Poppies are taking over

Asked May 29, 2017, 11:26 AM EDT

What is the best way to get rid of big orange oriental poppies? I have kids and dogs, so I'm hoping to avoid using chemicals. They have taken over my whole backyard-at first glance, it pretty much looks like the yard is all thick green grass, but is almost all poppies. Thanks for the help!!

Lake County Colorado

1 Response

Hi- Most people are asking how to get a backyard of flowers, lol, but I understand with your dogs and kids, you'd like more grass.

These are broad-leafed, and perennials, so it will take some time if you don't want to use a broad-leaf weed killer and just keep all kids and animals off until the re-entry date of the chemical. Just FYI- Milestone is an "unrestricted" chemical and you use very little of it, but you'll have to order it from your local hardware or Home Depot/Lowes because it is expensive. 1-2 tablespoons per acre is all you use.

But back to the natural way- You need to till everything up, rake off the plants and use in compost pile or dispose of- trying to get the roots and then after that is done, seed with grass, a high mountain grass mix of bromes, prairie grass, june grass, orchard grass, blue gramma, etc. are all good choices. Better grass seed is not cheap, but you'll have better results.

Broadcast the seed, according to how much seed per acre. Here's where your math skills come into play. Measure your back yard and get square footage. An acre has 43,560 square feet. Divide your square footage into an acre and then do a ratio with the pounds per acre of seed that you bought (usually about 20 pounds/acre) and you'll have how many pounds of seed needed for your back yard.

Next step is to cover the seed, about 1/4-1/2" with dirt. Use a rake. This is where your back comes in. If you don't do this, the birds will eat it all.

Then water!! Soak the ground with a sprinkler for several hours each day, preferably at night, for several weeks. You may get lucky and hit the afternoon rains. It will take several weeks to come up.

Planting dates for anything in the ground up here is June 1-15. You'll hit that perfect, but you've got lots of work ahead of you.

Good luck and let me know if you need anything else.