Weed control is best done in the fall. “A majority of weeds come from seed unsuspectingly planted by the gardener…in other words, weeds we allow to go to seed”, says Mary Jane Frogge, Extension Associate at the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension Service in Lancaster County.

          “For example, a common pigweed plant, with its long reddish taproot, produces 117,000 seeds per plant.  That means just nine pigweed plants allowed to go to seed disseminates over one million seeds. And these seeds are viable for 40 years.  Purslane, with its pinkish, fleshy stems and leaves, produces fifty-two thousand seeds per plant. Purslane seeds are viable for twenty-five years. And how about the common dandelion? It typically produces only fifteen thousand seeds per plant. So do not let weeds go to seed. A gardener who does not let weeds go to seed will have significantly fewer weeds each year.” (University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County NebLine, August 2004, page 6)

          Digging or killing weeds in the fall so they don’t go to seed will reduce your workload for next spring and summer.  Also, after the first cool nights, or a light frost, the plants are starting to take nutrients down to the root system to get ready for winter. A systemic weed killer such as Trimec, sprayed on the leaf, will be taken down to the root and you get better control than in the spring and/or summer when the plant is pumping food from the roots up to the blades.  Fall is a good time to go after those weeds in the garden, flower bed, and especially the lawn.

          For the lawn, I like liquid weed killers that you spray on with a spritz bottle or small pump-up sprayer rather than the granular kind, such as a weed and feed you apply with a spreader.  

          The granules need to stick to the blades of grass to be effective and usually they don’t stick very well. Liquid weed control that contains 2-4-D, MCPP, and Dicamba (such as Trimec, or Earl May Lawn Weed Killer, or Ortho Weed-B-Gone Weed Killer for Lawns), will control dandelions, and many other broadleaf weeds and can be applied now. Another advantage of liquid weed control is you can spot treat the weeds without putting herbicide on the whole yard and areas where it is not needed. This is better for the environment.

          For hard-to-kill weeds, such as ground ivy, henbit, and white clover, a good time to go after these weeds is after the first light frost.  Two or three applications 7 to 14 days apart may be needed for a good kill. Trimec, or Earl May Super Brush and Weed Killer, or Triclopyr (Ortho Weed-B-Gone Chickweed, Clover and Oxalis Killer for Lawns) can be used without hurting the lawn if applied at the proper rate and according to label directions. Don’t water for 24 hours after application to allow the chemicals to do their work. 

          Use of a “sticker spreader” such as “Turbo” at the rate of one teaspoon per gallon of water, or “Acme Sticker Spreader”, following the label instructions, will help the solution stick to the leave of the weed. Most weeds have a waxy leaf and the sticker-spreader helps the chemical stick to the leaf and thus is more effective.

          Don’t worry about crabgrass this time of year.  Crabgrass is an annual grass and will die with the first frost.  Apply a pre-emergent crabgrass control next spring about April 15 to prevent the crabgrass from growing.  Don’t put it on too early or its chemical effective will wear out before the summer is over.  A second application the middle of June may be needed for season-long control, depending upon the material used. 

          For organic gardeners, weeds can be controlled with a weed killer containing “corn gluten”. Corn gluten can also be applied in the spring as a per-emergent herbicide.  It works fine but has a short residual.

          One final tip: Never apply a liquid or a granular weed killer to a drought-stressed lawn.  An application to dry soil may burn the grass surrounding the weeds and cause more stress.  Water thoroughly at the least one day before application. 

          For more information on lawn weed control go to and type in G1045 for the publication “Turfgrass Weed Prevention and Management”. This can be downloaded and printed free. Or go to for garden and lawn information, good tips, and access to other websites.



          Now is the time to buy your tulips and daffodils while the selection is good. When buying tulip and daffodil bulbs, remember that there are early spring, middle spring, and late spring varieties.  If you want flowers for the whole spring season, buy some that bloom at different times. If you want a big splash of color all at once, get varieties that bloom at the same time. Early spring for tulips in Lincoln is the end of March or first part of April.  Late spring bulbs bloom in early May.

          Do not plant tulips and daffodils now. It is too early to plant your tulips and daffodils and some other fall bulbs.  The days are too warm and the soil is too warm.  Planted now, they will break dormancy and then may be injured when the ground freezes.

          Tulips, daffodils, and some other fall bulbs do best when planted at least after the middle of October. When planted toward the end of October, the soil is cooler and the roots start to grow but the bulb does not break dormancy.  Tulips can even be planted up until the time the ground freezes hard. I have planted some around Christmas time when we had a mild fall and the ground did not freeze until after New Year’s Day.

          If you buy your bulbs no, store them in a cool, dry location until time to plant.  Plant them about 8 to 9 inches deep with about a tablespoon of “Bone Meal” added in the bottom of the hole.  As soon as you have finished your planting give the ground a thorough soaking.