Had some rather aggressively growing dandylions and chickweed, but too soon
after a previous round of fertilizer to use Weed 'n' Feed, so I picked up
some Ortho weed killer - the kind in the bottle you put on your garden
hose - and began treating. The instructions say that in certain
concentrations it's safe for lawns, and in heavier concentrations it starts
killing just about everything it touches.
It worked as I expected it to, though some overspray hit the peonies. The
ones hit by the overspray are now growing in curlycues, though other than
some truly bizarre twists and turns appear to be growing normally, getting
ready to bloom and everything. So, have I permanently damaged the plants,
or will they be okay next season? We plan to move the beds, so if I have to
discard those bulbs that'll be the time anyway.
Thanks Doug. "Maybe" what? Maybe I've killed the plants? Maybe they'll
grow back? What? To be perfectly frank, it wasn't a terribly helpful
For the record, I've done the best I know how at working to make the lawn
healthier - considering that I started with something that looked like a
topographical map of Northern Afghanistan the fact that with a few years
attention and little budget I have mostly healthy grass with a few remaining
trouble spots is good progress. I'm quite certain that if I'd said "I
applied weed'n'feed within a month of fertilizer and crabgrass preventer"
you'd have said I'm fertilizing too much. You can't have it both ways.
So, the original question, as yet constructively unanswered, remains: are
the peonies permanently damaged?
Sorry....I'm in the midst of a battle with a neighbor who's addicted the
ChemLawn, too close to the property line. So, I'm in a MOOD. Honestly,
there's no way of knowing if you've killed the plant. I'd call Ortho. If it
were mine, I'd flood it with water daily, hope for the best, and see what
happens next year around this time.
Most of the weed/feed combos carry a warning not to use in the root zone
of non-grass plants (shrubs, flowers, trees). Some weed killers work
through roots, some through foliage. If the growth is distorted but
still alive, you may not have killed the peonies, but distorted growth
is how some herbicides kill. I like to fertilize a week or two before
using weed killer so's the weeds are sure to be actively growing when I
put on the herbicide - they drink more poison. We got a nasty lawn
cleaned up nicely, so all-over weed treatment isn't needed. I spot
treat when there are too many to hand weed. Plucking one weed plant may
keep a thousand seeds from landing on the lawn, so it is often worth the
effort. Proper maintenance produces turf that protects itself - thick
turf will shade weed seeds to keep them from germinating keeps the soil
from drying out. If I have a weed that is too hard to pull, I've
brushed on RoundUp to kill it and not hurt the surrounding grass.
If it's at all possible to spot treat, in the future, try that. The
sprayers aren't expensive and you'll save yourself a lot of trouble
down the road. As has been mentioned, only time will tell about your
peonies. Over spraying/treating is a sreious problem; much more serious
than dandelions & chickweed. One other suggestion for a healthy lawn
that you've probably heard is that you shouldn't mow it too short. You
may have to mow more frequently to maintain the look of the grass, but
your lawn will thank you for it in the long run.
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