Homegrown: Peach tree fertilizer, bindweed

What type of fertilizer do you recommend for peach trees? I only have two trees.

— Wade

You’re actually a bit late in the year to be fertilizing your fruit trees. I don’t like to fertilize woody plants after the first of August, in general.

The best time to fertilize these plants is in late April using a slow release granular fertilizer.

If you want to do it much later than that, just use the fertilizer at half the recommended rate. In the spring, I use one to two times the recommended rate.

We purchased a property with bindweed along with a grass that branches out and roots along the branches. I have tried getting rid of the grasses with Roundup and then with a mixture of Weed-Out and Killz-All that I have been using on the bindweed.

Is there anything that would work more efficiently and actually help us get rid of some of these weeds?

I would also like to know what type of grass is planted at The Commons assisted living facility. It is a broader leaf thicker grass and would like to get some planted in place of the weeds.

— Carolyn

Our recommendations for sprays to control tough perennial weeds fall into two categories: grasses and broadleaves.

The best material for grassy weeds is glyphosate. That’s the active ingredient in the Killz-All you have. It does a wonderful (but nonselective) job on all grasses. Lots of people use it for general weed control, (glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup) but I don’t think it does all that good of a job on broadleaved weeds.

For broadleaves, we now recommend a Fertilome product called Weed Free Zone. It’s a combination of four different herbicides (Weed-Out only has three) and does the best job I’ve seen on tough perennial broadleaves such as bindweed.

It’s also safe to use in the lawn. It won’t hurt grasses.

If you’re doing general weed control, then I’d mix the two materials. Follow the label directions on both of them. Put a gallon of water into the sprayer, and then add the label recommended amount of Killz-All and then the label recommended amount of Weed Free Zone.

Don’t mix each in its own gallon of water and then mix — that will cut their strength in half and you won’t get good control.

You’ll most likely have to spray several times through the summer to obtain total control of your weed problem. Some will die off with one spray but others will need some additional attention.

Also, keep in mind that this spray will damage or kill any plant it gets on, so be careful if you’re spraying near desirable plants. And be sure to keep it out of any irrigation ditches.

The glyphosate breaks down very quickly in water but some of the ingredients in the Weed Free Zone can persist a bit and might cause unintended damage downstream.

The coarser grass you’re seeing at The Commons is a turf-type tall fescue. It looks to me like the lawn is a mix of mostly fescue with some bluegrass and rye grass mixed in like a “Bronco Turf” or “Rockies Ballpark Mix.”

This is the first summer we have had ground squirrels. I would like to get rid of them. They are eating all the flowers off my petunias, the peas we had, and now they are starting in on the spinach. What can I do?

— Janet and Terry

Your best bet is to trap the rascals and relocate them. It will be a temporary solution since new ones will migrate into the void left by the ones you caught, but it should give you some relief from the problem.

There are poisonous baits out there, but they’re getting pretty hard to find anymore. You may need to call a local pest control company that does vertebrate pest control.

Dennis Hill is the nursery manager at Bookcliff Gardens, http://www.bookcliffgardens.com. Send questions to Bookcliff Gardens, 755 26 Road, Grand Junction 81506; or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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