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Weed-proof your property

Of course, one of the joys of living in

Northern California is the wide-open

spaces we have so close to home.



Whether you’re in our foothill communities,

rolling valley hilltop homes or the vast




prairie’s of new development up I-5 and Hwy

65 corridors, you’re not far from a field, park

or wild lands that treat you to a spring time

display of festively colored wildflowers and

fresh grasses that abound here locally.

Unfortunately, those same wide-open

spaces, with their wide variety of grasses,

weeds and thistles are just a stone’s throw

away from our not so wide-open yards.One

person’s wild flower is another’s weed.

Weed seeds come in from every direction

and hide themselves in cracks and crevices

everywhere. Un-attended over time, weeds

can infest gardens; even those diligently

covered in weed cloth, bark, and rock.

Seeds infiltrate between pavers, concrete,

blocks and brick. Just about any surface is

suspect to getting clogged with weed, moss

or grass growth if you aren’t proactive about

handling it before it becomes a problem.

You need to resign yourself to repeating your

favorite weed control ritual, each and every

year. Sorry, though I tried, I haven’t found

the perfectly weed-free anything,yet! Though

it is quite simple to keep the task manageable

when you optimize your landscape to inhibit

weed growth. Enlarge garden areas and cover

them with weed block fabrics and attractive

rock and mulch products that are easily

treated with pre and post emergent.The

less exposed soils and more inert landscape

areas, the easier weed growth is to control.

When building, always use commercial

quality weed control fabrics over native soils

and under all ground cover treatments. Staple

the fabrics to the ground and make sure to

completely cover them from exposure to

the sun.This will help the fabrics last and

your weed-free zone to stay weed free

longer. Change mulch areas every two or

three years. Refresh the areas with a

minimum of 2 inches of surface materials.

Rocks, as ground cover, tend to be less

work than bark because you don’t have to

keep replacing them.Keep them clear of

leaves and other organic materials with a

leaf-blower. (rounded cobble rocks (larger

than 1 inch, are the easiest to keep blown

free of leaves and pine needles) The great

thing about these types of surface areas,

along with your concrete, asphalt, block and

paver hardscape areas are that they can be

confidently kept weed-free by just using a

routine of hand weeding or spraying with

pre and post emergent.

The most important commitment to a

weed-free yard is to stay on top of a

maintenance program. Many commercially

prepared products are safe to use around

your garden plants (follow manufacturer’s

guidelines for use and safety).The usual

suspects are Round-Up®,Weed Be Gone®,

Moss Out®. Another popular option is using

homemade remedies from common products

found in your pantry. Take care not to over

spray vinegar based combinations on your

plants – it’s an acid, after all, and can cause

spotting and scars plants where it lands.

A tip I picked up from syndicated

columnist, Heloise,was using a mixture of

salt, vinegar and soapy water (not detergent,

liquid soaps are best); you can make an

extremely effective pre and post emergent

that is completely safe to spray all around

the patio, bark, rock and hardscape areas of

your home. Not only is it safe around family

and pets, the mixture is environmentally

friendly and provides the added help of

controlling snails and other garden insects

like aphids. Add essential oils* such as citrus

(orange and lemon) and you can help control

spiders, earwigs and other hard shell bugs

and pests. Use conifer essential oils* (such as

pine, cedar, juniper and spruce) to control

ticks and fleas.

Garden weeds are just

the tip of the iceberg for any

of you with a lawn area you

have to worry about, too;

especially if you’re not the

one taking care of it.Who can testify to the

nightmare of a lawn care service provider or

next-door-neighbor’s landscaping “infecting”

your lawn by cross-contamination? Let us not

forget the contribution of all the microscopic

seeds floating in from those “wide open

spaces”we so enjoy!

A great way folks are solving this type of

problem is adding faux grass surfaces such

as putting greens and lawn areas in their

yards instead of natural seeded or sod lawns.

We went to local synthetic grass expert and

licensed contractor,Annie Costa for her

opinion of using artificial products for weed

control. “A common misconception about

synthetic grasses and artificial turf is that

these installations are going to be weed-free

without effort. That is simply not true.” Said

Costa, whose company TuFFGrass™ has

served the Sacramento Valley and Sierra

Foothills for over five years and speaks from

personal experience. The Costa’s have over

4000 sq ft of synthetic surfaces installed on

their property; all of it surrounded by native

wild land grasses and thistle.

“Because there is nothing on the surface

to kill seeds and spores, synthetic grass will be

prone to support growth.In fact, it supports

prolific organic growth unless you keep it in

check. If you experience weed growth, you

aren’t seeing the weeds growing up from

under the synthetic surfaces, the seed is being

blown in and is germinating on the surface

of the grass.The brilliant thing about

TuFFGrass™ surfaces is that you can use

any kind of weed control product without

worrying about killing your lawn; our

TuFFGrass™ products can even handle full

strength bleach and not fade or discolor.”

Costa stresses it’s important to

keep your synthetic grass area

free of organic debris.”We

recommend that our customers

use pre and post emergent (or

vinegar solutions) on the grasses

from the time they have been

installed.We also encourage

them to use rakes and leafblowers

to keep the areas free of

organic materials such as leaves that can

pile up,decompose and provide places

that support weed growth.”

If you’ve installed a putting green

right next to a lawn area, you add to

the problem of keeping the synthetic

area weed and seed free due to lawn

maintenance and watering. “The most

common problem with any type of

synthetic material outdoors, whether

installed on concrete or compacted base

materials, is moss. Spores are carried by

the wind and they are invisible to the

eye,” states Costa. “After we build

projects for our customers we strongly

recommend a monthly maintenance

program including pre and post

emergent products targeted to destroy

weed, grass and moss growth.”

“A typical design mistake in building

artificial putting greens is to set them

beside irrigated lawn or gardens.With our

notoriously poorly draining soils, the extra

moisture promotes moss growth that can

destroy a putting green surface faster than

any fungus ever killed a natural grass green.

Moss spores love to set up residence on

any damp surface; evidence of this is the

prolific growth of moss on concrete and

brick, even metal in some areas. “If moss

has surfaced on your putting green, the

moss has wound its way around and

through the blades and backing of the

turf.Wherever you see moss, the putting

surface will no longer play true. The moss

is like a planter’s wart, and unfortunately

there’s no solution other than to replace

the turf. We may even have to repair or

add drainage to the area, often requiring

rebuilding the putting green from the

ground up. “If putting green owners would

simply keep the area as dry as possible;

regularly treat it with pre-emergent and

contact their installer with the first signs

of any trouble,we wouldn’t see residential

backyard putting greens fail.”Says Costa.

Recipe for Gardener’s Miracle Mix

Mix up a gallon of 5% white distilled vinegar

2 oz. (1/8th cup) of liquid soap

1/4 cup of salt in a pump spray container.

If adding *essential oils; I’ve been successful

using 40 drops of each essential oil per gallon of

mixture. It’s a gardeners’ miracle worker and

a salad dressing, all in one. Just joking! Do NOT

eat this mixture! The recipe above should cover

approximately 500 square feet.

How to reach TuffGrass™, Inc.

530 432-5836.

They have been serving

the greater Sacramento Valley and Sierra

Foothill Communities since 1999.

TuffGrass™ is a trademark of

TuffGrass™ Inc.All Rights Reserved

California State Contractor License

C61/D12 #849305.

Data analysis based upon 500 square feet of

residential lawn area installed by a professional

landscaper, with commercial quality

irrigation and installation services and materials;

typical water costs of approximately

$20.00 per month (per Roseville Water

District information) TuffGrass, Inc. @ 2004.


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