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Controlling plantain long-term

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by CW-DXer, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. CW-DXer

    CW-DXer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 40

    Greetings from a homeowner in northern NJ (suburban NYC).

    Since moving in 5 years ago I'm locked in a yearly battle against broadleaf plantain. When we bought the house, the previous owners didn't do much to the lawn and it was essentially a weedfest when we moved in. In 3 years I've eliminated 95% of it and through yearly core aerations and overseedings, an irrigation system, 5 fertilizations a year, lime and 3" mowings, I have a pretty good looking lawn...except for the damned plantain. I've even had a dozen or so neighbours come up and ask which company does my lawn!

    The grasses are mostly various types of TTTF and RG, with some KBG in the front. Back and north side yards are fairly heavily shaded, front gets 6 hours of sun in the summer but is under three 100' tall oaks. I've never had much of a crabgrass problem (a bit here and there), but plantain, creeping charlie and poa annua are the only real nemeses to my lawn.

    For weed control I'm using Weed-B-Gon MAX to spot treat only, usually in mid-to-late June but often weeds are present in the hot summer months and frankly I'd like to find a long-term solution to getting rid of these pests. I'm using a slightly hotter WGB dilution than recommended on the label, putting its percentages a tad closer to Q4 Plus, and I'm very satisfied with the results...but I'm always reacting as opposed to being proactive in preventing them. Is there anything I can do to stop them darned things from coming up in the first place? I'm pretty sure Dimension doesn't protect against plantain.

    If we get another hot July and August and another round of plantain creeps up on me (plus crabgrass, since I didn't lay down Dimension this year), am I basically stuck with it for 2012, since I plan to aerate/overseed again in mid-September?

    Thanks in advance.

    MS_SURVEYOR LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,002

    I did a little reading on this just because. Broadleaf plantain is a hard one to control. Most everything I read seems that pulling the weed out by the roots before it flowers and seeds by hand. Preemergence herbicides, is only one, atrazine- AAtrex 4L. Postemergence herbicides, 2,4-D amine, Solution Water Soluble, Confront, Glyphosate Original, Roundup. Postemergence spraying has it's problems. It's going to kill everything. That got me to thinking. Not always good thou. Why not mix some Roundup in a bucket, get a paint brush, and walk around and paint the leaves of the plantain with the Roundup. That way you kill the weed but do not kill the grass around it. Like I said I'm not always there. :dizzy:

    MS_SURVEYOR LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,002

    Sorry! Double post! :hammerhead:
  4. CW-DXer

    CW-DXer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 40

    If the Weed-B-Gon Max doesn't kill it I'll hit it with homeowner-grade Glyphosate of some brand or another (Lowes had a sale on Bayer this year) and that'll take care of the big, fully-grown plants, but again, this is reactionary rather than pro-active, and is also impractical for the fairly heavy infestation over about 1500 sq. ft. where it's at its worst. My lawn is about 1/3 of an acre and hand-pulling is out of the question for me due to two arthritic knees. Better living through chemistry is my preferred process.

    You mentioned AAtrex. Is this available for sale to and safe for use by homeowners (as opposed to licensed applicators only, which I am not)? How effective is this product? For pre-em, I'd been using Lesco's Dimension 0.15%+fertilizer in mid-March and late-April. Would I use AAtrex in lieu of Dimension and just use straight fertilizer instead for the feeding?
  5. CW-DXer

    CW-DXer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 40

    EDIT: I looked up AAtrex 4L and it doesn't appear to be something that I can buy as an unlicensed applicator - remember, I'm just a lowly homeowner ;D.

    The WBG Max I'm using now does do a decent job, but as I said, it's in reaction to existing weeds not something I can lay down at the beginning of the season and have done with it for the year. If there are any cultural practices I can change to make the soil less amenable to this nuisance weed I'm absolutely willing to do whatever's within my power. This 1500 sq. ft. area of greatest infestation is a relatively high traffic area that gets mostly indirect sunlight.
  6. dcgreenspro

    dcgreenspro LawnSite Senior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 688

    the plantain is telling you that the ground is severly compacted. I would suggest taking a soil test and amending the soil when you renovate. I am pretty sure that tenacity is labeled for plantain control, so you can spray before/ after seeding without an harm. finding a good shade seed is going to be your biggest test. I have tried a number of varieties but always go back to lesco. Might try some of the newer stuff from seedland (heavy rhizom creeping red fescue + shade tolerant kentucky blue).good luck
  7. CW-DXer

    CW-DXer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 40

    I had a soil test done back in March of this year; here's a link to the results https://dl.dropbox.com/u/463425/Soil%20Test.jpg. How or with what should I be renovating?

    Very interesting and I've added this to my shopping list for next year. Should this be used in conjunction with Dimension or in instead of Dimension in the spring? They say to use 1tsp/gallon, which sounds like the mix for spot treatment; can/should this be used with a hose-end sprayer to blanket the lawn?

    I've found Lesco seed to be a decent performer at times, although I've had mixed results with Park & Athletic in the infested parts of my lawn. I'm interested in the seedland stuff you're talking about. Do you have a link to anything in specific?

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