Too many weeds for vinegar
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Author:  jc [ Mon Apr 07, 2003 8:08 am ]
Post subject:  Too many weeds for vinegar


I applied corn gluten but the weeds have taken over. There are too many for vinegar spray.

What do I do? Do I need to resort to chemical weed killer? My yard looks like it's all weeds and a little grass. Help............

Author:  Mr. Clean [ Mon Apr 07, 2003 11:13 am ]
Post subject: 


Attack those weeds with the vinegar/orange oil/soap mixture Howard recommends. You can do that with a pump up sprayer and is no more labor intensive than using chemicals which are harmful to you and the critters in the soil. Hand remove a few each evening, encourage the grass you have with natural fertilizers and ammendments and you will get things turned around. It won't happen overnight, unless you scrape the weeds off and lay some solid sod.

As an organic lawn keeper, I accept a 10% weed coverage in my lawn. I keep them mowed and they are green and some flower. Those that are unsightly, I hand remove or use the vinegar/orange oil/soap mixture.

Author:  jc [ Mon Apr 07, 2003 12:23 pm ]
Post subject: 

Can you do that large of an area with vinegar?

What are the percentages of the vinegar/soapy water/orange oil ratio? Or is there a premixed solution for large areas? If so what is it called.

Sorry for all the questions, I'm new to this. Thank you.

Author:  Mr. Clean [ Mon Apr 07, 2003 1:24 pm ]
Post subject: 


Work as large of an area as you are comfortable with. I view this whole process (organic gardening, lawn care, pet care, food and nutrition, house care, etc) not as a race, but as a journey. Each additional step I implement is an improvement over what was there before. Sometimes the results come quickly and sometimes not as quickly.

Regarding the mixture, these are Howard's recommendations:

1 gallon full strength vinegar
1 cup orange oil
1 teaspoon Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap or other mild soap


1 gallon full strength vinegar
1 cup orange oil
1 cup molasses
1 teaspoon Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap or other mild soap

I don't always measure exactly, and if you don't have Dr. Bonner's I will sometimes use regular dish soad (Dawn, Palmolive, Joy, etc.). Dr. Bonner's has a whole line of soaps available and they are great for personal hygiene as well. I purchase mine at Whole Foods.

Author:  user_48634 [ Thu Apr 10, 2003 12:50 pm ]
Post subject: 

If you have a pretty large area, you'll run out of money before you run out of weeds. Orange oil is particularly expensive to be spraying out a cup at a time.

Watering and mowing will help you and don't cost a thing. Water infrequently and deeply. Most weeds are shallow rooted while grasses are deep rooted. Many people like to exercise their automatic sprinklers every day because they can. What they should be doing is turning off the automatic feature and watering when the grass needs it. In the heat of Texas summers, that is about once a week. Right now it is more like once a month. If it rains an inch, don't water again. If it rains a half inch, water the other half and relax. An inch a week is a good starting point but one watering a week is a goal.

Tall grass has deep roots. If you mow high, the grass roots will grow as deep as possible. Tall grass also shades out weed seed so it is less likely to sprout. Bermuda grass will thin out if it is left to grow tall, so you have to mow it shorter to get a dense turf. But St Aug should be as tall as possible.

Neither water nor mowing cost you anything you weren't already going to spend.

Author:  Mr. Clean [ Thu Apr 10, 2003 1:20 pm ]
Post subject: 


I agree encouraging the turf grasses is a good weed suppression approach, and long ago accepted a percentage of weeds as part of my turf.

When faced with a yard which consists more of weeds than turf, the approach of mowing and encouraging turf growth is painfully slow, and can thus be discouraging to someone new to organics. The original question posed was the practicality of using the vinegar spray approach vs a chemical herbicide approach. I still view the use of of vinegar and orange oil to be relatively economical. I don't know how it compares to the price of the chemical approach, but I can mix a quart of vinegar and two ounces of orange oil (Organge TKO) and splash of liquid soap and effectively handle a good sized area.

Ultimately a plan which employs both the encouragement of the turf grasses and use of the vinegar sprays should yield the desired results.

Just my $.02

Author:  Sleeper [ Thu Apr 10, 2003 1:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Weedpopper

I have a similar situation in my back yard and I went ahead and invested in a Weedpopper (about $30). It is a tool that has spikes on it that you push under the weed. It is hinged, so when you step on it, the weed with most of the tap root pops out of the ground.

I can't use enough vinegar without killing the grass around the weeds and this works quickly without a lot of digging. It aerates the soil and provides ample material for the compost pile with all of the weed carcasses. My grass seems to appreciate it and none have come back yet. Not easy, but effective.

Author:  Mr. Clean [ Thu Apr 10, 2003 7:51 pm ]
Post subject: 


Have you come across weeds that the Weedpopper doesn't work on? I have seen those at various stores, but dismissed it as something that wasn't too effective. I already have a nice collection of tools which don't seem to work as advertised.

Author:  Sleeper [ Thu Apr 10, 2003 8:11 pm ]
Post subject: 

The tool seems to get better with a little practice. It brings up most or all of the tap root on dandelion type weeds. Some of the bigger versions with large tap roots will break off, but I just pour some dry mollases on them and move on. It isn't effective on Johnson Grass, but that may be because of the way it spreads. It works okay on nut grass, but I am guessing that will be the same problem as the Johnson grass. I, too, have lots of tools that don't do what they were supposed to, but I have been pleasantly suprised with this one.

Author:  Mr. Clean [ Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:16 am ]
Post subject: 


Thank you for the report. Dandelions are one of the weeds I have embraced into my turf grasses. I like the yellow flowers, but I do try to keep mowed the "puffs".

Author:  PennsyNut [ Fri Jul 11, 2003 9:53 am ]
Post subject:  Dandelions

IMHO. The only thing I do with Dandelions is try to catch the "puffs" of seed in a bag or such and destroy them. Just mowing is going to spread those seeds and you get more Dandelions. Normal mowing on all weeds keeps them under some "limited" control.

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