No need to deploy toxic chemicals to do a job that could be accomplished with natural, earth and family-friendly methods. “Synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides can lead to undesirable conditions, which restricts water and air movement in the soil,” according to Beyond Pesticides
. “High nitrogen fertilizers can disrupt the nutrient balance, accelerate turf growth, increase the need for mowing and contribute to thatch buildup. Pesticides harm the microorganisms, beneficial insects and earthworms that are essential to maintaining healthy soil, and therefore, healthy turf.”
Here are a few ideas to help you get started on an eco-beautiful lawn:
1. Pull your weeds by hand.
You can easily rid your garden of weeds by pulling them yourself. Make sure you wear gardening gloves that you have designated for that purpose to avoid transferring weed seeds to other areas of your yard or gardens. Some weeds are tougher to pull than others, especially dandelions and other weeds of the taproot variety. Use a long screwdriver or a dandelion digger, a tool specially designed to get down and loosen the soil, so you can pull the whole root out.
NOTE: Dandelion greens are really nutritious. According to Food Facts
, “Folk medicine claims the dandelion plant is a powerful healer, used to purify the blood, settle digestion and prevent piles and gall stones, among other maladies.” They are high in vitamins A and C, and contain iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and copper. If you are not eating the leaves, be sure to add them to your compost bin. When composted they will return valuable nutrients to your soil.
2. Vinegar is a natural herbicide.
Apply vinegar with a pump sprayer, spray bottle or brush depending on what you are trying to eliminate. Use vinegar in sidewalk cracks, between patio blocks and so on. Just keep in mind that, like other natural herbicides, vinegar will not differentiate between weeds and other plants so apply carefully.
3. Kill pesky weeds with boiling water.
Simply boil water in your kettle and bring it out to your garden. Pour a stream of boiling water carefully on the crown of each plant you do not want in your garden or lawn. Tough perennial weeds with long tap roots may take two or three applications, but they will eventually stop coming back. To conserve water, you could even use your leftover water from boiling pasta or potatoes. Make sure you do not burn yourself or splash the water on to the plants you want to keep alive. This method will kill even the toughest weeds in a couple of days.
4. Cover your planting areas with mulch.
The mulch will make sure the weed seeds do not come into contact with the soil in the first place. It will also keep the sunlight from reaching seeds that are already there, making sure they do not get a chance to sprout. As an added bonus, mulch retains moisture.
5. Use corn gluten meal.
It works by inhibiting root formation in the weeds at the time of germination so the weeds die of dehydration. The jury is still out on this method, however, and the application must be done at a certain time during the growing season to be effective. To learn more about the pros and cons of corn gluten meal, visit SafeLawns.org
6. Cover weeds with old newspapers.
You can smother weeds and prevent new ones from growing by covering them with old newspapers. A thick layer of newspaper will keep sunlight from reaching weed seeds, so they can’t sprout. Wet the soil first, and then lay your newspaper down, wetting it thoroughly again before covering with mulch. This is a great way to recycle, and as a bonus, you’ll encourage earth worms to come and stay.
7. Plant ground cover.
Ground cover and other garden crops will naturally beat out the weeds for their share of sunshine, water and soil nutrients. This also applies to your lawn; maintain a thick and healthy lawn and you will naturally discourage weeds. Remember, though, weeds provide a look into what condition your soil is in. According to Beyond Pesticides, “Weeds can tell you a lot about the condition of your lawn and indicate what you need to do to grow healthy grass that is naturally resistant to weeds and pest problems. Learn to read your ‘weeds’ for what they indicate about your lawn care practices and soil conditions.” Visit Beyond Pesticides
to learn more about how to read your weeds.