Category Archives: Weed Control

Articles about how to control weeds in Carlsbad, Artesia, and Southeast New Mexico

Is Fall Pre Emergent Weed Control Really Necessary

Is a Fall pre emergent weed control application for Carlsbad, Artesia and Southeast New Mexico lawns really necessary? Actually, it could be the most important application of your entire lawn care program. While it is good practice for all lawn types, it is especially true for warm season grasses like Bermuda and St Augustine that go dormant in the Winter.

Why In The Fall?

A fall pre emergent application is generally targeted toward cool weather annual broadleaf weeds that thrive in Winter and Spring. The seeds from these plants have been lying dormant in the ground since last Spring and will start to germinate in early Fall when the night time air temperature drops to and below 75 consistently. This is usually in mid to late September depending on the year. So to target these specific plants, you should spray in the early to mid Fall.

In the Winter lawn and especially in warm season turf lawns that go dormant, there is little competition for space and light. So the weeds germinate easily and can dominate large areas if seeds are present. This has the potential to be very damaging to the lawn when Spring arrives as the emerging grass will have to compete for space and light. After the Winter annuals die off, there can be bare areas left where crabgrass and other Summer weeds can take hold.

Some of the most common and troublesome Winter and Spring weeds you’ll notice in Carlsbad, Artesia, and Southeast New Mexico are Mustard (London Rocket), Henbit, Black Medic along with many others. And usually by late Fall to early Spring they will be well established and quite noticeable in dormant lawns. As the weather warms, they will flourish, re-seed, and then start to die off leaving more seeds to repeat the process next Fall.

So a Fall application of pre emergent herbicide applied before these seeds germinate will help to minimize if not completely eliminate their presence. This, in our opinion is a lot better approach than going through the same cycle year after year of waiting until they’ve overtaken a  yard in the Spring and then addressing them.

An important advantage to adding this step to your program is in breaking the life cycle of certain species. If they can’t germinate and grow, they can’t re-seed and therefor become less and less of a problem to try and control. Sure, you may still get an occasional volunteer sprout here and there. However, pulling or treating a few weeds is a lot better option than dealing with hundreds or even thousands.

Now, if you’re specifically targeting a plant such as Sand bur, Puncture Vine or some other Summer annual, a Fall application isn’t going to help much if any as these plants don’t start to germinate until the weather and ground temperature starts to warm again. In the case that these are what you’re wanting to target, your Spring application followed by a mid Summer application will be more successful at addressing these.

A Consistent Weed Control Program

Creating a beautiful thick lawn is hardly ever by accident. It requires a thought out strategy of several elements that include a consistent weed control program. In most cases, one application in the Spring will not last an entire year.

While the presence of weeds is largely dependent on the health and fullness of the turf, it is a continual process to keep it that way. Your program should also include a timed fertilizer program and grub control treatments as well as pre and post emergent herbicide treatments.

Most programs for most lawns should include at least a Spring and Fall treatment. And sometimes more. Again, it depends on the condition of the turf and what specific weeds you’re wanting to target. However, over time as a thicker healthier lawn is established, there may not be a need for as many treatments.

So is it necessary? In most applications, we say yes. Honestly, we feel it’s the most important application of the season. It helps stop a lot of problems before they even begin. Only doing one pre emergent application in the Spring will only give control for part of the season. It is a never ending battle and continued cycle that repeats itself year after year.

So whether you do it yourself or have a weed control professional do it, consider at least a second pre emergent application in the Fall. As well as breaking the cycle of seeding and re-seeding, it will buy you some time for getting your Spring application down when things are getting busy at the first of the year.

Professional Weed Control Services

If you live in Carlsbad, Artesia, or other parts of Southeast New Mexico and would like help in creating a complete lawn weed control program, give Horizon Pest Control a call at 575-725-9331 . We can help you evaluate, plan, and get you started toward a healthier, thicker, greener weed free lawn.

How To Control Clover In Lawns

Clover is right at home in Carlsbad NM lawns as well as most lawns throughout the U.S..  Because of its perennial growth habit and rooting system, it is often one of the most difficult weeds to control. It can often take several herbicide treatments as well as other factors to completely eradicate it from your lawn. Aside from herbicide applications, we’ll look at the other factors necessary for successful clover control.

While some folks find clover to be a desirable addition to their lawn because, as they will often say, “it is green”, most folks don’t. So at least for the context of this article, we’ll consider Clover to be a weed since the true definition of a weed is any plant that is growing where you don’t want it to.

So at least for the context of this article, we’ll consider clover is a weed since the true definition of a weed is any plant that is growing where you don’t want it to.

The following information will be helpful if you plan to do your own clover weed control or as well as give you tips as to your part to supplement the efforts a professional weed and pest service.

Aside from the use of herbicides, the key to successfully controlling Clover is a thick lawn that chokes it out, a good fertilizer program with plenty of nitrogen and low phosphorus, and a lot of persistence. In most cases, the use of weed killers and pre emergent herbicides alone will not eradicate Clover from your lawn. And definitely not in one treatment and one season.

Developing a timed herbicide application  program is necessary. However, it shouldn’t be your only plan of action or main focus. As I point out over and over, your main goal and best defense against Clover and ALL WEEDS is a thick lawn with no room for weeds to grow.

So to start, and before a successful herbicide application program can begin, an evaluation of the overall health and state of the lawn is necessary. Some points to evaluate and get in order are -

  •  - Is the lawn too thin with a lot of bare spots? Could it benefit from overseeding to thicken up the turf? (NOTE: if you plan to overseed, a pre emergent application program will have to wait till later as pre emergents will prevent grass seed from sprouting as well as weed seeds.)
  •  - Are the nutrient levels in the soil right for controlling clover? As I stated and we’ll discuss further, clover control requires high nitrogen and low phosphorus levels in the soil.

I’ll not get too technical here. While there is a lot of science and technical information behind herbicides, the growth habits of plants, and other areas, we’ll stick to the most important basics of just getting Clover and other weeds out of your yard.

Interesting Weed Fact – Up until the 1950′s, clover was a common addition to many grass seed mixes. This is one of the reasons it is still so widespread in lawns today.

Is It Really Clover Or Black Medic?

Before we go any further, it may be helpful to determine whether you have clover, black medic which is often confused as clover, or both. While there are a few differences in the weeds, they both can be successfully treated and respond to most common herbicides so it really doesn’t matter. They’re both troublesome weeds that can throw off the texture and appearance of your lawn. And it’s just good to know the difference so that…’ll just know.


This is Black Medic. It has the little yellow flowers. It is a long lived Summer annual that can last several years and through a few very cold seasons.


Black Medic Weed
















This is White Clover.

White Clover


So Why Is Clover And Black Medic So Hard To Control?

So you sprayed it or your weed control guy sprayed and it was gone. And then, after a few weeks or months, it started to come back. So you sprayed again, and again, and…

Let’s start at the start and I’ll say it again (I know, it’s a bit repetitive). A thick stand of turf with plenty of constant nutrients is the best defense against weeds. This is especially true for plants like clover because it is a nitrogen fixing legume. It gathers nitrogen from the air and puts it back into the soil. It doesn’t need or necessarily like a lot of nitrogen and is often a sign of a lack of nitrogen. So get on a good fertilization program to start. See – Fertilizing To Prevent Weeds In Lawns

Also, clover has a lot going on at the root level so it likes a lot of phosphorus. So a high nitrogen, low phosphorus fertilizer will work best for combating clover.

In order to control clover it’s important to understand the nature and type of the plant. It’s a perennial. As well, Black Medic is a long lived annual so it can respond in the same way. That means that it comes back every year from the root as well as from seed. So while a pre emergent herbicide application may address the seeds, it won’t touch the root growth. And if  a post emergent weed killer was applied, many of the plants that hadn’t appeared yet, won’t be affected either.

So, with that said, it’s important to be constant and address it as soon as you see it. This is where a lot of attempts to control clover fail. A lack of persistence. If you’re doing your weed control yourself, just keep some over the counter herbicide that’s labeled for clover and black medic on hand and give it a squirt as soon as you see it.

Pulling it and digging it up is almost pointless. Unless you get every bit of the root system, it will just regenerate. Spray it so as to get it all the way to the root level.

When Is The Best Time To Treat Clover?

Fall is the best time to treat your lawn for clover. There are a few reasons for this.

In the late Summer and early Fall, most if not all of the plant is actively growing with a lot of leaf surface above ground. And of course, the more of the leaf surface you can treat, the more of the whole weed will be killed to the roots.

As well, in the Fall, the plants are actively creating and sending lots of starches and sugars to the roots to store up for Winter dormancy. So of course, this is the best time to kill it at the root level.

Professional Clover And Weed Control

At Horizon, we understand that professional weed control for something like this can be outside the scope of many budgets. It can take, several treatments in one year, and the other factors we’ve pointed out to get some yards to the point of fewer necessary treatments.

Part of the purpose of this article is to help you help us to have more successful results. We’re always willing to work with folks as a team or even educating them on a do it yourself plan of action. If you live in Carlsbad NM, Artesia NM, or other parts of Southeast New Mexico and need assistance with Clover or other weeds in your lawn, give Horizon a call today at 575-725-9331 .


Lawn Weed Control Tips – Fertilizing To Prevent Weeds In Lawns

Fertilizing As An Important Step To A Weed Free Lawn

Photo of a weed free residential lawn

Weed Free Fertilized Lawn

I’ll say it again. The best weed control in lawns (besides concrete) is a thick healthy stand of turf grass that leaves no room for invasive unwanted plants to gain a foothold. And while this is often easier said than done, it’s not unobtainable. Even so, it can still take several seasons and a lot of work to reach that point. However, once this goal is reached, it’s a lot less work to keep a yard healthy and weed free.

Proper fertilizing, along with other steps like proper watering and pre emergent, plays a very important role in creating healthy weed free lawns. Besides the obvious reason that it helps create healthy grass plants than can more successfully choke out weeds, there are many opportunistic weeds such as sand bur that prefer an infertile soil in order to thrive.

While the mechanics of actually spreading fertilizer on the lawn are simple, proper methods are often overlooked, misunderstood, or not known at all. Improper applications can actually make the turf grass weaker or have little benefit at all.

When And How Much?

For most folks, a fertilizing program consists of a heavy application of high nitrogen fertilizer in the Spring and generally nothing else for the rest of the growing season. This usually produces a very green fast growing lawn for about six weeks along with the need to mow every three days or so. The desired results are there…at first. However, long term results can be minimal along with some not so obvious problems later in the Summer and in the grass plants themselves.

While a heavy nitrogen application can produce a fast thick beautifully green colored lawn to start, it can actually create very weak plants with very little root system that can’t withstand disease and drought. This in turn will eventually leave a very thin stand of turf with lots of room for invasive weeds.

Also, nitrogen is very soluble and readily available in most commercial fertilizers and plants will absorb as much as they can and more than necessary while it is available. Then it’s gone. It’s best to apply several light fertilizer applications over the growing season rather than one or two heavy applications all at once. This helps ensure that there is always an adequate supply throughout the season rather than a shot in the arm and then nothing.

It’s best to apply several light fertilizer applications over the growing season rather than one or two heavy applications all at once.

While some manufacturers instructions on the bag recognize and follow this approach, most don’t. And while the manufacturers generally give proper application amounts per application, the nitrogen is generally depleted before the next suggested application. Remember what I said about nitrogen being very soluble and that plants will use more than they need until it’s gone?

Macro & Micro Fertilizer Nutrients

Most lawn fertilizers will have phosphorous and potassium along with the nitrogen which are generally the most vital, utilized, and necessary elements required for good healthy plants and root systems. These are called Macro Nutrients. However, these aren’t the only nutrients required for healthy plant growth. Plants also need a periodic micro nutrient supplement.

While most soils will have adequate amounts of the lesser micro nutrients available, it’s still good practice to supplement the soil with one application of a full spectrum macro and micro nutrient fertilizer once every three years or so. Some lawn fertilizers do have minor amounts of iron, zinc, copper, etc. in them or it may be necessary to incorporate a general purpose or tree food mix into the program. Once every three years is generally more than enough for most soils.

Some lawn fertilizers do have minor amounts of iron, zinc, copper, etc. in them or it may be necessary to incorporate a general purpose or tree food mix into the program.

A Word About Soil PH

Proper soil PH is critical for proper nutrient uptake in lawn grass and other plants. For example, there could be plenty of iron in the soil but if the soil ph is incorrect, it will be locked up in the soil and the lawn can’t access or use it. And with common fertilizers, it doesn’t matter how much you apply, it won’t be accessible.

Proper soil PH for most grass types is 6 to 7 which is slightly acidic to neutral. Generally, the soil around here in Carlsbad, Artesia, and Southeast New Mexico is a bit on the alkaline side. For alkaline soils some agricultural sulfur may be necessary to bring it in balance. For acidic soils, a bit of lime may be necessary.

If a fertilizer application doesn’t bring a dull lawn to proper healthy color, it’s best to do a PH test before you go dump another application on it. You could have plenty of nutrients in the soil but the plants simply can’t access it and use it.

Inexpensive soil ph and nutrient test kits are usually available at hardware stores, do it yourself centers, or online.

A Word About Winterizing Fertilization

Winterizing with fertilizer is an important step for cool season grasses like Fescue that stay green in the colder months. Obviously, if they’re green, there’s something still going on there. However, the nutrient requirements are different at this time of year and a fertilizer with very little nitrogen and medium amounts of phosphorus and potassium is best for root production and preparation for Spring.

Warm season grasses like Bermuda and St. Augustine that go dormant in the colder weather do not need winterizing in the Fall. While the grass plants are still somewhat active at the root level preparing for next season, they don’t need added nutrients.

Late Fall fertilizing of warm season grasses can actually cause great harm to the turf. A late Fall application of nitrogen and other nutrients can stimulate unwanted growth as the turf is trying to go dormant. And if the plants are green and growing when a freeze happens, it will kill the grass that is growing leaving bare spots in the Spring. And bare areas not only mean an ugly lawn but are also areas where weeds can set up home.

While it may not seem as direct a link to weed control as pulling weeds, herbicides, and pre emergent applications, fertilizing is a very important step in a long term lawn weed prevention program.

If you have any questions or would like us to help you develop a weed control program for your lawn or property, give Horizon a call today at 575-725-9331. Whether you hire us or do it yourself, we’re always happy to offer advice and help out.

Weed Spraying Explained – Spraying The Blue Stuff

In the past few years, weed spraying to control unwanted weeds and grasses in lawns, planting beds, and other areas has become more and more popular and visible. I’m sure you’ve noticed the “blue stuff” a lot more on lawns and other areas during certain times of the year.

This article will help define the different types of weed control spraying applications, their different uses, different types of herbicides used, and how they may be beneficial to you.

First, a note about The Blue Stuff – A lot of folks are under the impression that the herbicides and weed killers themselves are blue and that the amount used is indicated by how dark or light the blue color is when applied.

Actually, the blue color is just an indicator dye that allows the applicator to see where they have already sprayed. This helps prevent excessive overlapping and over spraying which makes the applications safer and more economical.

While you’ll notice that some lawns and other applications are very dark blue, at Horizon we generally keep our applications on the light side. We do this for a few reasons. While the indicator dye is relatively inexpensive, the accumulated cost of many yards can add up. And of course that cost has to be filtered into the price. As well, a lot of our clients have expressed that they don’t care to have their properties blue for weeks.

So, we only use as little as needed for us to see and do and get effective results. Again, the depth of blue is not an indicator of the active chemical ratio.

Types Of Herbicide Weed Sprays

There are several different types of herbicides and weed killer sprays to address specific applications for different results. I won’t get too scientific with this. I’ll do my best to explain everything in a way that’s easy to understand. See Weed Control And Herbicides for a more detailed explanation of all the ins and outs of these types of chemicals and how to use them.

First, There are selective and non-selective herbicides.

  • - Selective Herbicides – These are chemicals that are used to control and kill some vegetation species without harming others. These are most commonly used in lawn applications or planting beds with desirable plants and trees. For example, dandelion or sand bur can be targeted and killed without harming the surrounding lawn turf. As well, there are some that will kill one type of grass without harming another grass type.
  • - Non-Selective Vegetation Killers – These are generally used in areas where no vegetation is desired or to spot spray in confined or other areas. A good example of a non-selective herbicide is glyphosate (Roundup). It is designed to kill most plants including grasses.

Pre Emergent

Again, not to get too scientific, pre emergents are designed to stop weed and other plant seeds from sprouting and growing. They generally don’t have any effect on existing vegetation that’s already growing.

There are many types of these chemicals in different strengths and chemical make ups to target different plant groups, species, and application areas. The most common areas where these are used are lawns and planting beds. Most are selective as explained above.

Post Emergent

Post, meaning after, emergent herbicide weed killers are designed to kill existing vegetation that is actively growing after it has already sprouted. These can be used in most applications but are also commonly used in lawns and planting beds. These can be selective or non-selective as explained above.

There are a lot of these chemicals that target different groups and species as well. A good example of a selective post emergent weed killer used in lawns is 2,4-D. This is one of the most common herbicides for lawn use that is still available to the general public in products like Ortho Weed-B-Gone. For example, it can be used to target dandelion without harming the surrounding lawn.

Bare Ground Soil Sterilant

These herbicides are always non-selective. They kill all vegetation including grasses for an extended amount of time. These are most generally used in industrial sites, oilfield weed control, fence lines, driveways, vacant lots, and planting areas without desirable ornamentals, trees, and other plants.

Bare ground soil sterilants can be very dangerous and unpredictable if not used correctly and cautiously. Honestly, they should only be applied by licensed knowledgeable pest control applicators.

There are a few reasons these chemicals can be so dangerous. One, if the wrong type for the wrong situation is used, it can be moved from the target site by wind or rain. If it is moved into an area where desirable plants are, the results are predictable. A lot of beautiful ageless trees have been lost due to this.

Another is when these chemicals are spray close to or over the root zone of desirable plants and trees. Again, these chemicals can move laterally and vertically in the soil due to wind and irrigation.

And yet another is when irresponsible applicators spray during breezy or windy conditions. Even the slightest breeze can cause enough drift to harm or kill nearby plants. Again, spraying these herbicides should only be done by licensed experienced applicators.

So there you have it. A little non scientific easy to understand explanation of weed spraying and what the blue stuff is.

I would also like to add that there are a lot of these post and pre emergents that come in granular form which are often more practical for the home owner who wants to do it themselves. Most folks don’t generally have access to the type of commercial sprayers that professional applicators have. If you do it yourself, Read and follow the label. It’s the law.

If you plan to do it yourself and have application or safety concerns, feel free to give us a call. Or if you would like professional weed spraying and control services for your lawn or property, give Horizon a call today at 575-725-9331.


Lawn Weed Control In Carlsbad, Artesia, & Southeast New Mexico

For professional weed control in Carlsbad, Artesia, and Southeast New Mexico,
Contact Horizon Pest Control

Creating beautiful lawns in Southeast New Mexico often requires more than just applying weed killers once or twice a year. It can require a multi-step ongoing program of different elements to create a thick healthy lawn that also includes pre and post emergent herbicides as just one part of the program.

Photo of a weed free residential lawn

A Weed Free Lawn

Without a doubt, the most effective means of a weed free yard is a thick lush lawn that chokes out unwanted invasive plants. This often takes other means than simply applying herbicides to reach that point. However, once that point is reached, keeping weeds from taking a hold in your lawn generally requires minimal time, effort, and fewer chemicals.

This guideline will prove helpful whether you plan to do it yourself or hire a yard and weed control professional to help you with the project.

Using Post & Pre Emergent Herbicides

Pre-emrgent herbicides are chemicals that disrupt the sprouting and growth of newly germinated seeds while post emergent herbicides work to kill existing growing broadleaf and grassy weeds and stickers.

While the use of post and pre-emergent herbicides is an effective and often necessary tool in this multi-step program it is often misunderstood and not used correctly. A lot of folks are under the impression that they can simply apply weed killer and pre-emergent once a year in the Spring to their yard and have total weed control for the entire year. Not in most cases. This thinking not only leads to disappointment in their lawn care or pest control professional but also the idea that post and pre-emergent herbicides are not effective at all.

The fact is that weed control chemicals are very effective and should generally be applied at least twice a year and often more. At least once in the Spring and once in the Fall. However, there are several variables that can determine the frequency in which they should be applied. And oftentimes, more than two applications are needed.

Pre Emergents

The following considerations can be used to determine how long preemergent herbicides will stay effective in the soil and how many applications you may need a year -

  1. The Condition Of Your Lawn At The Beginning Of The Program – If your grass is thin or choked out completely by weeds it may be necessary to not only use weed killers at timed intervals a few times a year but also get on a specially designed program of soil conditioning, fertilizing, watering, and seeding.
  2. Soil Type – In Carlsbad, Artesia, and many areas of Southeast New Mexico, there can be several different soil types within the same area. From rich farm soil to totally organic depleted dirt to sandy soil to totally alkaline soils. This alone can determine how long the preemergents stay effective in the top layer of ground as well as how well post emergents even work.
  3. Types Of Weeds – Different types of plants germinate at different times of the year. Some in Spring, some in Summer, and some in the Fall. And while pre-emergents don’t generally last the entire season, most are not effective to all weeds and weed types. Also, some weed and grassy sticker plant seeds are viable for up to seven years or longer. And until they actually start to sprout, both post and preemergent herbicides will not be effective on them as these type of weed killers don’t sterilize the ground.
  4. Length Of Growing Season – Here in Carlsbad, Artesia, Southeast New Mexico, and a lot of the desert Southwest, the growing season is extended longer than in many areas. And since the effectiveness of these herbicides can dwindle over time and depending on the type of weeds or stickers you’re trying to control, it may be necessary to do up to three or more applications for good weed control.
  5. Amount Of Rainfall And Irrigation – Along with the type of soil and how long it holds the herbicides in the top layer of soil where seeds germinate, the amount of moisture that washes the herbicide into the soil must also be considered. The more moisture, the shorter the life of the herbicide and the more frequent the applications need to be.
  6. Type Of Pre Emergent – There are several pre emergent herbicides on the market to choose from. Some are effective longer than others. Along with that, their differences also make them effective on different weeds and types of weeds. Some work on broadleaf weeds such as dandelion while others are effective on grassy weeds like crabgrass and sand bur. And still, there are some that are somewhat effective on both. However, there are none that are effective to control all. It’s important to know your target and choose a pre-emergent that will give you the best protection for the longest amount of time. Do some research and read the labels.

Also See: The Best Time To Apply Pre-emergents In Southeast New Mexico for more information on proper timing and frequency of application.

About Split Applications Of Pre Emergents

A split application is the method of taking the yearly amount allowed on the label and splitting it into two applications over a period of time. This method generally gives longer protection against seeds that have longer germination cycles as well as increased season long protection against a larger variety of weeds.

Depending on the herbicide, the amount of time between applications could be anywhere between 4 to 16 weeks. The label will tell you the yearly amount allowed and many will give instructions regarding split applications.

Post Emergents / Weed Killers

As with pre-emergents, not all post emergent herbicides work on all types of weeds. Some work on broadleaf, some work on grassy types like sand bur and crabgrass, and some work on both. Again, it’s important to know your target, do a little research, and read the labels.

Probably the most common broadleaf herbicide still available to the general public is 2,4-D. It’s the active ingredient in Weed-B-Gone and other off the shelf herbicides. It can also be found in purer form at some farm and feed stores. If applied correctly, it generally does a good job of controlling a broad spectrum of the most common lawn weeds like dandelion.

Professional applicators, on the other hand, have access to a larger selection of herbicides that contain a combination of two or more active ingredients. Some of these are often referred to a 3 way herbicides because they contain a combination of 3 active ingredients. This gives the product the ability to control even a larger spectrum of weeds.

Some of these herbicides can be very dangerous to people, animals, and around other desirable plants. So if you happen to get your hands on them and plan on doing it yourself (which may be against the law), read and follow the label exactly.

As with all pesticides, fertilizers, and amendments, there are strict guidelines and instructions that should be followed such as -

  • - How much to use
  • - How much can be used in a year
  • - Proper timing between applications
  • - Proper handling
  • - Proper protective clothing that should be worn during application
  •  - Safety around other plants
  • - Correct application temperatures
  • - Proper weather and wind conditions during application
  • - How long before people and pets can re-enter the area
  • - And a list of other considerations specific to each herbicide used

Follow The Label – Follow The Label – Follow The Label


A Thick Lush Grass Lawn – The Best Defense

As I stated earlier, the best defense against weeds is a thick lush stand of turf. And so your first goal may be to begin to establish some thick grass. However, before you begin to seed or sod, there are some steps that need to be taken.

Keep in mind that if you plan to seed or sod a new lawn, you don’t want to apply any preemergents to the soil until after the lawn is well established. The chemicals not only prevent weed seeds from sprouting but also grass seeds or prune the roots of new sod. And while you do want to kill as many weeds and undesirable grasses as possible before planting, also keep in mind that post emergent weed killers can remain in the soil for several weeks after application. Generally a non-selective herbicide like Round Up is the best option. Consult the label before you apply anything.

The following things should be considered when attempting to establish a thick healthy lawn -

  1. The Condition Of The Soil – Either get the soil tested for ph and nutrient content by a professional, local extension service, or with a do it yourself kit that you can usually get from the local home garden center. Then adjust as necessary before you ever put any seed or sod to the ground. Adding organic matter is generally a good step in most soils as it will often buffer soils to the right ph, add nutrient content, and help in moisture retention.
  2. Plant The Correct Turf Type – Is the area shady, sunny, or both? If you’re starting with a Bermuda lawn in a sunny location, I suggest that you stay with the Bermuda turf type. While there are many Fescue varieties that do well in sunny hot locations here in Southeast New Mexico, Bermuda is a very aggressive grass and will generally choke out Fescue and other cool season grasses in a few seasons unless you eradicate it completely before you begin. If your yard is totally shady, go with a Fescue or other shady grass as Bermuda will not dominate in shade. If there are both shady and sunny areas, we often have good results planting both Fescue and Bermuda. The Fescue will dominate in the shady areas while the Bermuda will dominate in the sunny locations.
  3. Proper Irrigation – This is critical for keeping a lawn optimal, lush, and healthy. If you don’t have a sprinkler system and don’t have the time to be constantly moving a hose, you may consider installing a sprinkler system. Drought stressed and thirsty lawns leave a lot of blank areas where only opportunistic weeds will grow.
  4. Replenish Nutrient Content With The Right Fertilizer – Not all lawn fertilizers are made for every application, geographical location, soil type, and time of year. Consult your local county extension agent for more information about fertilizing lawns in your specific location.

More information about establishing a lawn in New Mexico can be found at Turfgrass Establishment.

So, in conclusion – Pre and post emergent herbicides are a supplementary tool in good lawn weed control in Carlsbad, Artesia, and Southeast New Mexico and not necessarily the first and most important step. Establishing a healthy thick stand of turf is.

Generally, when used as part of your weed control program, weed killers and pre emergents should be applied at least twice a year and possibly more depending on your specific situation. Once in the Spring, once in the Fall, and possibly in early Summer.

Professional Weed Control

If you live in the Carlsbad and Artesia New Mexico Area, Horizon Pest Control is available to either give free consultation to help you design a program to do it yourself or get you on schedule for professional weed control. We don’t require you to sign any contracts. Give us a call today at 575-725-9331.

Khaki Weed Control | How To Kill Khaki Weed

Khaki Weed Image

Khaki Weed Alternanthera caracasana

Khaki weed is one of the most difficult weeds to get rid of and control. As a matter of fact, a lot of the information that you find on this troublesome weed will tell you that you can’t get rid of it.

It can be found in the lawns of most southern states. We’ve found it to be present in over half of the lawns we treat in Carlsbad, Artesia, and most other areas in Southeast New Mexico.

Because of the amount of time, effort, and difficulty involved in eliminating Khaki weed we have placed it on our disclaimer list of weeds that won’t be controlled with our post and pre-emergent lawn applications. And because of the expense of hiring us or any other weed control company to remove it, we suggest it to be a do it yourself project which is the focus of this article. However, we will be glad to take care of it for you. Please just be aware that it will take an undetermined amount of service calls based on an hourly rate including chemicals.

Most Important Steps To Killing Khaki Weed

  1. The key, more than anything else, is diligent persistence. You can’t simply spray it once or pull it once and expect it to go away. It readily grows back from the existing tuber root or sprouts from existing seeds left from previous plants. Even spraying it with Glyphosate (Roundup) will only burn off the leaves and the plant generally regenerates from the root.
  2. Don’t let it go to seed. The sticker burs are the seed heads. While it’s not specifically researched by us, there is evidence that suggests that Khaki seeds are only viable for up to two years. So in the process of eliminating existing plants, make sure to cut off and dispose of any seed heads that may appear. With existing weeds killed and no new seeds, the problem will be under control within a few years. Ya. I know. A few years.

** NOTE ** While we will discuss the use of herbicides in this article, it cannot be considered as advice or recommendation of Horizon Pest Control, LLC of Carlsbad, New Mexico. The label on all pesticides is the law. If they’re even available to you at all, how and if you choose to use them is in your own discretion. The label is the law.

Identifying Khaki Weed

Khaki is a dark green perennial plant with succulent type leaves that has a matt like growth habit. Its seed heads are small hair like burrs which is one of the reasons this weed is such a problem in lawns.  See Khaki weed information from the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.

More Pictures Of Khaki Weed

 How To Kill Khaki Weed With Herbicide

** NOTE **  The herbicides mentioned here may or may not be available to the general public in your area. If not available, then it will be necessary to consult with a professional weed control company.

It’s easiest to kill these plants when they are young and in a tender immature stage in Spring. So you must monitor your lawn and begin treatment as soon as you begin to see young sprouts and continue as new sprouts emerge.

An initial general Spring time pre and post emergent treatment of the entire lawn to address these and other weeds is advisable. This will help eliminate most common weeds while giving the first application to the Khaki removal process. Generally, a three way herbicide like Trimec will give the best results.

** IMPORTANT NOTE **  Three way herbicides like Trimec and Celcius usually contain an herbicide called Dicamba. Dicamba can be dangerous to use around trees and other ornamental plants if not used correctly. Again, it is up to you to follow directions exactly. Read and follow the label. The label is the law.

It is our experience that it will take at least two and possibly more spot treatments of individual young plants to kill them. According to the timing interval and application rate that is allowed by the label, make these direct applications to individual young plants. If there are no trees or ornamentals present, it may be possible to use a three way herbicide. Otherwise, you can use a product with just 2,4-D. 2,4-D is generally available to the public at feed stores.

Use A Surfactant

*** This Is Important ***

Surfactants are compounds used to break the surface tension on the leaf surface of plants which allows the herbicide to penetrate better and be more effective. This is especially important on waxy leaf plants like khaki.

You can generally find professional surfactants online or at feed stores. However, an alternative compound that will do the trick is liquid detergent. NOT SOAP – DETERGENT. Simply adding a few drops into the mix will help break the surface tension on the leaf allowing the herbicide to penetrate better and do its job.

Stay on this program until the weeds are shriveled and dead. Again, only use these herbicides as long as the label allows and in the time frame and application rate allowed by the label. Also, remember to not let any plants go to seed during this time. Cut off any seed heads if necessary. It is pointless and a waste of energy to dig up the plant.

How To Get Rid Of Khaki Without Herbicide

This is a method we learned from a client and actually found it to be effective…most of the time. It involves pouring boiling water in the center of the plant. It is truly a do it yourself method that can be very time consuming if you have a lot of these weeds present in your lawn.

While it may be simple and chemical free, it still goes without saying that you need to be careful. Using a spill proof container such as a small spout tea kettle, you simply bring water to a boil and carry it into the yard where you have located the weeds.

Finding the exact center of the weed, you pour a small amount of boiling hot water in direct center of the plant where it comes out of the ground. You can watch the plant constrict and shrivel right before your eyes.

While we don’t know or can explain the science behind this, it is just an assumption that the boiling water causes the weed to constrict cutting off the life flow of any functions of the plant. It’s as simple as that…I guess.

Professional Weed Control

As I stated at the beginning of this article, due to the time involved, having a professional weed control company eliminate the Khaki Weed in your lawn could be expensive. You may choose to do it yourself because of this. However, if it’s something you don’t want to address, and you live in Carlsbad, Artesia, or Southeast New Mexico, you can contact Horizon Pest Control of Carlsbad, New Mexico and we will be glad to give you an idea of what it may cost.

Otherwise, we wish you great success in getting rid of this troublesome weed from your lawn and yard.


Best Time For Pre Emergent Weed Control In Southeast New Mexico

For professional weed control in Carlsbad, Artesia, and Southeast New Mexico,
Contact Horizon Pest Control

While this article does reference specifics for when to apply pre emergent weed control in the Carlsbad, Artesia, and Southeast New Mexico areas, much of the information here is relevant to all areas. Regardless of area, the main points are -

  •  - First identify the weed
  •  - Understand its life cycle to know the best time for application
  •  - Determine the best herbicide to use.
Dandelion Weed

Dandelion Weed

When it  comes to applying pre-emergent herbicides, proper timing is critical in consideration of the weeds and stickers you are trying to suppress. While there are some basic guidelines, good control or suppression is not always just about when the temperature is right. Different weeds make seed, germinate, and sprout at different times. Again, proper timing is a matter of first identifying the weed and then understanding the life cycles of the types of plants you’re targeting.

For Carlsbad, Artesia, And Southeast New Mexico

If you live in Carlsbad, Artesia, or anywhere in the Southeast New Mexico area, the life cycles of weeds, grassy  weeds and stickers will be different than those from different geographical zones of the rest of the country. The general guidelines that suggest March and September to be the optimal time to apply pre-emergent herbicides is not necessarily accurate for all weeds or a cure all for all in these areas.

In the desert Southwest climate of Southeast New Mexico, there are some weeds that are very adaptive and will grow year round. There are Winter annuals that will sprout when the Fall weather cools and grow until it gets warm. And still there are Summer annuals that will thrive in the heat and die out when the weather cools.

Trying to follow guidelines such as when the Forsythias bloom, when the soil temperature is right, or in March or September may only give you partial control. And in our temperate climate where the growing season is extended, three or more applications a year may be necessary for some weeds and stickers such as Sand Bur and Puncture Vine. Late germination can give just enough time for a plant to go through a short life cycle and produce seed for next year. Plants can be very adaptive to survive.

Weed Identification And Proper Timing

Proper timing depends on knowing the type of weed or group of weeds you wish to target. The first step in any pest or weed control is to first identify the pest or weed. In this case of weed control, identifying the pest plant will help you know what type of herbicides to use and what time of year to apply them.

Identifying the type of plant will help you understand its life cycle. Knowing if the plant is a Winter annual, a Summer annual, a perennial, etc., will tell you when the plant makes seed, germinates, flowers, and dies. Use this resource, problem weeds of New Mexico, to identify your target plant and find out its life cycle and when is the best time of year to target it.

Winter annuals such as Henbit make seed at the end of their life cycle in late Spring or early Summer and then will germinate in Fall or Winter and grow through Spring until it gets warm. Summer annuals like puncture vine or sand bur make seed in late Summer, germinate in early spring and grow through the summer.

A Little About Pre Emergent Herbicides

Most pre emergents used at the suggested application rate will generally be effective for three to five months. This often depends on the type of pre emergent, soil type, and the amount of rainfall and irrigation that the treated area receives. So if you’re targeting puncture vine or sand bur for example, a March application alone generally isn’t enough. For these plants, a split application in mid March and May and another in August will generally keep them suppressed. For more information about split applications and Pre-M use see Lawn Weed Control In Southeast New Mexico.

How long the herbicide lasts in the soil will also be affected by the type of soil and how much organic material is in the soil. Soils with little organics and sandy soils will leech the herbicide out quicker than soils with a lot of organic materials in them.

Most common pre emergents used in this area don’t actually kill seeds. The seeds do actually sprout and then the herbicides disrupt the cell division of the newly sprouted plant causing it to die. This is why pre emergents must be watered into the first half inch of the soil shortly after application. If not watered into the first half inch of soil where germination takes place the herbicide will be ineffective.

Targeted Application In Carlsbad, Artesia, And Southeast New Mexico

In the Carlsbad, Artesia, and Southeast New Mexico area there are quite a few residents and businesses who have applications done in December and January to target cool weather plants such as Mustard. This is when these weeds really start to show and can quickly take over a property. While most of these will die out when the weather warms, it can still be a battle to try and keep them mowed down until that happens.

Perennial weeds such as Dandelion grow year round in the Southeast New Mexico area. You’ll even find them healthy and surviving under freezing snow. Targeting them specifically in Winter, again, isn’t necessarily the best time.

Our clients who have a late Fall spray application generally don’t have to worry about these Winter and early Spring weeds. The pre emergent we use keeps most of them suppressed. From a consumer standpoint, this is a much better value since the next necessary spray application will be moved up and take care of warmer weather sprouting weeds later into the season. And with this schedule, most of our clients don’t generally as many applications in a season.

Generally, a post emergent herbicide, one that kills existing weeds, is applied at the same time as pre emergents in order to kill existing weeds. It’s the opinion of many pest control operators that because of this and the heat restricted nature of post emergents, that pre emergents MUST be applied before the end of January in Southeast New Mexico. However, because of new developments, there are herbicides that are not heat restricted and can be applied throughout even the hottest months as long as plants aren’t under heat or drought stress.

As well, pre emergents can also be applied without broadleaf killer.

So again, in order to get the most for your money and control as many weeds as possible -

  •  - First identify the weed
  •  - Understand its life cycle to know the best time for application
  •  - Determine the best herbicide to use.

Professional Weed Control Services & Advice

Whether you would like our services or just need pointers on how you can do it yourself more effectively, give us a call at 575-725-9331. At Horizon, we’re very knowledgeable about the weeds, grasses, and stickers that infest Carlsbad, Artesia, and Southeast New Mexico yards and properties. And we know what pre emergents and herbicides it takes to control them. We’re at your service.