Magic Weed Killer? No Such Luck!

weedkillerWe came across the following article in The Big Blog of Gardening, one of our favorite and most useful blogs about “organic gardening and organic lawn care tips. Delicious vegetables, a green lawn and beautiful flowers without chemicals.” Thanks to the author, Todd Heft, and our friends at The Big Blog of Gardening. And be sure to check out their site!

 

Posted by Todd Heft on The Big Blog of Gardening, May 11, 2013

Are you searching for: a “permanent” weed killer? a “natural” weed killer? an “organic” weed killer?

“Kills weeds, not lawns”

“6 months of control with one application”

“New chemistry effective on over 200 weeds”

Don’t be fooled. There is no silver bullet to make weeds magically disappear.

Sure chemicals work. They work really well. But their effect is not limited to the weed itself, regardless of marketing claims. There’s a downside.

An herbicide will make a broadleaf “weed” disappear from your lawn, but at the expense of the soil and biology beneath (and maybe your evergreen trees, as we saw with imprelis). Season after season, the soil gets weaker, unable to support the grass growing in it without the help of more and more chemicals – the lawn and garden version of a chemical dependency.

(Read: The ecosystem in your lawn’s soil and why it’s important)

And then there’s the organic weed killer solution of white vinegar and dish soap. Spray it on an annual weed, and most will slowly die back, but it’s not effective on perennial weeds like thistle. It’s less harmful than a registered herbicide, but also a poor long term strategy. Use too much and the soil becomes too acidic to grow anything for months. I only recommend the white vinegar solution for use between pavers, cracks in cement, driveways, or stone paths where no plants at all – weeds or otherwise – are wanted.

And don’t get me started on fabric weed barriers. Worse than useless.

(Read: The weed barrier myth)

The only true way to remove weeds from your flower or vegetable garden is to pull them by hand and mulch the beds. Chemicals in a vegetable garden are forbidden, including mulches with pre-emergent chemicals added (like preen).

In your lawn, create soil conditions in which grass will not only grow, but thrive. More grass equals less weeds. The only sure, lasting  way to control weeds in your lawn is with simple, cultural solutions: Tips on weeding your garden and lawn)

The best way to control weeds in your garden? Your hands. Pull weeds as soon as you see them and they never get out of control.
For more information about the author, check out Todd’s Google+ profile

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