Creeping Charlie

Creepers! Creeping Charlie’s are a hardy, weed. Follow columnist Diane Dunham’s recipe to remove from your garden.

It’s time for most of us to start up the mowers and be a slave to the yard for the next six months.

Weeds in the turf can be the scourge of the finicky yard person. I get it — I don’t like them in the flower beds either. Some weed plants are easier to recognize like the dandelion. Yippee. It’s always a thrill to know they didn’t freeze out over winter.

I have always wondered about the tricky dandelion plant, and how the bright yellow flower magically lays down right before you go over it with the mower? How about a carpet of purple blooms? Creeping Charlie no doubt.

Why is it that we hate the durable, hardy Creeping Charlie but revere the pachysandra as a ground cover? Yes, gardeners can be particular about who to love.

A weed by definition is an unwanted plant. Charlie is a weed in my landscape and here is a simple recipe to get rid of it:

A broad leaf herbicide is effective as well as an old-fashioned soap — 20 Mule Team Borax.

The recipe calls for dissolving 1/4 cup of borax in a cup or so of water. Once dissolved pour through a sieve into a sprayer, and add enough additional water to make 1.25 gallons of mix.

Adjust the recipe to the amount of final product you need. Creeping Charlie is very sensitive to the boron in the soap and is killed off. Grasses and other plants are not as sensitive and should be unharmed.

Use the recommended rates, as too much boron can kill other plants … more is not better in this case. It is also recommended that you only use this once per season.

It’s best to apply when temps are between 60-80 degrees, and when rain is not predicted for two days. I have used this with success in the flower beds. The bees love foraging on it so I let it go in my turf.

Well, actually calling my yard turf may be a generous description. It is more like 10% dandelions, 10% Creeping Charlie, 30% weed grasses, 30% actual turfgrass and the remaining 20% is bare spots. I am a much better gardener than turf management specialist!

What about moss? Moss is your friend. Many turf people despise moss and try their best to destroy it. Moss typically grows in shady areas where establishing grass is difficult. Where moss does, grass doesn’t! Shady areas should not be mowed as often as sunny areas.

The blades of shady grass types are thinner and they can’t create enough food for themselves with limited sun if you keep mowing them off. From a distance moss is green, your neighbors will never know.

Late bloomers

This time of year, we always get concerned about the plants that didn’t come back! It is still early and in my garden the following are just starting to peek through: coneflowers, some Asiatic lilies, hostas and mums.

Others that are always late and not showing yet are asclepias, Joe Pye Weed, baby’s breath and Perovskia. All of your peonies, geraniums, daylilies, spring bulbs, sedums, grasses etc. should be growing. Give them time, just in case they are bit late — not much rain to coax them along.

Just watered this past weekend, first time I remember having to water in the spring. So, before watering I put down about 40# of Preen, pre-emergence weed herbicide. It’s always hard to measure if it really works. This year I am doing a side-by-side comparison with two identical half circle shaped beds that I save for my zinnias.

Last year, both beds were full of annual weed seeds that emerged into weeds! In order to have a good comparable, I have to treat each bed the same except for the one variable — Preen. Both beds were shuffle hoed, one was preened and both were watered — let the games begin!

Our first outdoor market will be at the Best Buy parking lot on Adams Street on May 2, 8 a.m. to noon. You can also follow the Mankato Farmer’s Market information on our Facebook page. You can check out my Facebook page as well — Market Bakery.

To respect everyone’s health, and ensure that the market can stay open, please do the following if you plan to shop.

- Stay home if you are sick-Send only 1 healthy family member to shop-Keep a 6 foot distance from others

- Don’t mingle

-Make a list to expedite your shopping trip

-Wash your hands often, stations will be set up

-No onsite consumption of food

-Shop with your eyes, vendors will handle items

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