Print This Page

Organic Weed Control Newsletter - Spring 2016


             




Organic Weed Control


 
Weed problems seem to bother people more than any other pest. Ironically, weeds have great value. Nature doesn’t like bare soil and uses weeds to fill in the spaces. Therefore, the primary control of weeds is to eliminate the conditions that create the need for weeds. Severely noxious weeds rarely invade a high-quality lawn. All the money in the world spent on weed-controlling products and techniques won’t help if the lawn is not maintained properly.
 
Weed controls are divided into two groups - those that stop the weed seed as it germinates (pre-emergent herbicides) and those that kill weeds after they’re growing (post-emergent herbicides).
 
Pre-Emergent Weed Control Products
 
Corn gluten meal is a natural weed and feed fertilizer. To function as a pre-emergent, it must be broadcast before grassburs, crabgrass, henbit, dandelions, rescue and other annual weeds germinate. Possibly its best use is on bare soil around root crops, bulb plants like onions and other transplants. It will feed the young plants while keeping the competing weeds at bay. This method can also be used after seed planting but only after the seeds have grown into small seedlings. This technique works year round.
 
Post-Emergent Products
 
These contact killers are used to stop the growing weeds - both grasses and broadleaf weeds. Natural-organic choices include 10% pickling vinegar, 20% herbicidal vinegar, essential oils, hydrogen peroxide, cinnamon and fatty acids. There are several of these fancy, strong soaps and plant oil products on the market including BioSafe, BurnOut, EcoSMART, Monterrey Herbicidal, Scythe, and Racer. They are non-selective (kill everything) herbicides that sometimes have to be sprayed more than once.
 
 
Selective Weed Control Products
 
Agralawn Crabgrass Killer is a sodium bicarbonate and cinnamon product that works well when applied per label instructions. It is effective on crabgrass, basket grass, chickweed, clover and many other weeds. It even works on tough weeds like false strawberry and Virginia buttonweed. Halo is a new condensed corn liquid product that also looks promising.
 
Molasses - Dry or liquid molasses can be used to fight a specific weed – nutsedge. The dry product is used at 40 lbs. per 1000 sq. ft. or liquid molasses used at about a cup per gallon of water kills nutsedge. It usually takes 2 or 3 applications and the nutsedge slowly dies away.
 
Vinegar Products – A good choice for herbicide use is 10% white vinegar made from grain alcohol, rather than the petroleum-based product. It should be used full strength. I've mentioned that 20% is stronger than needed and too expensive. There is one exception. Nature’s Guide, Good Natured and MaestroGro now have 20% vinegar that is legally registered for organic weed control. And it works well.

 
Hand Tools – An excellent alterative if used a little at a time on a regular basis. Regular hoes, stirrup hoes, weed “poppers” and “twisters” are among the choices. Flame weeders such as Red Dragon work on many tough-to-control weeds. There are small lightweight models for the homeowner and large commercial selections as well. They usually run off propane gas.


Dirt Doctor Vinegar Herbicide Formula:
 
1 gallon of 10% (100 grain) vinegar
 
Add 1 ounce orange oil or d-limonene
 
Add 1 tablespoon molasses (optional - some say it doesn't help)
 
1 teaspoon liquid soap or other surfactant
 
Do not add water.
 
 
For More InformationWeed Control Guide

To discuss this newsletter or any other topic, tune in each Sunday 8am - 11am central time to the Dirt Doctor Radio Show.The call-in phone number is 1-866-444-3478. Listen on the internet or click here to find a station in your area.

Please share this newsletter with everyone in your address book and all your friends on Facebook and Twitter to help me spread the word on organics.

Naturally yours,

Howard Garrett

  Search Library Topics      Search Newspaper Columns