the soil surface and/or thatch layer to dry out and kill weed seed that may be germinating).

Review the USU Extension publication "Basic Turfgrass Care" and make sure that your lawn care company is following the maintenance guidelines therein. You can download that publication at

 

http://extension.usu.edu/files/gardpubs/hg517.pdf

When temperatures subside, you can use an herbicide containing 2,4-D to help retard bindweed growth. Where bindweed is growing in the lawn, hand-pulling is about the only option while temperatures are so hot.

 

 

Posted on 1 Aug 2007

Maggie Wolf
Horticulture Agent, Salt Lake County

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