Organic Solutions to Weeds: Why They’re Here & What We Can Do About Them

An organic lawn care program works best when we have the time to create a healthy soil environment in which grass can thrive and weeds won’t grow.  Weeds are one of the more vexing aspects of lawn care. What they are and why they are there are the keys to how to get rid of them.

The general definition of a lawn weed is any plant that is unwanted and growing where it should not be growing. Most plants that have been classified as weeds are ones that are hardy and reproduce easily.  Most weeds will compete with your lawn grass for nourishment. If left unattended, lawn weeds can completely take over your lawn.

Weeds are natural indicators, meaning their presence provides a clue to a larger problem occurring in the soil. It is important to know that correcting the larger issues can virtually eliminate any weed problem. Weeds thrive on weak, stressed turf and compacted, unhealthy soil. Eliminate those conditions and grass will win over weeds.

By balancing the nutrient content of the lawn, over time, in favor of the grass, aerating compacted soil, preventing damaged and bare spots in the turf and using pre-emergent in the spring to prevent weed seeds from germinating we can prevent the majority of weeds from ever seeing the light of day in your lawn.

Organics weed control works best when weeds can be prevented. Some keys to weed prevention include:
Mow at the highest level possible, usually 3″, to encourage a dense lush, lawn capable of crowding out of weeds;
Reduce soil compaction by aerating in combination with an organic soil builder;
Re-seed bare patches in the lawn to avoid them from being taken over by weeds;
Avoid scalping the lawn when mowing. Damaged crowns recover very slow and give weeds an opportunity to establish;
Water deeply and infrequently, maintain adequate soil moisture but do not over-water.

Once weeds bloom, organics can fall short.  We do offer a few possible solutions.

Use an organic, all-natural, nutrient-rich foliar treatment. Applying a liquid spray consisting of sugar beet molasses rich in micronutrients such as iron will serve two purposes:

1. The foliar treatment, absorbed through the leaves, will quickly green up the grass resulting in healthier, thicker turf;

2. The treatment will also serve to over fertilize the weeds, causing a weed die-off. Since grass is a heavy feeder it thrives on the extra fertilization.  Weeds, especially broadleaf weeds such as dandelions, cannot handle the extra fertilization and within a couple of days of application the weeds will brown up and expire.

 

Manual weed pull.  We can send a team out to manually pull weeds, especially broadleaf weeds such as dandelions.  Admittedly this is very time consuming and can be costly.  We recommend that every time you sitting in your yard playing with the kids and pets or having a cook-out, pull a visible weed or two-you’d be surprised at how quickly you yard will be free of weeds!

 

As a last resort, we recommend an herbicidal transition period.  This is a more common practice in agriculture when farm land that has been used for many years with chemical fertilization wants to go organic.  A transition period eases the lawn off the chemical addiction without going cold turkey.   In Canada, you can get a permit for chemical herbicides, but it’s for one application only.  We recommend a transitioning period only if you’re at the point where you’re going to give up on organics completely.  If you do need to have a chemical company use herbicides for a one-time treatment, we’ll credit you the cost for future services and get you back on an organic fertilization program right away.

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