weed control

  • Environmentally-Friendly Alternatives to Chemical Herbicides

    Environmentally-Friendly Alternatives to Chemical HerbicidesYou’ve made an investment in your new yard, and we are just as invested in helping you maintain a healthy yard that you and your whole family can enjoy for many years. Chemical herbicides might work well in many cases, but inappropriate use can harm beneficial plants, leech into the groundwater, and can have a negative impact on the local ecosystem as a whole. Fortunately, there are many alternatives to chemical herbicides that are both effective and safe. Please be cautious in using some of these methods as they are not selective in what they kill.

    Boiling Water

    As simple as it sounds, pouring boiling water over their stems and leaves is a great way to get rid of unwanted weeds, especially in tight spots like the cracks of a driveway. Boiling water will destroy the root systems of weeds, preventing them from coming back in the future. Just be sure not to pour any onto your other plants, or they could get taken down with the weeds.

    Borax

    Also known as sodium borate, borax is a naturally-occurring compound that can be easily dissolved in water to create an effective herbicidal treatment. It’s also found in a variety of other household products such as laundry detergents and cleaning solutions. To make a borax-based herbicide, just mix 10 ounces of powdered borax in 2.5 gallons of water. After the borax has been thoroughly dissolved, apply it to weeds in a spray bottle, and be careful to avoid overspray on other plants and grasses.

    Salt

    Salt is a natural herbicide. It is important, however, to only salt the leaves of the weeds directly, and not to cover the soil around the weeds. When salt gets into the soil, it can kill desirable plants as well. Dissolve 1 part salt in 8 parts hot water, add a squirt of dish soap, and pour into a spray bottle. Apply your solution directly to the leaves of the weeds and take care to avoid nearby plants you want to preserve.

    Vinegar

    Spraying a little white vinegar onto the leaves of weeds can keep them under control as well. Grocery store vinegar will do, but more acidic vinegar is also available at your local home and garden store. You can also combine a little rock salt with the white vinegar for added weed-killing power.

    And remember, if all else fails you can always remove weeds the old fashioned way and pull them right out by their roots! Just be sure to wear a pair of sturdy gloves to protect your hands from thorns and thistles.

    Stay tuned for more lawn care tips from Southern California’s premier source for healthy, locally grown sod – Sodlawn.

  • Pet-Friendly Weed Control Options

    Pet-Friendly Weed Control OptionsCommercial herbicides might do a pretty good job of killing weeds, but unfortunately their toxic ingredients can be harmful to other organisms as well. Likewise, if you have pets or small children around the house, these chemical weed killers might not be your best option. Fortunately, we have plenty of other pet-safe methods of weed control at our disposal as well.

    Manual Removal

    Pulling weeds out of the ground by their roots might not be the most glamorous option, but it’s effective and entirely safe for your both pets and the surrounding vegetation. It can also be a pretty satisfying method of stress relief. It might not be ideal for widespread weed invasions, but manual removal works just fine for isolated weed growth.

    Boiling Water

    This is a great option for getting rid of those pesky weeds that crop up between the cracks in walkways and along the edge of your driveway. Just heat up a pot of water on the stove, wait for it to boil, and pour it on the weeds. Take care not to pour it on nearby grass or plants, however, as the boiling water will kill the root systems of whatever it touches.

    A Propane Torch

    Using a small flamethrower to kill weeds might make some homeowners a little uneasy, but it’s actually a safe, effective and precise way to control weed growth in your lawn. The flame can be carefully regulated so that it’s just large enough to kill vegetation in a small area. You can buy propane torches designed specifically for weed control applications online or at your local garden supply store.

    Homemade Spray-On Formula

    You can also make a simple solution of natural, pet-safe ingredients to kill the weeds around your home. Start by mixing two cups of water with one cup of vinegar in a plastic spray bottle. Next add about a teaspoon of lemon juice and a few drops of dish soap to help the solution stick to weeds. Spray it on weeds during peak hours of sunshine. Check back in a day or two and the weeds should have wilted away.

  • Employing Pre-Emergent Herbicides

    A pre-emergent is an herbicide that works to eliminate weeds before they emerge into your lawn. When a pre-emergent is used correctly, they will get rid of weeds before you even see them pop up through your grass. It is important to remember that you cannot simply rely on only a pre-emergent to control any weed problems you may have. Maintaining your lawn will not only help a pre-emergent to work better, but you will also have to use less of it. Establishing a healthy lawn from the start is the first step. Before laying your sod, be sure to eliminate any weeds that are in your soil. Starting with a clean lawn will help minimize any weed problems you may have down the road. Additionally, you will want to keep up on all other lawn care maintenance practices like fertilizing, watering, and keeping your grass at a proper height. All these practices create a strong and healthy turf that is able to combat the weeds that attempt to become established.

    Timing is important when applying your pre-emergent. It needs to be applied just before the seeds of the weed germinate, which is usually in the spring time, but the soil can't be too cold. It is best to test the soil temperature, keeping in mind that most weed seeds don't germinate until the soil temperature is close to 50 degrees. It is important to get your pre-emergent down at the right time, before the seed germinates, because of how the pre-emergent works. It works by forming a carpet like barrier under the soil that the weed is unable to penetrate once it has germinated. While it is important to apply pre-emergent before the seed germinates, you actually want the seed to germinate so that it can be exposed to the herbicide and be killed. If it does not germinate it will wait for another chance to germinate when your pre-emergent has worn off. After you apply your pre-emergent, applying the right amount of moisture is crucial. Water is needed to activate the herbicide, but too much water will water down the pre-emergent and it will lose its activity.

    When using a pre-emergent year after year, it is important to remember that using one type will not kill all of your weeds. There is not one specific herbicide that will destroy every type of weed and the labels on your pre-emergent will list the weeds it kills. If you have spent several years using the same pre-emergent, you will most likely have a weed or two that continue to return because your specific herbicide does not contain the chemical needed to kill it. You may want to use a few different pre-emergents in order to solve this problem, but using them at the same time may be too much for your lawn to handle. Additionally, weeds can easily develop a resistance to herbicides, so the same herbicide year after year may eventually prove to be ineffective. To solve these problems, you want to first continue to maintain your healthy lawn (mowing at a proper height, fertilizing, irrigating, etc.), along with changing up the type of herbicide you use. Changing the types of herbicide you use so that you are using different chemicals to combat different weeds is important. Different pre-emergents also work to kill weeds in different ways, such as by interfering with the metabolism of the weed's cells or inhibiting a weed's growth by blocking the division of the weed's cells. So you not only want to pick a new pre-emergent with a different chemical makeup, but you also want to choose one that has a different "mode of action", or way in which the chemical actually kills the weeds.

    Starting with a clean and prepared ground, combined with proper maintenance of your grass and applying the right type of pre-emergent, you will be left with a strong and healthy weed free lawn.

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