Non Toxic Lawn Care

With all of the news coming out about synthetic weed killers and their negative affects on the environment and your health, it’s no wonder that Google searches are up for alternatives, including homemade and natural options. Vinegar has become popular as an option, because of its relatively low cost and availability. There are also several new brands that have recently hit the market with ingredients such as ammoniated fatty acids and iron to help combat weeds in turf and landscapes. We’ll discuss what weeds are and how they can be prevented, some of the most common types of weeds, natural options and lastly some of the maintenance things you can do for a resilient landscape.

What Are Weeds And How Can They Be Prevented?

Weeds are known as plants that are competitive, persistent, and pernicious plants that interfere negatively with human activity. They often grow rapidly and compete with desirable vegetation for water, light, soil nutrients, and space. While weeds can become highly aggressive after taking root in a landscape or lawn, perhaps the best way to reduce them is to practice what is known as Integrated Pest Management, also known as IPM. This approach focuses on applying sustainable strategies for soil, plant, and lawn health, while also being proactive in the application of nutrients, to strengthen the health and vigor of the existing vegetation and ensure that weeds do not have the right conditions for germination and growth.

Common Types Of Aggresive Weeds

Dandelions are perhaps one of the most common type of weed, with roots that can reach up to 10 inches long.

Crabgrass is another weed with one of the most voracious growth habits in lawns. Due to its ugliness, it’s crucial to ensure that you don’t let the seeds of these weeds germinate.

Bindweed is also a problematic, persistent weed that weaves its way across lawns and gardens. Its root system is tough to kill and can survive removal or herbicide treatment.

Homemade And Natural Weed Killer Options

With new studies and cases coming out, showing some of the negative affects of herbicide treatments such as Roundup, natural alternatives have become of major interest. One of the most popular natural homemade weed killers combines vinegar, salt, and dish soap as follows:

  • 1 Gallon Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Soap

The vinegar contains acetic acid which burns the leaves, while the salt helps to dry out the plant, and the dish soap allows the ingredients to stick to the leaf cuticle and prevent water from washing away the solution. While this can be an effective method for some weeds, its not always the best for the broadest spectrum.

Vinegar

A couple of new brands have come to market recently. Sunday and Pulverize®. Each take a slightly different approach to weed control with Sunday focusing more on a complete lawn care nutrient program to keep lawns healthy and weeds away, while Pulverize® focuses on destroying weeds once they have been established.

Pulverize® Weed Killer for Lawns uses the active ingredient iron, the most common element on Earth, by mass and a plant nutrient that greens your lawn, to selectively control/suppress broadleaf weeds growing in lawns. Pulverize® Weed, Brush & Vine Killer uses the active ingredient ammoniated soap of fatty acids, which works by stripping the surface coating on leaf surfaces, causing desiccation or dehydration to burn down weeds. Maleic hydrazide is also used to prevent regrowth of new stems and leaves. According to EPA R.E.D FACTS, it is “practically non-toxic” and frequently used to prevent sprouting of potatoes and onions.

Sunday is a new startup that uses soil, climate, and satellite data to help create a plan for your lawn, depending on its specific needs throughout different parts of the year, and combines nutrients, soil builders, seaweed, liquid compost, and molasses, for a naturally effective lawn builder to prevent weeds from starting in the fist place.

Lawn And Landscape Care To Reduce Weeds

In order to prevent having to mix up your own natural weed killer at home or use a brand like Pulverize®, perhaps the best thing you can do is to focus on building healthy soil. The soil under your lawn and landscape is an intricate ecosystem that contains billions of living organisms and when they’re all alive and working together, your soil can be a host to your landscape that nature intended it to be. Here are a few tips for keeping your soil perfect.

Feed Your Grass and Plants – Your landscape, especially your lawn, consumes the macronutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and a host of micronutrients. By starting with a soil test, you can determine if your grass and plants are getting what they need from your soil and then add humus enriching soil amendments, to help build your soil profile and increase your soil’s ability to retain water.

Water Deep – Your landscape needs water to get deep into the root systems of your plants. The best way to do this is less frequent, but deeper watering. Make sure that when you water, your soil is able to retain the water that you are providing. That way, you don’t have massive runoff and your plants get the correct amount at the proper depth. The best time to water is in the early morning, since it will reduce water loss through evaporation during the middle parts of the day and allow the soil to dry out slowly, discouraging fungal issues by staying wet throughout the night, especially in wetter climates.

Mow Grass High – Remember that shorter cut grass can lead to stressed grass, so set your mower at the correct height to allow shading of the root system, but also allow proper growth rates. Mulching is also better than bagging, with healthy soil turning those grass clippings into additional nutrients it needs.

Keep Your Lawn Healthy – A healthy lawn discourages weeds from sprouting and takes up water and nutrients efficiently. Here are a few tips for keeping your lawn at its absolute best.

  • Control existing weeds with a natural weed killer made from iron to prevent them from spreading and taking over. 
  • Seed bare spots in your lawn by spreading a layer of grass seed on any bare areas and cover with a thin layer of topsoil. You can also over seed your entire lawn to help you grow a greener and lusher lawn.
  • Remove thatch, which is the loose, intermingled organic layer of dead and living shoots, stems, and roots that develops between the zone of green vegetation and the soil surface your lawn healthy and strong. Normal amounts of thatch typically won’t get in the way of having a beautiful lawn as it’s a natural part of grass. It’s excessive thatch that you’ve got to remove, as too much thatch increases the amount of water your soil retains and that can lead to root rot, fungal issues and insect infestation.
  • Use a machine to aerate your lawn to let oxygen, water and nutrients penetrate past the topsoil to reach the root zone, where essential nutrients can stimulate root growth to create healthier, stronger grass.

By identifying some of the weeds in your landscape, being proactive in caring for your landscape the right way, and using selective natural nutrients and herbicides to maintain your lawn and landscape, you will see some amazing results without the need for harmful herbicides and pesticides.

Weed Killer FAQ’s

What are alternatives to Round Up weed killer?

A couple of new brands have come to market recently. Sunday and Pulverize®. Each take a slightly different approach to weed control with Sunday focusing more on a complete lawn care nutrient program to keep lawns healthy and weeds away, while Pulverize® focuses on destroying weeds once they have been established.

What ingredients make up natural weed killers?

Pulverize® Weed Killer for Lawns uses the active ingredient iron, the most common element on Earth, by mass and a plant nutrient that greens your lawn, to selectively control/suppress broadleaf weeds growing in lawns. Pulverize® Weed, Brush & Vine Killer uses the active ingredient ammoniated soap of fatty acids, which works by stripping the surface coating on leaf surfaces, causing desiccation or dehydration to burn down weeds.

What is a natural weed killer recipe?

One of the most popular natural homemade weed killers combines vinegar, salt, and dish soap as follows:

1 Gallon Vinegar
1 Cup Salt
1 Tablespoon Soap

What are some good ways to reduce weeds in your lawn and landscape?

Feed Your Grass and Plants – Your landscape, especially your lawn, consumes the macronutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and a host of micronutrients. By feeding your landscape the proper amounts of these nutrients, you will ensure that your plants and grass will have the vigor to fight off invasive weeds and pests.

Water Deep – Your landscape needs water to get deep into the root systems of your plants. The best way to do this is less frequent, but deeper watering.

Mow Grass High – Remember that shorter cut grass can lead to stressed grass, so set your mower at the correct height to allow shading of the root system

Keep Your Lawn Healthy – A healthy lawn discourages weeds from sprouting and takes up water and nutrients efficiently.

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