Organic Weed Control in Gardens: Weeds are inevitable in gardening, no matter where you reside on this planet. While the variety of weeds vary depending on where you live, their capacity to sprout even in the most hostile environments has been one of nature’s greatest wonders. However, when these tiny miracles begin to compete for space and soil nutrients with the plants you want in your garden, weeds soon become a never-ending annoyance that has helped spawn a billion-dollar chemical industry specifically for herbicides and commercial weed killers.
With overwhelming evidence suggesting that many of these conventional weed killers not only hurt the environment but may also increase the risk of cancer and other serious harm to your household and other living beings on your land, some gardeners choose a more natural weed control technique. Here are some natural options to help you regain your landscape.
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Using Organic Herbicides to Kill Weeds
Herbicides are generally inorganic chemical compounds developed in labs. But, Organic Herbicides on the other hand are made using substances naturally occurring in nature. Organic herbicides are water-soluble and degrade quickly without leaving any persistent residues in the soil on the plant tissues.
Here are some of the organic herbicides for weed control
- Non-Selective Organic Weed Killer – Plant-derived extracts such as clove oil, acetic acid, or citric acid can be found in non-selective organic herbicides (vinegar). They are almost as powerful as their chemical equivalents, but they are produced from plants and are considerably less harmful to humans, animals, as well as the environment. Keep in mind that non-selective alternatives will destroy all plants, including the grass plants in your yard. However, they can be a viable alternative to glyphosate-based herbicides like RoundUp which are very dangerous.
- Selective Organic Weed Killer – So far, there are no alternatives to selective weedkillers like the broadleaf weed killer 2,4-D, that is also present in most weed-and-feed formulations. However, organic technology is advancing quickly, and we may soon see an efficient organic weed killer that specifically targets broadleaf weeds whilst not affecting grass plants.
- Organic Pre-Emergent Weed Killer – Corn gluten meal could be utilized as a pre-emergent herbicide for crabgrass avoidance in the spring, but it is required in such huge quantities that it is neither cost-effective nor beneficial to the soil.
- Monocerin which is a byproduct of fungi is effective against weeds like Johnson grass.
Organic Weed Killers have minimal toxicity levels, thus making them safer in comparison to their chemical counterparts. Organic herbicides are becoming more popular as a result of environmental and health risks caused by chemical weed killers.
However, organic herbicides for weeds can indeed be costly for commercial organic farming or the regular home gardener. They do not work in every scenario, and their results are usually temporary, thus requiring frequent reapplication. They are commonly employed in combination with cultural as well as mechanical weed control methods. They are non-selective, which means they can’t tell the difference between weeds and basil.
Organic herbicides are also most helpful against post-emergent plants or weeds that are actively growing. Unfortunately, this implies that your weed-pulling days are likely to continue, but an organic herbicide might be useful.
Organic Home Remedies for Weed Control
Chemical Herbicides are not always the best option for small home gardeners. Sometimes simple home remedies can work well in controlling weeds. Some of the best weed-killing formulas have been passed down through generations, thus eradicating weeds without the use of store-bought chemicals. Here are a few simple and low-cost ideas for killing common garden weeds,
When employing this approach, most gardeners use home vinegar, with the normal bottle having around 5% acetic acid. However, this quantity of acid is only effective on immature weeds and may only destroy the tops, enabling fresh regrowth from the roots. Vinegar is also non-discriminatory, which means that if used on lawns, over-spray may harm neighboring plants or surrounding grass.
Some gardeners utilize herbicidal strong vinegar preparations from garden centers, but these have their own dangers and therefore can harm the eyes and skin if not applied properly. For using vinegar safely, many gardeners often paint vinegar on the weeds with a little paintbrush rather than spraying, so that the harm is limited to the weed and does not affect the surrounding vegetation and organisms.
Using boiling hot water is a natural method for weed control. Hot water kills the weeds but you have to be careful so as to not burn yourself. This technique is best for small home gardens but it is not commercially viable for large gardens or lawns.
Solarization or Plastic Sheeting
An area containing weeds can be solarized simply by covering it with a layer of clear transparent plastic or black plastic sheeting. This isn’t a herbicide, but it’s a good way to get rid of weeds, especially in big regions with no other vegetation. You can mow and weed whack all the tall weeds before covering the area during the warm summer season for 6 weeks. Weigh down the plastic’s edges to keep it from blowing away. The weeds, as well as any of their seedlings, are burned to death within 6 weeks.
A flame torch is another mechanical method for destroying weeds. A wide range of long-handled garden tools are available, each powered by a tiny propane tank that feeds a bright flame at the tool’s tip. By burning lawn weeds with a flame, you efficiently destroy them all the way down to the roots. However, you must exercise caution because the flame will destroy any grass plants that come into contact with it.
Manual Weed Removal by Hand
Although some people consider it to be hard labor, one of the most efficient ways to eliminate lawn weeds is a true old-fashioned method—removing them by hand. If your lawn is infested with weeds, this may be a lot of effort, but if you do it consistently over time, you will eventually see that weed infestations reduce as you eliminate weeds before they can blossom and lay seed. Take special care to remove weeds before they blossom. The most obvious example is the dandelion, which may produce hundreds of seeds in case the beautiful yellow blooms are allowed to mature, dry, as well as set seeds.
Perennial weeds must be eradicated all the way down to their roots, not only at ground level. Luckily, there are a variety of weed fork (weed popper) instruments available to help with this task. Again, dandelion is a great example of this type of perennial weed—unless its lengthy taproot is removed, dandelion frequently grows back from the remaining root. Manual plucking of lawn weeds is easier when the lawn is properly hydrated, so perform this task right after it rains or after watering the garden.
One advantage of manually eliminating weeds is that it allows for aeration of the grass. An hour or two of weeding after each lawn-mowing session will leave your grass with little holes where the weeds were eliminated, offering the same advantage as using aerator equipment over the lawn.
Effectiveness of Organic Weed Control Methods
With the exception of manual weeding, the fact is that most of the “green” organic weed killers are not as powerful as their chemical-based alternatives. But, organic research spurred by customer demand may offer new, more effective options.
Organic solutions provide you with peace of mind since you are not damaging the environment or endangering the health of your family and neighbors in return for a slightly lower efficacy. For several people, this is a sufficient incentive.
If you must use conventional chemical herbicide formulations, it’s best to use them sparingly, spot-treating weeds as you detect them rather than pouring herbicides over large sections of your lawn. You may avoid large-scale contamination of your yard as well as your neighborhood by using such pesticides very cautiously and in a restricted manner.
Hire a qualified lawn care service for weed control with caution, as these firms are in the business of working rapidly by spraying huge volumes of the chemical in a hurry. Even firms that advertise themselves as “organic” or “green” may use excessive quantities of chemicals in their weed treatment procedures