MURPHYSBORO, Ill.— Horticulture Educator, Austin Little, led a workshop on managing weeds in the home landscape. During the course of the evening, Little gave a general overview of the best management practices for weed control.  He also shared tips for landscaping to deter the four-legged pests that often find their way into the home landscape and garden. Little discussed cool-season and warm-season annual weeds as well as the plant hardiness zone map for the state to show what can survive in our average minimum temperatures.  He discussed the life cycles of common weeds and stated that weeds can survive in the soil for many years or, in the right conditions, thousands of years.

Best management practices for weed control include removing weeds early before they flower and go to seed, identifying weeds to choose the proper control method, removing as many weeds as possible by tilling, solorazing and then repeating with shallowing cultivation. He stated that tilling should never be done too deep as heavy tilling can stimulate dormant weed seeds. Little shared safe alternatives to chemicals including a corn gluten meal pre-emergent treatment. The corn gluten is spread onto the turf to dehydrate germinating weed seedling roots. The treatment acts as a fertilizer as it provides extra nutrients to the soil.

Little stated that herbicides should be used as a last resort as misuse or overuse can be detrimental to landscape and cost money in the long-run. When using herbicides, it is recommended to use spot-treatment rather than broadcasting over a large area. Post emergent broad spectrum herbicides kill a wide variety of plants and prove to be most effective when used in the spring and fall.

Individuals can also use landscaping design to make your garden/landscape unappealing to deer. Homeowners should consider incorporating grasses and sedges into their garden as deer typically avoid tall grasses or weedy textures. Trees or plants that emit a strong or spicy aroma such as mint, beebalm, lilac or aromatic herbs will be a deterrent to the wildlife.  With regard to rabbits, a physical barrier or fence is the most effective way to eliminate damage to the garden and landscape.  Scent repellents sometimes work, however, rabbits often adapt to the scent rendering them ineffective.

Master Gardener, Kevin Ahfield, ended the evening’s program by demonstrating various techniques to maintain gardening tools and equipment.  Local resident, Bob Melton, stated that he learned a lot of information for future gardening.  He has experienced a lot of issues with deer and wildlife in his garden. He plans to plant some mint around his garden and install fishing line to deter deer.

Little will be offering another workshop to discuss composting. At the upcoming program, Little will perform demonstrations and share techniques on home composting.  The event will be held on July 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the Jackson County -Extension Office. There is no cost to attend, however, participants are encouraged to register by calling (618) 687-1727.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in programming, contact your local registration office. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting your needs.

News source: Austin Little, 618-687-1727, little84@illinois.edu

News writer: Heather Willis, 618-357-2126, hdwillis@illinois.edu