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Do My Own Lawn Care - Weed Control Around Trees

By DoMyOwn staff

Got weeds popping up in and around your ornamental beds that contain trees and shrubs? If so, you will want to watch this video before laying waste to them with an herbicide. There are some things that you need to keep in mind and understand before spraying near the trunks and root systems of trees and shrubs. That is exactly what we cover in this video.

Video Transcript

This is seriously depressing to look at.

I am so ready for this yard to be green that I was this close.. this close to grabbing some of the lawn paint that we sell, mixing it up in my backpack sprayer, and actually painting this lawn green.

But, I didn't. I'll be patient. Another thing that's going on is we're having some unseasonably warm weather that is causing some things to spring to life and bloom a little bit early, like my Bradford Pears here. Let me see if I can zoom in here. So you see, it's starting to bloom out and spring to life. Now this isn't in my yard, this is in my neighbor's yard, but this is kind of the story throughout my whole neighborhood.

A lot of these weeds - their seeds are really freaking out from all this unseasonably warm weather and they're starting to germinate. This right here and all of this has really just started to show up in the past couple of days because of the warm weather. But seeing that problem in everybody's yard did get me thinking about my own yard, so I took a little stroll just to take a look at it to make sure my pre and post emergent application that I did is doing its job and so far so good, don't really have any problems except for in a couple of areas.

One of those areas is this garden bed right here. If you remember this is where I had a lot of those bushes that I ripped out and gotten rid of. I have yet to make a decision on what I'm gonna do here. I think I'm getting closer - time will tell. But just to point out - in all honesty, I've completely forgotten to spray any type of weed control in this area, so you can see the results.

You can see these weeds starting to pop up in this area - so I'm going to have to do something about this.

And another one of those areas is the garden bed around my crepe myrtles in these bushes in my front yard. Nice little cluster of weeds right there.. some right there... and alongside where the turf meets this garden bed. That's where I've got an issue. And I've got to take care of it, but I've got something I need to keep in mind. And it's something I wanted to talk about in this video.

So the post-emergent so that I have to spot-spray the weeds in and around my yard states on the label that I should not apply it to the root systems of trees or shrubs. So then that led me down this rabbit-hole journey of trying to figure out how you can spray herbicides safely around trees and shrubs without harming them.

So that got me thinking that I am probably most likely gonna have to tackle this the good ole-fashioned way and pull these weeds ... by hand. But before doing that, I asked around -- we started doing some research and here's some things you've gotta think about when spraying herbicides around trees and shrubs.

This lighting is killing me, these clouds, I mean it's just these clouds have no idea that I'm trying to make a video! So first, let's talk about the dripline of trees and why it's important to consider when using herbicides. The dripline is an area located on the outer circumference of the tree branches. When the tree canopy gets wet, any excess water sheds off to the ground along this dripline.

Think of it kinda like an umbrella - when an umbrella gets wet it rolls from the top, off the sides, and down to the bottom. This is also known as the "Critical Root Zone" or the "Root Protection Zone". And most of the time you can easily figure out where this is at because it will form a natural circle on the ground underneath the branches of the tree canopy.

This area, the "dripline", that's where the most active water absorption happens, not close to the trunk, like most people tend to believe. This is also where you're gonna find tiny little feeding rootlets that take nutrients and water from the soil up through the root system to the tree. And this brings up another good point -- you should know your plants and your trees to know whether they have a shallow root system or a deep root system.

The soil surrounding your plants and your trees is known as the "Root Zone" and that acts kind of like a storage tank for moisture and nutrients. So when applying fertilizing nutrients, it's important to get it as close to those feeding rootlets as possible, so that it is taken up by the root system and taken to the plant and tree as needed. So I had to do a little research and get to know my crepe myrtles a little bit better and figure out how their root systems work so that I don't end up harming them.

A healthy growing crepe myrtle tree it's gonna have an expansive root zone in the top six to 24 inches of soil and endentured clay soils, the roots may not penetrate as deep as say like a sandy soil type. Crepe Myrtle roots often dwell near the soil surface and they'll give rise to suckering shoots which are also called water sprouts.

Now if you have a taller crepe myrtle, those roots tend to angle more downward to act as more of a stabilizing or anchoring root. Another fun fact about crepe myrtles is their root system can grow two to four times the width of their tree canopy. So for example if your tree canopy is about ten feet wide, the root system can be twenty to forty feet across the tree trunk located in the center.

So knowing all of that information and more importantly, knowing what it states on my product label- once again it says not to apply to the root systems of trees or shrubs .. it looks like I'm gonna have to get my hands dirty. [music] [Paul picks up weeds by hand] I would say that was a lot of fun but, it's never fun to pick weeds but hand.. But hey, it is what it is - It's done.

Now I'm not saying you can't spray herbicides around trees, shrubs, and ornamentals. We do sell herbicides that are in fact safe to spray ornamental beds. And we even sell some you can spray over the tops of ornamentals. I'll link both of those in the description box below. In summary, when it comes to spraying herbicides around trees and plants, you should really educate yourself.

Know your trees, know your tree canopies, know where their driplines are, know the root system - all of that stuff is gonna play a part on whether you should spray a herbicide around them. And like we've preached in many videos before, read the product label of any product you are going to be using in and around your yard. I know it can get a little hard reading those product labels.. you can kinda get lost in the language, but just do the best that you can and seriously our Customer Service Staff are amazing - they're freaking awesome at helping you understand the language and knowing what these product labels are trying to tell you and understanding them so you can safely apply these products in and around your yard.

Now on to this area right here. We're gonna spot spray here. [Sprayer noises] A couple of things to know before spot-spraying for weeds in your yard. One: PPE - Long sleeves, Gloves, Long Pants : Make sure you're safe. As for the product that you're gonna be using, what you should select, if you know specifically what weeds you're tackling, you wanna get the one that's targeting those or is listed on its label. And if you just have no freaking clue what kinda weeds you have, Customer Service Team can help ya out there as well. They've helped me identify weeds in my yard, they've helped me select the product I need, they are seriously... Amazing. For something very specific like crabgrass or any other hard to control weed like that, you're gonna need a very specific product and program to tackle that. So, education is important to success. It takes a little bit of time but the results are very, very worth it.

If you're not tackling something specific or hard to control, just select a product that has a wide range of weeds listed on its label. So now on to actually physically spot-spraying these weeds. You wanna just lightly coat them - you don't wanna drench them to the point of runoff. You're most likely gonna kill what you have there, but also keep in mind that you're probably gonna have to repeat this process throughout the growing season. And once again, to really prevent these weeds from popping up in the first place, you'll wanna get on a pre-emergent application program.

The best time to do this is in the Fall but if you missed that window, right before Spring is another great time to put a pre-emergent down in the yard. Alright, enough talk: time to get to spraying.

And done! I'm still seriously thinking about getting that lawn paint and painting my lawn green... Maybe.

And there you go I hope this video helped you out. If you have any other further questions on anything I touched on in this video, as always, leave those in the comment section below, email our Customer Service Staff, or pick up the phone and give us a call.

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You can click this playlist to see all the videos in the Do My Own Lawn Care series and.. Click this playlist to see all the videos in the Do My Own gardening series.

And ... as always, thanks for watching!