The presence of weeds on your lawn can spell doom for the turfgrass. Weeds struggle with lawn turf for access to soil nutrients, they multiply actively, and you must bring them under control before they overwhelm your lawn grass and take over your entire lawn.
Synthetic herbicides, organic vinegar, and salt solutions are both chemical and natural options for ridding your lawn of weeds. Aeration, overseeding, and regular mowing are effective lawn techniques that can significantly reduce the presence of weeds on your lawn.
Choosing an environmentally friendly weed control option is vital to protect both plant and animal life. Using pet and child-safe weed control products provides you with peace of mind and allow your kids and pets to enjoy a great time outdoors in your yard.
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What’s the best way to get rid of weeds?
Having taken a close look at the several weed control options available, we have concluded that using chemical-based selective herbicide products and organic vinegar are the two best methods for getting rid of weed growing on your lawn. Although techniques like pulling weeds by hand and newspaper mulching are popular methods for getting rid of weeds, they are not as practical as our two picks, nor can they be sustained for long-term use on extensive lawns.
Chemical-based selective herbicide products.
Selective herbicides are chemical weed control products that kill or suppress specific plant species while leaving other plants unharmed. They are available in a diluted ready-to-use mixture or concentrated form. Modern selective herbicides are designed with complex chemical formulas to tell-apart different broadleaf and grass plant species for more weed-killing efficiency. This makes selective herbicides a better option for removing weeds from your lawn than non-selective herbicides such as Roundup, which kill all plant types.
Benefits of selective herbicides.
- Targeted weed killing capabilities make them ideal for use in gardens.
- They are not harmful to all plant life, a trait that makes them more environmentally friendly than conventional chemical herbicides.
- You can apply selective weed control herbicides with a spray can, a cost-effective feature that allows you to use the product over a large area without buying huge quantities.
- Weeds sprayed by selective herbicides shrivel up, die and decompose into the lawn eliminating the need to remove them from the lawn physically.
- Weeds killed by selective herbicides do not contaminate the soil when they break down during decomposition.
Tips on using selective herbicides.
Lack of accurate information on selective herbicides’ correct use can be dangerous to your health and damage your lawn. The tips below can help you use selective herbicides safely.
- Wear the protective mask, gloves, long-sleeved clothing whenever you use selective herbicides.
- Keep children and pets indoors each time you spray your lawn with selective herbicides.
- Read usage instructions to know the correct quantity of concentrate you can use over a specific area.
- Using a higher than the recommended quantity of the concentrate over a smaller area to get rid of weeds faster will kill your lawn.
- Avoid using selective herbicides during your turfgrass stress periods, e.g., drought, heatwave, dethatching, or low mowing periods.
- Do not spray selective herbicides on a windy day or near a body of water.
Using household vinegar to kill weeds is an excellent weed control method for those who want to get rid of weeds in a hurry. Household vinegar is a potent type of non-selective organic herbicide composed mainly of naturally producing acetic acid, with minimal impact on the environment than your average chemical herbicides. Household vinegar containing 5% acetic acid is available at the local grocery store, and it is much safer for lawn use than corrosive industrial vinegar pesticides containing 20% acetic acid.
Benefits of vinegar
- Vinegar eliminates weeds of all kinds.
- It is a fast and efficient weed killer. Vinegar kills weed by sucking the moisture out of weed plants, killing them within 24 hours.
- Weeds sprayed with vinegar (only) biodegrades harmlessly into the soil without adverse environmental impact.
- Spraying lawn weeds with vinegar is a cost-effective and safer alternative to using chemical-based non-selective herbicides such as RoundUp.
Tips on using vinegar
The following tips can help you make effective use of vinegar as an organic weed control substance.
- 5% vinegar is more effective when used on weed sprouts with immature roots.
- 20% vinegar is a corrosive industrial herbicide with a higher concentration of acetic acid. Follow safety instructions, wear protective gear to avoid getting it in your eyes and skin. Inhaling 20% vinegar causes bronchitis.
- Vinegar kills both weeds and grass in equal measure. When spraying vinegar, concentrate on areas of your lawn where the weed infestation is more severe.
- Apply vinegar only on sunny afternoons, do not spray your lawn if the grass is still wet with dew or rain because water dilutes vinegar, reducing its potency.
- Avoid spraying vinegar during windy days.
Is there a natural way to get rid of weeds?
Yes, there are natural ways to get rid of weeds from your lawn and gardens. Natural weed killers are a popular weed control option as homeowners become more aware of the harmful environmental impact of chemical herbicides. Natural weed control methods are just as effective as their chemical counterparts. They are more cost-effective because they involve using organically derived herbicides, biodegradable products, plastic sheets, household weed control remedies, and items found around the home to eliminate weeds without damaging your lawn.
Natural methods of eliminating weeds include:
- Old newspapers
- Old Shower Curtains
- Carpet Samples
- Corn Gluten Meal
- Soap oils
- Boiling Water
- Landscape Fabric
- Hand pulling
What is the best time of year to rid my lawn of weeds?
Spring and fall are the best time of the year to rid your lawn of weeds, depending on the weed type and the weed control method.
Weeds go through their pre-growth period during the spring season. During this period, their root system is still immature and vulnerable to herbicides. Catching weeds at this stage stops them from sprouting permanently. The Spring season also has the added advantage of having significant amounts of rainfall. This is important because when the soil is wet, it absorbs herbicides into the ground faster. Weeds can then absorb the herbicides in the ground into their roots and die.
It is easier for homeowners to get rid of certain types of weeds like the perennial broadleaf during fall months more than any other period of the year. During this period, broadleaf herbicides disrupt the movement of food from the perennial broadleaf foliage to its roots in preparation for winter, effectively killing it.
What is a pet-friendly way of getting rid of weeds?
A pet-friendly weed control method gets rid of weeds on your lawn without harming your precious animals. They are natural weed-killing techniques derived from salt, sugar, alcohol, and other household ingredients. Veterinarians are the best people to consult on the best pet-safe weed killers or control methods for your lawn. Apart from pulling out weeds, other pet-friendly weed removal methods include:
- Boiling water.
- White vinegar solution.
12 Ways to remove weeds from your lawn
Weeds don’t play fair, and a weed infestation on your lawn can damage your lawn irreparably. Weeds are invasive vigorous growing plants that compete with turf grass for water, air, and soil nutrients. Weeds eventually overwhelm and smother lawn grass, and it is best to get rid of them before they are established on your lawn. In this regard, we have prepared a list of 12 proven ways you can use to rid your lawn of weeds. They include various methods, ranging from toxic to organic.
- Chemical-based herbicides – are an effective way of eliminating weeds from your lawn. Several environmentally friendly chemical-based herbicides are sold at garden stores. You have the option of diluted ready-to-use products or more potent concentrates that you can mix according to instructions. Consult a professional to know the suitable herbicide for your lawn and follow instructions for safe use.
- Smother them with newspapers – lack of sunlight and air will kill the weeds on your lawn. Covering your lawn with wet newspapers in ten-sheet layers will smother existing weeds and keep fresh ones from germinating.
- Dig or pull them out – some homeowners may prefer old-fashioned digging or pulling weeds which is an excellent way to remove weeds from your lawn altogether. Loosen the soil by watering your lawn beforehand, and pull the roots out of the soil to prevent weeds from re-sprouting.
- Overseeding your lawn – overseeding your lawn with fresh grass seedlings creates a lush and healthier lawn that successfully competes with weeds for nutrients and keeps them subdued. It is important to overseed vigorously growing turfgrass that will naturally outgrow weeds.
- Vinegar – Vinegar is a practical, pet-safe, and excellent environmentally friendly alternative to toxic non-selective chemical herbicides. Vinegar acetic acid is a potent general-purpose plant killer that eliminates both weeds and desirable plants. Careless use of vinegar could damage your lawn. 5% vinegar is mainly effective against weed sprouts, while 20% or 30% vinegar are stronger versions which you must handle with extreme caution.
- Boiling Water – pouring boiling water on weeds will shrivel them up. The magic here is the heat, which burns up the stems and leaves.
- Salt solution – common salt is an effective weed killer. However, use salt with caution because it kills other plants just as well. To use salt, pour 1 part salt into a spray bottle and add six parts hot water. Shake the bottle until the salt is dissolved and spray the mixture directly on the weeds. Be careful not to get the solution on turfgrass.
- Fire – scorching weeds with fire and then allowing them to wither and die is a simple and efficient technique. Light a weed torch and hold it hover over weeds long enough to see them start to wilt. Stop and move to the next area to avoid setting the weeds on fire. Perform this procedure with extreme caution. Avoid dry grass or weeds, wooden lawn crates, and boxes because of the fire risk.
- Corn gluten meal – spreading this corn milling byproduct over your lawn stops the growth of new weeds. Unfortunately, corn gluten meal is not effective against established weeds, but it will prevent weed seedlings from germinating.
- Alcohol solution – spray rubbing alcohol or vodka on weeds to dry them out quickly. To use, measure 1 ounce of alcohol and 2 cups of water into a spray container and spray the solution on weeds that thrive in the sunlight. Adding a little dish soap helps the solution adhere better to weeds. The alcohol solution is highly potent, and it will kill both weeds and desirable plants if carelessly applied. Also, it is not effective on weeds growing in shades.
- Use plant-based oils – this eco-friendly method uses oil to block the weeds’ ability to perform photosynthesis, resulting in death. It is a natural way to eliminate weeds without damaging your lawn.
- Bleach – our last proven method on this is good old bleach. Household bleach is an effective chemical agent that is capable of killing all life, weeds, and humans Included. Bleach isn’t your average weed killer, and it is why bleach as a weed control method is not certified pet or kid-safe. Bleach kills weeds such as dandelions, crabgrass by peeling off their protective membrane. Follow usage and safety instructions when using bleach. Wear protective clothing, goggles, and a facemask. And needless to say, keep children and pets indoors. Please do not let pets into your yard after using bleach. Wait 72 hours for the grass to dry, and during this period, exclude lawn playtime from your children’s activities.
Can I remove weeds without killing my grass?
There are numerous chemical and natural weed control methods specifically designed to get rid of weeds without injuring or killing your lawn grass. These include spraying weeds with non-selective chemical herbicides, pulling weeds by hand, applying plant-based oils to weeds, pouring corn gluten meal, and spraying sugar solutions over lawns with weeds infestations.
Should I pull weeds from my lawn?
Removing weeds, either by pulling or digging them up from your lawn, is a common practice. For a more straightforward job, water the lawn thoroughly to make the process of removing weeds more manageable. When the soil is moist enough, grab weeds by the stem and pull them out with the roots. You can either discard the weeds or throw them in a bin to make compost.