The Natural Way to Keep Weeds Out of Your Lawn
From DIY repellents to our best tips for stopping these pesky plants from sprouting in the first place.
Few things are as frustrating as spotting the return of stubborn weeds in your lawn or garden. And while your natural instinct may be to reach for conventional weed killers and herbicides, spraying these chemicals on your lawn can not only compromise the health of your landscaping in the long-run, but they can also be problematic to your own health. "Many conventional weed killers use chemicals and pesticides can not only kill healthy soil, but also make your lawn dependent on the next chemical treatment," says Kel Giard CEO of Clean Air Lawn Care, a sustainable lawn care company. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can help keep these pesky plants at bay.
DIY Weed Killers
If you're looking to stunt the growth of a handful of stubborn weeds, there are a few homemade solutions that can help solve your problem. One easy and free solution? Boiling water. Pouring it over a weed patch should help shrivel up the plants; just be sure to do so slowly, carefully, and as close to the weed itself as possible to avoid burns. Keep in mind, however, that this will not nip the weeds at the root, but rather knock them out temporarily. Other ingredients that can help rid your lawn of weeds include lemon juice and vinegar, which are applied similarly to the boiling water technique; however, Giard recommends using any of these methods as carefully as you would any weed killer-spot-treating the weed as close to the plant as you can, otherwise you may risk killing the surrounding grass as well.
Opt for Organic Weed Killers
If you are going to spring for a spray to nix your weeds, Giard recommends choosing ones that have iron as a main ingredient. "Iron can works as a natural weed-killer because it wilts the weeds by overfeeding it," he tells us. There are a few brands in particular that Giard recommends including Fiesta, a selective lawn weed killer that targets specific weeds in your lawn, such as dandelions, barnyard grasses, and catch weed, without damaging the surrounding grass. It also comes without any unpleasant odors and is safe to use around pets. As for non-selective or broad spectrum herbicides, or solutions that work on broadleaf and grass weeds, Giard suggests Burnout (which uses citric acid as its active ingredient) and Avenger (which uses citrus oil). "These use acidity to kill the plants similar to how the vinegar technique works," he says. Both products are also non-toxic and made in the USA.
Catch Weeds Before They Start
To help prevent these plants from sprouting in the first place, Giard says it's helpful to remember these two rules: keep your soil healthy and don't over-cut you lawn. "If you have healthy soil and healthy roots, you'll help prevent weeds before they get going," he notes. Using organic fertilizer is one way you can help make sure your soil stays in top shape. "Secondly, mow higher. The shorter your grass is, the easier it is for weeds to push through the soil. Higher and thicker grass can also help choke out weeds." Even a subtle change of mowing at three inches instead of two-and-a-half can make a difference.