Many solutions for weed control often include toxic chemicals that can be harmful to our planet, people, pets, and even good bugs like honey bees! If you’re asking the question How Do You Kill Weeds Naturally? you’re not alone.
As society moves towards more earth-friendly living, natural weed control has become a hot topic. The good news is that you don’t need to use toxic chemicals for effective weed control. In this article I’ll go over all of your options for natural weed control.
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Remove Weeds By Hand
Manually removing weeds the old fashioned way, by hand, is an effective and free tool that you always have “at hand”.
A spade can help you make sure you also get the root of the plant to prevent it from growing back.
There are also longer tools for pulling weeds root-and-all that are relatively inexpensive considering how much use you get out of them if you continue to use that as your preferred weed control method.
If you’re in need of a quick fix to make your lawn look uniform and green, then trimming off the head of weeds can help your lawn look temporarily weed-free!
This can be effective for some weeds that look like grass. Just make sure you don’t trim your grass too short in the process. Scalping your lawn can have a more detrimental effect in the long run than some weeds would.
One word of caution with this method, from our expert panelist Nicole Forsyth, a certified Horticulturist. She says that “if you use these methods, you encourage root growth and further establishment of the weeds unless they are annual weeds. Perennial weeds will get larger.”
So while this method can control seed development and spread on annual weeds like Crabgrass, it’s not going to be a viable long-term solution for perennial weeds that return year after year.
You read that right! While you’re putting all of the manual effort in to pulling or cutting those weeds, why not reap the benefits?
Dandelion greens are a common inclusion in spring salad mix, and we all know the positive health impact that leafy greens have.
Just make sure to wash them thoroughly, especially if they’ve previously been in contact with pesticides or fertilizers (or if you have a dog).
Crowd ‘Em Out
Just like any other plant, weeds need resources to survive – water and sunlight. Many natural weed control methods take advantage of this.
Maintaining a thick and lush lawn makes it more difficult for weeds to seed and grow roots because the grass hogs all of the water and sunlight.
Letting your grass grow on the taller side – approximately three inches or so – also helps the roots of your grass grow deeper, thus making them even stronger in the fight against weeds.
In a garden bed, you can accomplish the same by planting a lot of ground cover perennials. Closely planting flowers, ornamental grasses, and bushes can also prevent lawn weeds.
Other ground cover methods such as mulch, newspaper, and landscape fabric can also block weeds from growing by blocking out the sunlight needed to produce energy and grow. It’s important not to leave any bald patches of soil where weeds can lay claim and grow.
Kill It With Fire!
There are new pole-like tools with a small flame at the end that you can target weeds with – a weed torch.
It’s not necessary to burn the weed to a crisp; in doing this you may get too close to your lawn and inadvertently damage patches of grass. Enough heat to wilt the weed is enough.
The weed torch effectively kills weeds by heating up the water within the cells of the plant, turning it into steam and causing the cells to explode, thus killing the plant.
Kill Weeds with Chemicals (the good kind)
There are chemical options that don’t involve any toxins and yet are quite effective.
The only drawback is that many of these options will not discriminate for weeds and thus end up affecting all of the plants they come into contact with.
Boiling water, vinegar, and salt all work by burning the weed and effectively killing it right down to the root. You can also make a homemade concoction of herbicidal soap by mixing vinegar, salt, and dish soap in a spray bottle and spraying directly on the weed. Too much dish soap will kill grass, so be careful where you spray.
Cornmeal or corn gluten offer another great method for weed prevention by not even letting weed seeds germinate! It’s important to use it early enough in the season so as to prevent weeds from having any chance, however, as mentioned before, it doesn’t discriminate between seed types. For this reason, it is important not to use this method when you are planting seeds that you do want to grow, such as grass seed.
Finally, natural lawn herbicides can be purchased in-store that usually contain fatty acids or citric acids. It is important to identify what weeds you are hoping to eliminate and checking the labels of the herbicides to make sure it will be effective for you.
How Do You Kill Weeds Naturally?
The Choice is Yours: Go Get ‘Em, Killer
It’s also okay not to be bothered by weeds.
It is true that it’s historically a status symbol to have a perfectly manicured lawn.
But in fact, some weeds can be incredibly helpful to the environment as they are a source of food for our pollinators.
However, if weeds are troublesome for you and you’re wondering how do you kill weeds naturally, then these tools, tips, and techniques should help you safely keep weeds at bay without the environmental risks of harsh chemicals and herbicides.
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