A lush green lawn is a beautiful sight to behold. However, the presence of weeds can quickly ruin the aesthetic appeal and make it look shabby. I don’t hate weeds…some are actually attractive, taste good and beneficial, but if you want a beautiful lawn, that ain’t the place for weeds. I always tell the grandkids…."Don't Let The Weeds Spoil The Fruits of Your Labor". Weeds are invasive plants that compete with grass and gardens for nutrients and water, leading to a weak and unhealthy lawn, so remove them! While chemical weed killers may provide a quick fix, they also harm the environment, pets, and people. Therefore, it's essential to consider natural methods of controlling weeds in lawns. So instead of trying to find the easy way, let’s discuss the best ideas for environmental methods to get rid of weeds, but before we do, allow me to educate you a bit on a few of those weeds you may be angry with....
- Clover: Clover is often considered a weed in lawns, but it actually has a number of health benefits. It is high in protein and fiber, and also contains vitamins C and B-complex, as well as minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Clover can be eaten raw in salads or cooked like spinach.
- Now that we've discussed different ways to eat weeds (that was MeeMaws idea) let's talk about ways to get rid of weeds in your lawn or garden..... 1. Hand-pulling weeds
Hand-pulling weeds is the most basic, inexpensive, and effective method of controlling weeds in lawns. It's particularly useful for young weeds that haven't developed deep roots and are still easy to uproot. To effectively hand-pull weeds, you need to wear gloves and use a tool such as a garden trowel or weeder. I try to get as far under the weeds roots as possible to insure the root is removed, pull the weed from the base, removing as much of the root system as possible to prevent regrowth. The best time of year to do this is early spring, sometimes the turf is still dormant, but the weeds are beginning to grow. Regarding “nut grass” or nutsedge as it is known, make sure you dig up the entire plant with the bulb. If you simply pull the week and the bulb remains in the soil, more will follow!!!
- Mowing high
Mowing your lawn high is an excellent way of preventing the growth of weeds. When you mow your lawn high, you encourage the grass to grow taller and thicker, which shades out the soil, making it difficult for weeds to grow. Additionally, tall grass forms a barrier that inhibits weed seeds from getting enough sunlight to germinate. Most experts recommend mowing the grass to a height of about three inches to create a thick turf that can resist weed growth. This also helps the turf to retain more moisture.
- Organic mulching
Mulching is another effective method of killing weeds in lawns. Organic mulch, such as grass clippings, leaves, or straw, helps to smother weeds by depriving them of sunlight. The mulch also helps to retain moisture, keeping the soil cool and reducing weed germination. To use organic mulch to control weeds, spread a layer of the mulch over your lawn, making sure it doesn't cover the grass blades. You can use a rake to spread the mulch evenly over your lawn. Too many lawn companies these days are using vacuums or catchers on their mowers to remove clippings which may look as pretty as a vacuumed carpet, but you’re not doing the health of the lawn any favors, you’re actually robbing it of natural nutrients.
Vinegar is a natural herbicide that can help to kill weeds in lawns. It's particularly useful for broadleaf weeds such as dandelions, clovers, and chickweed. Vinegar works by drawing moisture out of the weed's leaves, which causes it to wither and die. To use vinegar as a weed killer, mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle and add a few drops of dish soap. Shake the bottle well and spray the mixture directly onto the weed's leaves. Be careful not to spray the vinegar solution on your grass, as it can also kill the grass. This works well on large patches of weeds that clump up, but not my favorite way to rid weeds.
- Boiling water
Boiling water is another effective and natural method of killing weeds in lawns. It's particularly useful for weeds that grow in cracks on your driveway or walkway. Boiling water works by scalding the weed's leaves, which causes it to die. To use boiling water as a weed killer, boil water in a kettle or pot and pour it directly onto the weed's leaves, being careful not to burn yourself. Boiling water can also damage your grass, so be careful not to pour it on your lawn. This is my go to method when weeds are coming up on stone paths or brick pavers.
- Corn gluten meal
Corn gluten meal is a natural pre-emergent herbicide that can help to prevent weed seeds from germinating. It works by releasing organic compounds into the soil that inhibit the growth of weed seeds. Additionally, corn gluten meal is high in nitrogen, which helps to fertilize your lawn. To use corn gluten meal as a weed killer, spread a thin layer of it over your lawn in early spring or fall before the weed seeds begin to germinate.
To use corn gluten as a pre-emergent, it's best to apply it in the spring and fall, when soil temperatures are around 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit. This is typically when weed seeds begin to germinate.
To apply, spread the corn gluten evenly over the lawn or garden bed using a spreader. Be sure to water the area thoroughly after application to activate the herbicide and help it reach the roots of the weeds.
It's important to note that corn gluten works best as a preventative measure and may not be as effective on established weeds. Additionally, it should not be used on areas where you plan to plant seeds, as it will inhibit their germination as well.
7. Pulling weeds with a hoe
Using a hoe to remove weeds can be an effective way of controlling weeds in your lawn. A hoe cuts the weed roots just below the soil surface, which prevents regrowth. To effectively use a hoe, you need to hold the tool at a 45-degree angle and chop the weed at its base. You should also rake the area after hoeing to remove any remaining debris. This is probably my favorite way to rid weeds. Breaking up the soil is good for it, and it activates the dormant enzymes in the soil and allows you to test the moisture and texture of the upper soil base. I have a favorite tool I use and keep it sharp. There are a number of new fangled weed pullers that work really good for just this purpose.
In conclusion, there are many natural ways to kill weeds in lawns, and chemical herbicides should only be used as a last resort. Hand-pulling weeds, mowing high, organic mulching, vinegar, boiling water, corn gluten meal, and pulling weeds with a hoe or other tools are all excellent natural methods of controlling weeds in your lawn. By using these methods, you can enjoy a healthy and beautiful lawn without harming the environment, pets, or people.