Today I will be covering preventative maintenance for your lawns. I have noticed recently on the sites that we maintain that Solivia sessilis, better known as bindii has started to come up early this year. It is best to treat the bindii infestations before the seed develops in the center of the rosette to reduce the germination rate for next year.
The most effective way to remove the weed is by hand, this can be laborious but is achievable with a smaller lawn. My wife and I did this with our lawn of about 70-100m² whilst talking about "life the universe and everything". We pulled the weeds by the root spending no more than 5-10 minutes a few times a week. Before the weed could seed, we'd controlled 90% of the infestation within a few weeks. With only a few to deal with the next season we had a bindii free lawn you could walk on barefoot with confidence and pride.
Unfortunately with our busy lives sometimes this task can be unachievable and a selective herbicide can be used to achieve the same results so you too can walk barefoot on your lawn with confidence.
Identify if you have an infestation or just a few rogue unwanted weeds. There is no need to use chemical if you only have a few bindii weeds
Identify what type of grass your lawn is; e.g. Buffalo, Couch, Broadleaf carpet grass (Axonopus compressus) or a combination of all of the above.
Choose a herbicide that suits your lawn. If the lawn species doesn't fit the specifications/recommendations of the chemical you may kill your lawn as well as the weeds
DO NOT mow your lawns for at least one week before you apply the herbicide.
Choose a day where the weather is optimum. A cool day, perhaps overcast approximately 20°-25° with no rain predicted for the specified time (1 day to one week). No wind is ideal. Each herbicide has a recommendation and should be followed accordingly for the best result.
PPE and correct spray equipment. This is important, even though it is readily available to any gardener it is still a pesticide and should be treated with respect. Majority of bindii herbicides have the same active ingredient e.g. bromoxynil plus MCPA. I recommend that you download the SDS applicable to the product you choose. These ingredients are not to be taken lightly and used only as directed. Follow the PPE recommendations. All clothing worn should be removed immediately after treatment and washed separately from your normal cycle.
Make sure you keep children and pets off the treated grass for at least 24hrs or if moisture is present. Dew can hold trace amounts of the product.
Ready to spray:
You now have either a 'plug in' hose on treatment or a concentration chemical.
For the plug in hose treatment make sure you have enough product for your entire lawn and hose to reach all desired areas. Stretch your hose out so you work backwards towards your tap or the far end of the lawn. Spray the chemical as if you were painting a horizontal fence. Start at the top and work your way along and down with a slight overlap, just not enough chemical to cause run off, you want a light coating no drips. Be very careful/mindful of the drift that can come from a careless hand or a gust of wind any foliage it gets on such as your favorite plants will be affected by the product. After completing the lawn, mark on a calendar the date and time of treatment. This will give you an accurate time to base your next mow and if a follow-up treatment is required. Wait. It takes time but it will work.
For the concentration chemical you will need a new clean knapsack (Spray pack) or a thoroughly cleaned one. You've worked out your ratio of chemical to water. Now add approximately 1L of water to your knapsack followed by your chemical (If granular dissolve in a smaller container first.) Rinse your concentrate measuring vessel into the knapsack and continue to fill to the required volume. Now follow the same pattern as with the hose on treatment. The benefit of using a knapsack is that you can individually see the weeds you wish to eradicate and can ensure a good coverage of chemical on the foliage. If the area is larger then your knapsack can cover, take a marker flag (or stick) and mark where you finished your last pack to know your next starting point. Good coverage is key for a successful treatment.
I personally choose a product suited for a buffalo lawn as it is normally a safer bet for ensuring you don't damage existing grass. I hope this early bird tip helps you stay on top of the prickles. "Gardening is about planning ahead and enjoying your efforts. Like a fine wine it takes time but is worth it." Until next time, Have fun in the garden.