What Is Morning Glory?
Morning Glory (Eriogonum spp.) is a perennial annual or biennial plant from the nightshade family Solanaceae. It belongs to the same genus as tomato, eggplant, peppers and potatoes. Its common name comes from its appearance when it first appears in springtime after rainstorms. It is often mistaken for other plants such as dandelion, but it is not related to any of those.
The leaves are arranged in a fan shape and have five leaflets each. They grow up to 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide at maturity. The flowers appear in clusters on the upper surface of the leaf blades in early summer. These flowers are white with yellow centers, which give way to small purple berries that mature into seeds by late fall.
How Does Morning Glory Control Work?
The most effective method of controlling morning glory is to use a glyphosate based herbicide called Roundup Ready®. This product contains glyphosate, glufosinate and imazapyr. Glyphosate kills weeds without harming beneficial insects like bees or butterflies. Glufosinate breaks down slowly so it remains active for several years while imazapyr lasts only one year before degrading too much to work effectively anymore. Roundup Ready® works by blocking the production of an enzyme essential to plant growth, which causes the plant to die.
Mowing, cultivation, and pulling morning glory have all been proven ineffective. While it will die if you remove all of its leaves, it will just grow more and produce even more seeds. If you do not get every last bit of root, it will regenerate as well. The only sure way to kill it for good is with an herbicide like Roundup Ready®.
How Do I Apply It?
Always read and follow the instructions on the label. The typical application rate is .5 ounces per 1000 square feet of weed-infested area. If you are treating a large area, you may need more than one container of product. Depending on the size of the area, you may also need to apply the product more than once. Do not apply it more than once per year as it can cause undesirable effects on surrounding vegetation.
What Are The Drawbacks?
Roundup Ready® can be very effective, but it does have some drawbacks. Unlike other herbicides such as 2,4-D, you cannot wash it off of your house foundation, driveways or lawn furniture after application. It is very persistent in the soil and can remain active for a year or more. This is beneficial because it kills weeds for such a long period of time, but it is not desirable if it ends up killing your grass. A good way to keep this from happening is never to apply it when the temperature falls below 50 degrees or exceeds 90 degrees. The best time of year to apply it in the Southern United States is in the fall after Summer has ended but before nighttime temperatures start falling. If this isn’t possible, then wait until early Spring.
Another drawback of using Roundup Ready® is that it can kill grass. If the product is applied at the wrong time, it can prevent grass from growing back in that area. This is rarely a problem if only a small area is being treated, but if you have a large weed-infested lot that needs treatment, it can be harder to control weeds in the surrounding areas for awhile until the grass grows back. It can also prevent grass from growing where you do not want it to such as on sidewalks, asphalt or the front of your house. If this occurs, you can either remove the dead grass or treat that area separately and then re-seed it immediately afterwards.
Does It Kill The Flowers Too?
No, but if you would prefer to get rid of the flowers as well as the weeds, then try growing morning glory varieties such as blue moon or moonbeam. These varieties have been specifically bred to be sterile and have a more desirable color and texture.
What If I Want To Control Specific Weeds?
If you have a particular weed that is growing where you don’t want it, then you can buy a product called Concentrate Ultra Blazer . This is the same thing as Roundup, but it is stronger and available only through professional applicators. This should only be applied by professionals as well, for the same reasons listed in other sections. One advantage of using this is that you can selectively kill specific weeds without harming the surrounding vegetation.
It can take up to three days for the weeds to start turning brown after you apply Blazer, so you should make sure you are targeting the correct weed before applying it. During this time period you may think the product isn’t working and apply it again, which could burn the surrounding plants. If you are applying it to the side of your house, then you need to make sure it doesn’t get on the siding. It can also harm any plants that you water afterwards, so be careful when watering anything in the area.
Another product you may wish to use is Imazapyr. This is a selective herbicide that is non-selective. This means it will kill everything it comes into contact with, but will only damage a specific type of plant. It can take up to a month for the plants to die after being exposed to it.
The final product you may wish to use is called Crossbow. This is a powerful herbicide and should only be used as a last resort because of its health risks. It can take several weeks before you notice any effects on the weed. During this time, it may appear as if the product isn’t working. It will eventually kill the weeds, but it could possibly take several applications before all of the weeds are dead.
Spraying the Weed Killer
It is important to keep in mind that any weed killer that you buy at a store should only be applied with a sprayer. If you don’t have access to a sprayer, then have someone else apply it or rent one. It isn’t difficult to use, but you need to make sure you apply it properly.
The first thing you need to do is mow your grass really short. This will ensure that all the weed killer gets applied evenly on the grass and prevents it from getting on the sidewalk, asphalt or anything but the grass blades. Afterward, you should wait for a day when there is no wind to cause the weed killer to drift onto anything it shouldn’t.
When you are ready to spray, make sure you are wearing eye protection and cover up any exposed skin. You may also want to wear gloves as an added safety precaution. Dilute the weed killer in water according to the instructions on the package and begin spraying. Start from one side of the yard and make your back and forth passes along the edge of the grass. Then, go back over that line to make sure you get all of the grass.
After it has dried, you can let your dog back in the yard. Just make sure you don’t let them back in for at least two days so the weed killer has time to dry and doesn’t cause any accidental poisoning.
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Sources & references used in this article:
Volatile metabolites controlling germination in buried weed seeds by RE Holm – Plant physiology, 1972 – Am Soc Plant Biol
Weed Control from Herbicide Combinations with Glyphosate1 by DR Shaw, JC Arnold – Weed Technology, 2002 – BioOne
High-temperature effects on germination and survival of weed seeds in soil by GH Egley – Weed Science, 1990 – JSTOR
Weed management in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) with soil-applied and post-directed herbicides by JW Wilcut, DL Jordan, WK Vencill, JS Richburg III – Weed technology, 1997 – JSTOR
Periodicity of germination and emergence of some annual weeds by EW Stoller, LM Wax – Weed Science, 1973 – JSTOR
Efficacy of acifluorfen on broadleaf weeds. Times and methods for application by SD Lee, LR Oliver – Weed Science, 1982 – JSTOR