Ragweed Control

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Keith's Pro Tips

"The best time to apply herbicides on Ragweed is mid-spring to early summer. Controlling Ragweed at this time will make sure that you are applying the herbicide when the leaves of the plant are still rather immature and tender and, therefore, more vulnerable to herbicides."

Ragweed Control: How To Get Rid of Ragweed

Ragweed is an annual and perennial shrub that thrives in heavy and poorly maintained soil. Ragweed is pretty easy to identify on lawns due to its unique appearance of feathery, green leaves that look similar to ferns and upright growth pattern.

Ragweed pollen is a common allergen with a single plant having the ability to produce over a billion grains of pollen per season. The pollen is easily transported into the wind. As a result, the presence of ragweed in a lawn or garden can cause hay fever and various allergy symptoms, including a runny nose, hacking cough, persistent sneezing, and red, puffy eyes.

There are around 17 species of Ragweed across the U.S. with the most widespread being Common Ragweed and Giant Ragweed. Ragweed survives mostly in human-impacted or disturbed areas. This plant thrives on parking lots, on the sides of highways, in agriculture, and urban areas.

If it is ragweed season and you're having trouble with this invasive species on your lawn, our DIY Ragweed treatment guide can help. The directions below were recommended by our lawn care experts and will show you how to properly get rid of Ragweed from your property.

Identification

Before carrying out a treatment program, you will need to first be certain that you are dealing with Ragweed and not some other weed. Careless identification can lead to using the wrong treatment methods which can be a waste of time and money. Below we shared identifying characteristics to know what Ragweed looks like:

Ragweed Identification

  • As mentioned earlier, there are two common types of ragweed: Common Ragweed and Giant Ragweed. Ragweed earns its name because the leaf appears so raggedy-looking.
  • The distinctive seedheads produce a lot of pollen and blooms appear as small yellowish hairy looking bumps. Their leaves are made up of multiple leaflets and the flowers are often clustered at the top of the plant. Common ragweed has both male and female flowers.
  • Giant Ragweed is much larger in stature than Common Ragweed, often growing up to as high as 15 feet tall. They have giant lance-shaped leaves with teeth running along the margins.

Use the description and image above to help you properly identify Ragweed on your property. If you are not totally sure, contact us and send us a photo of your weed and we will identify it for you and suggest treatment options.

Inspection

After you have confirmed that you are dealing with Ragweed, you can then move on to inspection. During this phase, you will locate areas where Ragweed is thriving and observe the conditions that are allowing it to thrive. This information will help you in knowing where to focus your herbicide application.

Ragweed in Yard

Where to Inspect

Both Ragweed species can grow anywhere and everywhere and do not discriminate where they can take hold. Their flowers are arranged in spikes at the tops of stems so they would be hard to miss. Those allergic to Ragweed can detect their presence quite easily.

Ragweed season takes place between early August to early October in the Northern part of the US and in Canada while in the southern states, the season can vary depending upon the climate and can be an issue year-round. Allergy season is usually synonymous with Ragweed season and when it comes in bloom.

What to Look For

Common Ragweed can be easy to find due to how distinctive it's seedhead looks and the pollen it creates. Giant ragweed also has very noxious pollen that can cause allergies and can stand out because of its large leaves. They can also grow alarmingly tall which makes the "giant" in its name very fitting. This plant can grow up to 6 feet to 20 feet tall and can come up virtually anywhere in the soil.

The symptoms of ragweed allergies include itchy, watery eyes, a stuffy nose or breathing issues so if you may be allergic and are suffering from these issues, this is a dead giveaway that Ragweed may be growing on your property or nearby.

Treatment

Before applying products, you should always wear the proper personal equipment any time herbicides are being mixed and handled. Wear jeans and a long sleeve shirt along with gloves and goggles.

For both Giant and Common Ragweed, we suggest a post-emergent application of 2,4-D Amine. This professional-quality herbicide is easy to use and is selective so it will only target the weed and not harm your desired vegetation.

Step 1: Measure and Mix 2, 4-D Amine

Measure and Mix 2,4-D

Begin by calculating the square footage (length x width = square footage) of the treatment area to determine how much 2,4-D Amine you will need to treat the Ragweed. For turf applications, 2,4-D Amine should be mixed at a rate of 2 to 3.16 pints per acre.

For small applications with a hand sprayer, this breaks down to .72 to 1.1 fl. oz. per 1,000 square feet. Mixing 2 4-D with a surfactant like Nanotek Surfactant will help the product to stick better to the Ragweed and make the herbicide work more effectively.

For example, if you have a 2,000 sq. ft. area to treat, you will need to mix 1.44 to 2.2 fl. oz. in 2 gallons of water. Once you have made your measurements and calculated how much 2,4-D you need, mix the product and surfactant with the appropriate amount of water in a handheld or backpack sprayer. Shake the sprayer to ensure the solution is well-mixed and then you're ready to spray.

Step 2: Apply 2-4 D Amine to Ragweed

Selective Herbicide

Use a super fine mist with a handheld sprayer on a fan nozzle setting to get an even coating and thus, better control. The best time to spray for Ragweed is in the early spring. Spray the weeds to wet but not to the point of runoff.

There is a chance that it will take more than one application to eliminate the root of the plant. For best weed control at the time of treatment, Ragweed should be small, actively growing and free of stress caused by extremes in climatic conditions, diseases, or insect damage. Do not use the product on susceptible southern grasses like St. Augustine.

Prevention

Once you have treated the Ragweed and removed it from your lawn, you need to make sure they don't make a return. Here are some preventative measures to take to lessen the chances of Ragweed making a comeback.

  • Ragweed plants like to grow in heavy, untilled soil and are frequently found in soil that does not have sufficient fertility. They also do not tolerate being mowed very well.
  • As a result, regular mowing at a height of 3 to 4 inches is one of the best ways to control ragweed in your lawn, and flower beds are along with improving soil fertility with a fertilizer application. This will create a healthy, nutrient-rich soil which can make it difficult for ragweed to re-establish.

Key Takeaways

What is Ragweed?

  • Ragweed is notorious for invading lawns where they are not wanted and for producing large amounts of pollen.

How To Get Rid of Ragweed

  • Our top recommendation for treating both Common and Giant Ragweed is 2,4-D Amine Selective Weed Killer. Apply when the Ragweed is young and active growing for the best results.

Preventing Ragweed Reinfestation

  • You can prevent Ragweed with regular lawn maintenance practices like fertilizing your lawn and mowing on a regular basis.
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