September 4, 2011

Maine Gardener: Do lawn work in September, then turn attention to perennials and shrubs

By Tom Atwell
Staff Writer

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I am not even talking about invasive plants that you'll want to eradicate, although fall is the ideal time to kill those as well. If you do not believe in using the herbicide Roundup, you can dig and pull them out.

If you are willing to use Roundup, fall is the most effective and safest time to do it. In fall, the plants are pulling sap down into their roots. So if you cut the multiflora roses, bittersweet, honeysuckle, autumn olive, barberry or forsythia -- just checking to see if you were paying attention -- and paint the cuts with Roundup, the plant will suck the chemical right down to the roots. There is no drift from spraying, and the herbicide goes where it will do the most good.

Finally, if you want to get rid of some lawn for putting in a vegetable or perennial garden next spring, you should do that in the fall as well.

Cover the grass with newspapers, and put mulch on the top of the newspapers. Sometime in the spring, the grass will be dead, and you can till it all in.

Tom Atwell can be contacted at 791-6362 or at


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