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Darksite Volunteers

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:24 am
by rwilkers
I am requesting that anyone who can give some time before they observe come out early and help with clearing the grassburrs from the darksite.
This year grass burrs have exploded (and I mean literally as well as figuratively) on the observing field. The combination of drought last year and a very wet year to date has enabled them to take root and we need to remove them from the observing field.

The herbicide we need to eradicate them is no longer made (thanks EPA) so they have to be removed the old fashion way - by hand. The whole area (as in Colorado County) is experiencing an outbreak that everyone is struggling to contain.

I intend to spend the next month uprooting and hauling these pests to the burn pile but would appreciate some help.
If you can spare some time I know that countless people who would otherwise find the burrs in the dark will appreciate your efforts.

Clear skies and dark nights.

Re: Darksite Volunteers

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:07 am
by rene-gedaly
Normal garden tools would be helpful, like hand weeders. Anything else we need? Fyi, I'm planning to come out for prime night and maybe the Friday before.

Re: Darksite Volunteers

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 4:15 pm
by rwilkers
Unfortunatly weedeaters are the last thing we need spreading the seeds everywhere. I suspect that that is exactly what got me into this situation in the first place. We are going to have to dig up each one plant by plant. Then drag the field with burlap or an old blanket weighed down to pickup burrs. I think this is going to take about 3 weekends to accomplish as that they sprout VERY quickly.

Good news is that we are headed into winter and this will probably knock them down till spring.

So heavy gloves, shovels, hoes, and heavy duty trash bags are our weapons of choice.

It was not until last weekend that I realized just how bad the problem had become. Hence the campaign to rid at least the obsrving field of these pests. I will be there Saturday to do what I can before dark. I hope to get at least the outer ring and to the inner ring cleared.

The best defense against them is a lush lawn - then they have no room to sprout (or drought). The problem is that apparently they have 2 seeds. One germinates in about 30 days and the other in 5 years. From what I have been told this is why they have sprouted this year - last year's drought activated the 5 year seeds. Unfortunately, we cannot seed with rye grass until early spring so we have to deal with what we have till then.

They will not win this battle!

Re: Darksite Volunteers

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:01 pm
by rene-gedaly
What I mean by a hand weeder is a little fork-like, hand-held tool that digs out weeds from around flower beds. That might take about a year. I also have a plunger type device--six months. But if you're talking about shovels, hmm. Aggie Horticulture site suggests using one of these herbicides: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/turf/grassbur.html. Any good?

Table 1. Pre-emergent Herbicides Labeled for Sandbur (grassbur) Control
Brand Name Common Chemical Name Company Name
PreM  Pendimethalin Lesco
Amaze Grass & Weed Preventor Benefin/Oryzalin Green Light
Surflan, A.S. Oryzalin Southern Ag.
Weed & Grass Preventor Oryzalin Lilly Miller
Weed Stoppere Oryzalin Lawn & Garden Products

CLASSIFICATION
Common Name: Southern Sandspur (Southern Sandbur) Grassbur
Scientific Name: Cenchrus echinatus L.
Family: Gramineae (Poaceae), Grass Family

Re: Darksite Volunteers

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:49 pm
by rwilkers
Unfortunately for us we are well past using any of the Aggie chemical remedies at this time of year.

I intend to dig them up and remove them. Not very elegant but effective for the winter. We have plenty of gopher mounds to fill in any holes we create.

The articles I read (including that one and its references) concur that a healthy lawn is the best way to stop them. Since the drought thinned the grass and only the toughest grass remained with alot of bare spots the weeds got a foot hold on us.

I am currently researching when and how to do low maintenace lawn enhancements for next year but for now this is the best answer 12 nurseries have given me.

Re: Darksite Volunteers

PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 5:35 pm
by rwilkers
Thanks to Don and Anna Taylor assisting me, we removed about 90% of the grass burrs in the observatory field. I am sure we missed a few spots but the majority of them especially the ones around the pads are gone.

All that remains now is to get a few burlap sacks or old dead blankets that can be dragged over the field to remove the loose/fallen burrs.

The field, however, does look like a giant gopher did more than a few test holes.

Clear skies and dark nights!

Re: Darksite Volunteers

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:25 pm
by rene-gedaly
Whoo-hoo! You guys are machines!!

Re: Darksite Volunteers

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:49 am
by adenbleyker
ARE you working the Columbus site burr removal project this weekend? I can come out and help.

Al DenBleyker 713-203-8665 or [email protected]