Even though dandelions are one of the most delightful indicators that spring is finally on its way, they can quickly become unsightly. In a similar way, ragweed, Queen Anne’s lace, and crabgrass can all take their turns dominating your lawn as spring and summer progress. Unfortunately, many people believe that the only way to get rid of weeds and fungal infestations is to use harmful herbicides. Depending on the type of weed you are trying to control, you may not need any chemicals at all.
In many cases, if you wait for the right time in the weed's life cycle, one good cutting with the lawn mower will eliminate them. For example, if you check with your county extension agency or local lawn and garden center, they should be able to tell you when cutting a weed will prevent it from growing back and developing seeds for the next year.
It’s also helpful to set your mower blade to a height that will enable grass plants to shade out the weeds that are now weakened. If you want to keep your lawn very short, you may want to select a type of grass more suitable for golf courses. Unfortunately, common types of lawn grass won’t do as well compared to weeds under these conditions.
Corn Gluten Meal
When applied in the fall, this natural remedy will prevent many types of weed seeds from germinating. If you see weeds starting to grow in the early spring, give them a second application of corn gluten meal. Unfortunately, this remedy will not be effective once the plants have begun to develop past the early germination stage.
A weed torch utilizes propane and a nozzle to apply heat to leaves and stems. These can be useful if you’re trying to control weeds that climb up between stones or along edgings, like ivy or roses. If you’re trying to eliminate poison ivy, it’s best not to use a weed torch. The harmful oils found in the plant don’t break apart because of heat or burning. The soot and oil can land on trees or neighboring plants and may remain active for up to five years.
Eugenol and Other Plant Based Herbicides
Surprisingly enough, some plants produce chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants as a defense mechanism. These compounds can be useful as natural herbicides, since you aren’t introducing foreign chemicals into the environment. You can buy a number of products that contain Eugenol and other chemicals known to target weeds. Of course, before purchasing these formulas, it is still best to see if you can eliminate weeds another way and to make sure that the formula you purchase will work on the specific weeds in your lawn.
When all else fails, you can eliminate weeds by manually pulling them out. The best time to weed by hand is after it rains, since you’ll have an easier time removing the roots of stubborn plants like dandelions and crabgrass. That said, if you don’t have the time to weed your lawn, there are still a number of safe, reliable, and non-chemical methods that will control weeds as well as synthetic herbicides.