East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, April 12, 2017, Page Page 4C, Image 22

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    Page 4C
East Oregonian
Spring Home & Garden
Persistence key
to controlling
garden weeds
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Photo contributed by Ed Peachey
Puncture vine bur.
OSU scientist shares tips for spring
By GEORGE PLAVEN
East Oregonian
Managing weeds can be an
arduous task for local gardeners,
from hand-pulling prickly thistle
to spraying for bright yellow
dandelions.
But Judit Barroso, a weed
scientist for Oregon State
University, says persistence is
required to keep the plants from
taking over lawns and gardens.
“You cannot spend one
Saturday pulling weeds, and
that’s it for the season,” Barroso
said.
For smaller gardens, Barroso
recommends weeding at least
twice per month, which should be
enough to keep pesky perennials
such as dandelions and bindweed
at bay.
Now is also a good time to
start treating winter annuals
before they spring to life,
Barroso said. Examples of winter
annual weeds include chickweed,
prickly lettuce and yellow star-
thistle. Summer annuals, such
as crabgrass and puncture vine,
will not appear until later in the
summer.
At any rate, Barroso said
gardeners should be on the
lookout and not wait until after
the weeds have begun fl owering.
“If you wait until they bloom,
it is kind of late,” she said.
Barroso, who works for the
Columbia Basin Agricultural
Research and Extension Center
north of Pendleton, taught a
class on weed control and iden-
tifi cation for the OSU Master
Gardener Program earlier this
year. In her presentation, she said
there are roughly 250,000 species
of plants worldwide, of which
about 8,000 behave as weeds.
Weeds are a problem
Photo contributed by Ed Peachey
Prickly lettuce.
Photo contributed by Ed Peachey
Field bindweed.
because they rob soil nutrients
and water from crops, which
reduces yield and quality. Some
can also be toxic to humans or
animals.
There are a number of ways
to control weeds using chemicals
or manual labor. When it comes
to pulling or digging up weeds,
Barroso said to pay attention to
the type of plant — perennials
tend to have a deeper root system,
and merely cutting off the top of
the weed will not do.
“(Gardeners) have to remove
as much of the root system as
they can,” she said.
Common weed killers such as
Roundup are mostly safe to use,
though Barroso said it is always
a good idea to read the label fi rst
and follow all instructions.
Otherwise, gardeners may
consider other tools to prevent
weeds from growing. In partic-
ular, Barroso recommends using
a drip line as opposed to a sprin-
kler to ensure water goes to the
crop, and not to weeds.
“Watering with a hose, you
are watering both the crop and
weeds,” she said. “The idea is to
put water just in your crop.”
Another option after harvest
Photo contributed by Ed Peachey
Chickweed seedling.
Contact George Plaven at
gplaven@eastoregonian.com or
541-966-0825.
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is to cover the garden bed with
a clear plastic tarp, which will
catch rays from the sun and heat
up the soil. This process, known
as soil solarization, will not only
kill weeds, but other soil-borne
pathogens that can harm crops.
“The idea is to kill the weed
seeds by increasing tempera-
ture,” Barroso said.
By learning the species of
weeds in your garden fi rst,
Barroso said gardeners can come
up with an effective long-term
plan moving forward.
“They key is persistence,” she
said.
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