vertigoelectric
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Best time(s) of year to apply roundup to prevent regrowth?

I have a fairly large yard. Here's a photo of the yard as it was right after mowing it a long time ago:
[img]https://snaps.vertigofx.com/007/snap449_2012-05-15_00.27.21.png[/img]

Last year I hired a couple of guys to use a bobcat and scrape off the weeds and top layer of soil so I was left with nothing but dirt. Since then, I haven't had to touch it. Of course, the year's gone through its course of seasons and now the weeds are all back.

The bobcat job was a fluke. I got a super low price for the job that I'll never get again. However, I still want to be able to NOT deal with any weeds for at least a year. I'm getting ready to cut them all down again, and the plan is to apply RoundUp. I've experimented with the roundup in other parts of my yard and so far everything I've applied it to is dead and dry to the point where I can scrape my foot across it and there's nothing but dirt left behind. That's what I want to do to the entire area you see in the photo.

Since I've never done this before, I'm not sure what to expect in terms of the lasting effects of the Roundup. It advertises as keeping weeds away for 4 months, but I'm sure there are many factors that go into it.

I'd like to be able to cut the weeds down now, apply roundup, and not have to deal with any more weeds until they inevitably start growing back next spring. If I apply the Roundup now, in May, would it keep the ground bare at least through the winter? We have really hot summers, although the crazy rainy day shows up once in a while. I'm assuming a few days of rain here and there won't bring back the weeds, correct?

I realize my post is long-winded. I apologize.

As a side question, I've been using the single-gallon tank sprayer to apply the roundup to smaller areas. When I bought the sprayer, I saw a device you attach to a hose that I can put the roundup in. It has a dial that lets me set the chemical/water ratio and looks like it would make covering such a large area easier, but would it actually work? I don't want to end up wasting the Roundup because too much water was mixed in.

I'm also on a tight budget, which is why it would be nice to only have to buy the roundup once a year (I think I would have to get the $100 ultra concentrate bottle).

vertigoelectric
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Normally I would avoid double-posting but I wanted to ask one more thing.

How would you compare this product that I just found:
[url=https://www.amazon.com/Roundup-Pro-41-Concentrate-2-5/dp/B001NDI3R0/?_encoding=UTF8&tag=thehelpfulgar-20&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325]https://www.amazon.com/Roundup-Pro-41-Concentrate-2-5/dp/B001NDI3R0/[/url]

with this product that I was already planning to purchase:
https://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100091784/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=roundup&storeId=10051

With the first one it looks like I'd be getting a lot more for a little less cash, but I don't know how effective it actual is. I hope someone with experience can advise me as to which product I should use.

Again, sorry for being long-winded and for double posting.

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Kisal
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Both products are the same 41 percent mixture, so they should perform equally for you. I didn't notice whether the one from amazon offered free shipping. If not, the stuff at your local store might actually be a better buy.

I've gotten some good deals by asking dealers of they'll match an online price. Sometimes the do, but other times they say no. I even got a great deal on my treadmill by calling Amazon and asking if they'd match a deal at a local store. I gave them the URL so they'd know it was the same item and a real offer. They matched the deal, saving me $1,500, and then they gave me an extra $100 off. It was sweet. :D

Ask them. I'm pretty certain the products are the same and should perform equally well. I would take time to look at some of the other brands too. Just make sure the solution is the same 41%. Read the ingredients, too, to make sure all the brands contain the same active ingredients. I'd buy the cheapest that matched the 41% solution and gave you the same volume for less money. Just how I shop these days to save bit of $$$.

This being a gardening forum, where we grow things, I must admit that I don't understand why one would want a dirt yard, but to each their own. Have you considered planting a low-growing ground cover that doesn't need mowing? When I lived in the San Fernando Valley, we had a dichondra lawn. It looked pretty, didn't need mowing, and wasn't damaged by the kids playing and walking on it. Just a suggestion. :)
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rainbowgardener
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You do understand that if you spray the lawn with round-up, it will kill the grass as well as the weeds?

I would be surprised if it kept weeds away for four months. One reason why people use round up is that it breaks down pretty fast in the soil. They say you can replant grass seed a week after spraying with it. The weeds that were killed won't come back that fast, but any seeds that appear can germinate and there are always weed seeds around.

You do have a huge empty lawn. You could plant some trees and shrubbery and mulch around them and not have to mow those areas and as Kisal said, plant the rest in something ground covery..
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vertigoelectric
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Thanks for the replies. I need to clarify a few things, though.
I must admit that I don't understand why one would want a dirt yard, but to each their own. Have you considered planting a low-growing ground cover that doesn't need mowing?
I want it to be dirt because it requires zero maintenance. If I did plant something out there, it would have to require no watering because I have no water lines out there. Whatever I did grow out there would have to survive intense, dry heat from day after day of 90+ degree sunlight during the summer without any water as well possible drenched, marshy, 5+ inch deep waters during long rainy seasons. (https://snaps.vertigofx.com/007/snap460_2012-05-19_09.30.30.png) In the photo you can see that I even got my truck stuck out there. The ground is clay-like, becoming very hard and resistant during the dry season and absolute goop when it rains enough.
You do understand that if you spray the lawn with round-up, it will kill the grass as well as the weeds?
I thought someone might think this, but what you see in the photo with the lawnmower is not grass. That's just freshly cut weeds. 100% weeds. Mostly foxtails. I realize it still looks fairly decent in that photo, but that only lasts a short time. I cut it down again this week and here's a picture I took just a few minutes ago: https://snaps.vertigofx.com/007/snap461_2012-05-19_09.38.32.png. As you can see, it's quite ugly (and a fire hazard when not cut down).

If I only mow it, I would be mowing it every couple of weeks throughout most of the year. Last year I paid a couple of guys to use a bobcat to just scrape off the top layer, along with the weeds of course, leaving nice clean dirt. After that I didn't have to mess with it for about a year. It was great. Unfortunately, they charged me such a low amount I could never get that price on a regular basis. I'm on my own this year.

I'm looking for a way to kill the weeds, most likely chemically, so that the roots die and I don't have to deal with them at all again until at least spring when more inevitably start growing. Then, in the spring, when I see them popping up, I can do another round of weed killer that should last me through the summer and possibly the winter as well. I want something that will kill all forms of life except my dog, which I can keep away from the area temporarily if necessary.

I've had success with Roundup recently, but the gallon of super concentrate is over $100 at Home Depot.... and then I need a more efficient sprayer to distribute it. I currently have a small one-gallon tank sprayer. I'd be refilling that thing all day.
Just make sure the solution is the same 41%. Read the ingredients, too, to make sure all the brands contain the same active ingredients.
Facepalm! Yes, that does make sense. I suppose if it has the same active ingredients then it would work the same. It would definitely be a better deal as long as it works.

My main issue is money. I can't really afford trial and error with this. I'm trying to learn what will work before I try it so that I don't end up wasting money on something that doesn't. If I had plenty of money I wouldn't even be posting here, of course. I'd either just try several things myself or simply hire someone to do it for me. That would be nice, though.

Please let me know if you have any further advice or ideas. I'm going to compare those ingredients.

vertigoelectric
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Update:

Well, I couldn't find any clear details on the active ingredients of the two products linked above, however, I did find this:

https://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=203112360&storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&MERCH=REC-_-product-1-_-weed%3bkiller%3bhose%3bsprayer%3b100036228-_-203112360-_-N

It's apparently the same basic stuff as the one on Amazon, except I might be able to get this one at the local Home Depot and I'm confident that if it doesn't work they will give me a no-hassle refund without me having to worrying about shipping something back somewhere.

It's a MUCH lower price than the others, and the reviews are all great, so I might just try to pick this one up and give it a try. My wife are going to do the budget to even see if we can afford it this month or not, though. At any rate, I plan on giving it a try.

Dillbert
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personally not so sure "dirt, nuttin but dirt" is the best approach, but if that's what you want . . . .

however, there is a problem with any weed/vegetation killer:
they only kill what is actively growing. the Round-Up "lasts for xxx time" is nice marketing hype, it may be a bit more persistent, but in the end weed / plant seeds will blow in from somewhere else and sprout/grow - it will never be a "once done and permanently solved forever" situation. you will need to kill off all the "new" stuff regularly.

once upon a time there was "weed killer" that lasted 2-3 years - it was that persistent in the environment - the Fed. EPA and I can well imagine CA banned it. last I checked, it was not even available to "licensed" personnel.

there are grass types that are extremely drought resistant, tough as hardened masonry nails, stuff once you got it you'll never be rid of it . . . Zoysia is one - some types of St. Augustine / Bermuda another option. not sure how well they do on the left coast, one would need to inquire about that.

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applestar
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Weed killers kill plants because they disrupt their biological process in one form or another. Persistent toxins that can continue to kill existing plants and keep new seeds from growing -- I can't imagine how that can be safe for your dog... or to yourself and anyone else who live there.

It's the weeds that can grow there that can survive the harsh environment you describe. They and organisms that live among them help to create soil conditions that eventually allow less hardy plants to grow. It's all part of the biological design.

If you are going to kill off everything, one idea would be to intentionally sow desirable seeds of plants adapted to the arid conditions you have. There will be initial work of helping them to establish, but at least you will end up with a living land that are mostly growing what you intended.

...just an idea. :wink:

cynthia_h
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Dillbert wrote:personally not so sure "dirt, nuttin but dirt" is the best approach, but if that's what you want . . . .

however, there is a problem with any weed/vegetation killer:
they only kill what is actively growing. the Round-Up "lasts for xxx time" is nice marketing hype, it may be a bit more persistent, but in the end weed / plant seeds will blow in from somewhere else and sprout/grow - it will never be a "once done and permanently solved forever" situation. you will need to kill off all the "new" stuff regularly.

once upon a time there was "weed killer" that lasted 2-3 years - it was that persistent in the environment - the Fed. EPA and I can well imagine CA banned it. last I checked, it was not even available to "licensed" personnel.

there are grass types that are extremely drought resistant, tough as hardened masonry nails, stuff once you got it you'll never be rid of it . . . Zoysia is one - some types of St. Augustine / Bermuda another option. not sure how well they do on the left coast, one would need to inquire about that.
Agreed: dirt will never stay "just dirt." Well-adapted weeds will move in, whether from the wind, bird deposits, or small animals bringing in the seeds on their coats or in their body wastes.

I'm not sure about the OP's climate (he's in Sunset climate zone 18, in southern California, while I'm in 17), but o my lord does Bermuda grass ever thrive here in the Bay Area! I have the war stories to prove it, and I've posted them here at THG.

The "best" time to plant Bermuda grass--if you WANT to do such a thing--is just before the winter rains began, maybe early November. That gives the horrible stuff time to sprout and take root during the (usual) November/December rains, before the (usual) January/February deluges/floods.

Then the deep moisture resulting from those deluges keeps the Bermuda grass going through the spring into its usual dormant period (this is when it looks dead), until the next rainy season, when it starts to green up and grow again.

But your neighbors will probably want to put up cement walls, fences, ditches, and turrets....

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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tomf
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Cement. :roll:

vertigoelectric
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I realize plant life will always return and that it won't just "stay dirt" forever... at least without minimal maintenance.

I'd like to get it down to dirt initially (like it was after it was scraped with the bobcat, basically). Then as I see things start to sprout up after a while, I can immediately treat that with weed killer. I don't know if I'm explaining it well enough, though.

Planting anything to cover that amount of ground area would just simply be too expensive. I realize weed killer isn't free, either, but isn't it a lot cheaper? If I wanted to plant something out there, first I'd have to 'rototill' the it all, which means I have to buy or rent a rototiller and then either do it myself or hire someone to do it for me. Then I'd have to buy the seed for whatever it is I want to grow. Then who knows what else. There's no water, so if I plant something that doesn't make it then I've just wasted all that money.

It's a 9,000 square foot area. Think two high school basketball courts. I simply don't have the money or other resources to deliberately grow anything to cover that much space.

I can, however, afford this: https://www.homedepot.com/buy/compare-n-save-2-5-gal-grass-and-weed-killer-320882.html

It reportedly can cover over 600,000 square feet, which will allow me to use a higher chemical:water ratio in case the intended ratio isn't effective. However, every single review I've read about this product says it works very effectively and just as well as the more expensive name brands like Roundup. For a $40 container of this stuff plus whatever sprayer I decide to use to apply it, I'm not investing too much. I should be able to cover the whole area, kill off whatever is still alive out there now, and have plenty left over to 'spot kill' the surviving seedlings and patches that emerge later on.

Your comments have been helpful, though. I am learning about some of this stuff.

I can look into bermuda grass or some other kind of really hardy grass for the areas closer to the house where I'd be spending more of my time and would like to look somewhat decent.

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One way to reduce your expenditure for ground cover is simply to plant fewer (perhaps *many* fewer) plants than the recommended density. Remain diligent about weeding and allow the starter plants to fill in.

It will take longer, yes; but it will cost oh so much less. Many times, if you look at an independent source (e.g., Sunset Western Garden Book) for growing/spreading rate of a given plant and compare that to the recommended density for planting by a commercial plant source, it's possible to calculate the precise "over-planting" factor. So...back-calculate to whatever the necessary number of plants is, graph-paper or otherwise model those plants onto your property, and then subtract as much as 20 to 25% of them from the total.

Remodel with the new number of plants. Put them into the soil just before the anticipated start of the rainy season (as I described for planting Bermuda grass).

Another, completely different approach:

1) Divide the yard/lot into two halves. Plant grass/groundcover on one half per suggestions in this thread. (Probably the half nearer the house.)

2) Plant the farther half with seeds of native wildflowers. However, be sure that you don't purchase the cans of supposed "wildflowers," many of which are WEEDS in California! An independent nursery can not only advise you as to which wildflowers will self-seed and not need tending, but will also be able to find sources of supply which don't include (o my god I hate them) California poppies, which are invasive like you wouldn't believe. :evil: So...a wildflower/meadow kind of thing for birds, butterflies, bees, and such. It may need help the first spring (again, plant in the fall), but other than Yellow Star Thistle, which is a PITB throughout the West, the wildflowers should hold their own if well selected.

Just some more ideas for the hopper. :)

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

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Kisal
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I may get scolded for this, but when I lived in a rental house in San Clemente, the landlord had created a "carefree" yard. It will cost you some, but probably less than the weed killer. Mow your weeds, then lay down black plastic. Get the heavy weight stuff, good quality. It's a one time purchase. Do not get that worthless landscape fabric, go with plastic. Then have a truckful or more, whatever it takes, of gravel spread on it. If you have a pickup, you can do the hauling and spreading yourself. Very few if any weeds, or anything else, will grow there. You won't have to mow or water, and scooping up after your dog will be easy.

My landlord planted a few juniper shrubs around the yard for decoration. I happen to abhor juniper, but if you ever decided you wanted to plant some cacti or other succulents around your yard for decorative effects, it would be simple to cut through the plastic and put them in the soil. They prefer to be planted shallowly anyway. They flower beautifully in the spring and summer.

So the plastic and gravel would be a one time expense, and it probably wouldn't be more than the repeated expense of the weed killer. Then you'd be done with it, once and for all.
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rainbowgardener
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Good suggestions, cynthia, but how can anyone hate California poppies, our beloved state flower? I love them and plant them every year, since here in Ohio they don't survive on their own. They are a sign of "home" to me having grown up in California.
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tomf
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A ridding mower would be good for your yard.

cynthia_h
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rainbowgardener wrote:Good suggestions, cynthia, but how can anyone hate California poppies, our beloved state flower? I love them and plant them every year, since here in Ohio they don't survive on their own. They are a sign of "home" to me having grown up in California.
California poppy seeds make their way into everything: compost, dirt, veggie garden boxes. The poppies out-compete veggie seedlings (esp. the ones I only see once a month), leaving them dead, while the poppy plants are maybe 15 inches across. They're a tap-rooted plant: small underground, huge aboveground. Easy to remove, but such a quick life cycle that there are seeds everywhere. Who knows how long I'll have to pull poppies out of my veggie box in Palo Alto?

And at my own house: I HAD a planting circle out front. It hosted sunflowers and amaryllis (naked ladies) in two concentric circles, with hollyhocks on the crown/center of the soil. Now, what's growing besides the amaryllis are: mint (yes, it grew UNDER the sidewalk), kikuyu grass, and California poppies. Oh, and a few sow thistles and dandelions.

I don't have enough soil to keep these pig plants happy; I don't think there's enough soil in the state of California to keep them happy. They don't (unfortunately) out-compete Yellow Star Thistle; *that* would be wonderful!

No, they just bully nice veggies, sunflowers, hollyhocks (which *had* been self-sowing...), and other mild-mannered garden plants. :evil:

They've earned "weed" status in my book, for the gardens I'm responsible for.

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

vertigoelectric
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Sorry for my late response... again.

After considering many different approaches, I think I'll just go with the 41% glyphosate weed killer.

I just mowed the yard, and even though it's not all the way down to the ground, we're starting our dry summer weather and most of it's just not going to grow back until after the fall. Small areas that I find turning green I can spray down and they'll die off.

Solarizing with plastic is effective but wouldn't work in my case. The amount of plastic I would need would alone cost far more than the liquid weed killer. Then I'd have to weigh it down with something and getting that much gravel just doesn't make sense. Even if I got the plastic and something to weigh it down, remember that I have a dog... a young, anxious wolf-mix that would make confetti of that plastic. I can keep him on a chain for a day or two after spraying with chemicals to allow them to dry, but I can't keep him chained up for the weeks it would take to solarize.


Planting anything else out there just wouldn't do, either... at least, not until I was ready with the resource to do more focused landscaping out there. When we moved in we thought it would be nice to turn it into a nice garden area with stone-edged paths, benches, etc... but I'm nowhere near that point.

While I don't see growing poppies out back as being very helpful in my case, I appreciate the info on them. My wife has tried growing some flowers in a small 'flower bed' we created next to our front porch. Unfortunately things haven't turned out so well and she's given up. Perhaps some poppies, if they grow so easily, would work.

In a sort of half-joking way, I wish I could plant some Kudzu out back and let it just take over the entire yard. It's a pretty plant with green leaves and small flowers with a pleasant scent. Although I'm pretty sure my neighbors, and the city, would not be too happy with that. In fact it might not even be legal.

Although, perhaps if I'm able to acquire some anyway I could plant it in a few spot locations to give our dusty, dry property some green freshness to it. I'd just have to make absolutely positively sure I'm ready to maintain it! Hah!

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