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Learn how to battle weeds

Posted 2/9/2009

Gardeners form plan of attack against uninvited plant life

They’re everywhere, and at times they can seem unstoppable. But for citizens of Northern Nevada, there is hope. Sue Donaldson and University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) will present tactics and tips to "Gain the Upper Hand on Weeds" Tuesday (Feb. 10) as part of a weekly "Gardening in Nevada" series at Bartley Ranch Regional Park. The free event starts at 6:30 p.m. and covers garden management, plant identification and effective removal practices.

Donaldson, water-quality specialist for UNCE, said effective weed control begins with an assessment of the entire garden.

"It’s an approach called integrated weed management which focuses on not just killing the weeds, but also getting the garden back to a healthy and vigorous condition," Donaldson said. "It goes beyond ’what to spray a plant with to kill it,’ because sometimes you get something else that shows up and could be worse than the original weed."

Proper plant identification is a crucial practice in the battle against weeds.

"It’s important to identify the plant," Donaldson said. "Gardeners need to look at how the plant grows and how it reproduces. They should also look at their site and think about how they got weeds in the first place."

There are several different approaches to weed removal, including using mechanical means to kill weeds, altering the management of the site, and using chemical controls like pesticides. Donaldson and her team of "Master Gardeners" will demonstrate how to combine all of these tactics.

"Weeds tend to show up in March, so we need to take a proactive approach to weed management now," Donaldson said. "It’s important to act now in order to avoid problems this summer. People who come to this seminar will learn what they should be doing now to make their job in the summer a lot easier."

For more information about the Master Gardener program, a free series offered weekly at Bartley Ranch Regional Park, contact Wendy Hanson Mazet at 775-784-4848 or hansonw@unce.unr.edu.

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