Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > August 2015 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--Organic Weed Control

BONNIE'S GARDEN--Organic Weed Control

I’ve had a lot of customers recently looking for a chemical-free way to control weeds.  It can be done.  Here’s how---
  1.  The best defense is a good offense.  Keep your lawn healthy by fertilizing, watering, and over-seeding in the fall.  Mow high—taller grass can shade tiny weed seeds so they don’t get enough sun to germinate.  To be really effective, get an analysis of your soil to find out exactly what nutrients, and how much, you need to add.
  2. Dig up weeds.  Water well the night before to soften the ground.  It makes it easier.  This is the safest way to control weeds in flower beds and around shrubs where using a spray could possibly damage nearby plants.
  3. Boiling water.  Boiling water poured around and over some of the toughest weeds will take care of the problem.  I talked to a customer this week who says she took care of poison ivy this way.
  4. Don’t give weeds the light of day.  Keep areas mulched at least two inches deep.  For added protection, you can use newspaper, cardboards, or landscape fabric underneath.
  5. Don’t let weeds go to seed.  A single dandelion seed head can produce up to 15,000 seeds in one year. By the way, when pulling up weed seed heads, do not compost.  Toss them.  A correctly maintained compost pile will eventually kill most seed heads, however why take the chance?
  6. Corn gluten meal.  There is some evidence that corn gluten used as a pre-emergent might help.  Corn gluten doesn’t keep seeds from sprouting but it  keeps seeds from developing roots hairs to absorb water.  It’s also a great source of nitrogen for your lawn.  It does not kill weeds that are already there, however.  Apply it when the forsythia in your area is blooming.
  7. Change the way you look at weeks.  I have a friend who looks on dandelions in her lawn as food.  She eats the greens and makes dandelion wine. My backyard is mostly moss and wild violets.  They thrive in my moderately damp, shady, acidic soil.  I never water, never feed, never mow.  I could invest hundreds of dollars and thousands of hours to try to grow grass, but why? 
 
If you do decide to use a chemical weed control, then do read the label carefully—even if you have used the product before.  Keep in mind that a broad-leaf weed killer will kill ANYTHING that is not a grass—if mist blows onto your azaleas or geraniums, it will, at the very least, cause damage.  At worst, it will kill the plant.  Never apply on breezy days.  Even an herbicide could possibly harm a beneficial insect like butterflies or honey bees if sprayed directly on them, so it’s probably best to spray just before dark so they’ll have already gone home for the day.
Posted: 8/4/2015 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
Filed under: Bonnie's, Control, Garden, Weed
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