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Mint plague  RSS feed

 
Paul Jenny
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Location: Mishawaka , Indiana
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I have an epidemic of mint plague. My wife had an idea of planting mint in a small flower bed. ( She planted 10 plants) It has been 4 years now and it has taken over the flower bed and is creeping into the grass as well. No matter how many times I pull it up. It comes back. How do I get rid of it ??
 
paul wheaton
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I've never tried to combat mint ....

I gotta ask the basic questions:  during your mint crisis, how high were you mowing?  How often were you watering?  Have you, by any chance, checked your pH?  Have you done any fertilizing?
 
Paul Jenny
Posts: 35
Location: Mishawaka , Indiana
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You are correct with your q's. I just started mowing as high as possible and mulching. The area with the mint problem does not grow high enough fast enough to benefit the mowing. I am trying to find Ringer locally but without luck. I have found Milorganite. Will this do ? Also I have a call in to the local county extension for soil testing. The guy just underwent shoulder surgery though. There is a store that sells $ .99 pH testers but i read that you feel they are inaccurate.
http://www.milorganite.com/homeowners/products.cfm
 
paul wheaton
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This is the first I've heard of milorganite.  The link didn't mention ingredients - therefore, I don't trust it.

"The area with the mint problem does not grow high enough fast enough to benefit the mowing."  ---  I don't understand.  You mean that the grass doesn't grow fast enough to out compete the mint?

Right!  Don't use the cheap pH tester!  Better to send a soil sample to a lab!  Google gave me this:  http://www.motherearthnews.com/directory/soil_test/





 
Paul Jenny
Posts: 35
Location: Mishawaka , Indiana
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The grass does not grow tall enough to over shadow the mint and the mint hugs the ground. When I mow they both barely get touched. The mint keeps creeping farther into the grass. I am sending a pdf file of the Milorganite label. It is a little more detailed. Thanks again for all your help.
                        http://www.milorganite.com/docs/homeowners/Milorganite_8.5x11_English-Spanish_Table.pdf ;
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Milorganite:  It's an artifact from sewage treatment.  I wouldn't use it.  Just think of all the inappropriate stuff that people put down their sinks.  Then think of all the medications that people take that go through their systems and into the sewage. 

Mint:  I've never had to battle mint, but from what you just said ....  I wonder what would happen if you mowed the mint patch super low every other day or so for a week.  You would be taking away the mint's solar collectors.
 
Paul Jenny
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Location: Mishawaka , Indiana
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Thanks for the heads up onthe Milorganite and the mint mowing. I found this fertilizer / weed control. I know you like the grass to over shadow and starve the weed of its photosynthetic food, but what are your thoughts on this corn gluten based fertilizer ? Is it a viable organic fertilizer ?
http://landscaping.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http://eartheasy.com/article%5Fcorn%5Fgluten.htm
        Thank you again for sharing your knowledge.
 
Paul Jenny
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Location: Mishawaka , Indiana
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Sorry Paul this is the link I meant to send.
http://www.richsoil.com/bb/index.php?action=post;topic=127.0;num_replies=6
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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I've never used the corn gluten stuff, but I've heard about it. 

It emulates a seed hormone that says "don't germinate yet".  So weed seeds don't germinate .... until the stuff is gone - then they germinate.    It won't do anything about your existing weeds. 

Of course, if you mow high and water infrequently, those weed seeds will germinate and die. 

So ... let's see .... on the one hand, you shell out money and you work harder and the seeds will germinate as soon as you stop putting money and time into this product.  On the other hand, you let the seeds germinate and kill the weed babies.  My math says the second route is for the cheap and lazy! 
 
Paul Jenny
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Location: Mishawaka , Indiana
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I like the wayyou think Paul. Iam still searching for an organic fertilizer that will not cost me a fortune to have it shipped. I want to buy the Ringer fertilizer but the shipping costs almost as much as the product itself. Are there any other brands that you would reccomend? 
                Thanks !!
 
Paul Jenny
Posts: 35
Location: Mishawaka , Indiana
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One other question Paul. I read that I should not stop catching the grass for a year or so when I am transitioning to treating organically from chemically. The idea was that it would cause thatch or something like that. Have you ever heard of that ? I already have stopped catching the grass. I also have been cutting the grass as high as my mower will go. I do want to use an organic fertilizer as soon as I can find one.
 
paul wheaton
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Paul_Jenny wrote:
One other question Paul. I read that I should not stop catching the grass for a year or so when I am transitioning to treating organically from chemically. The idea was that it would cause thatch or something like that. Have you ever heard of that ? I already have stopped catching the grass. I also have been cutting the grass as high as my mower will go. I do want to use an organic fertilizer as soon as I can find one.


That sounds like a load of horse potatoes to me. 

Leave the clippings.  That's the best way to feed your grass right now.

The ringer stuff is carried at the home depot.

 
              
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Referring to your original question, I found that with mint you have to totally dig up all traces of roots, if possible.  Also you need to be VERY vigilant about watching the area, even if you think you got it all, it may come back.  Be careful about transplanting any plants from the area involved as mint roots are in it and it will grow in the new area also.  Good Luck.  Hope this helps. 
 
paul wheaton
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Sometimes, when I get a weed I don't want growing in my garden, I smother it. 

My favorite way is to put down hay from a compressed bale of hay.  The weeds cannot make it through the hay and the hay eventually breaks down and feeds the soil.

 
John Meshna
Posts: 111
Location: Vermont
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Mint can invade an area very quickly and take over at the expense of everything else you want to have grow there.  Once established it's not possible to control it by cutting, pulling or mowing. 
  It propagates by sending runners out through the soil.  One little piece of it can make a whole new plant if dropped into good soil.
  The only way to get mint out that ever worked for me was to take out all the plants you do want out of the garden and shake the soil off the roots, looking for the mint shoots as you go and then dig out all the soil and remove all the runners you find.  Doing this over a plastic hseet will help you see the runners.  They're usually pink to white and rubbery.  Any little piece will start to grow into a new plant within 24 hours so, if the soil is riddled with the stuff, you might want to consider installing new soil and throwing the old stuff over the bank away from any place you don't want it.  It's great for bank stabilization and rough areas where not much else will grow.  It can help restore contruction sites and gravel pits.  It grows much more slowly in loose sandy soil though.
  If you're going to dig out all your plants, you'll want to do it on a damp or rainy day.  Drizzle is good.  you don't want the roots to dry out and, you'll want to do the surgery after or before the height of the growing season.  Digging plant out when they're flowering or producing fruits can do serious damage to them or kill them altogether.
  Mint makes good tea and is fun to chew on when you garden.  It freshens your breath and settles and upset stomach too, so, it's pretty good stuff providing you make sure it doesn't get into your manicured areas.
 
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