11. Vinegar and other organic herbicides
Herbicides aren’t all made of nasty chemicals. Organic soaps, plant oil blends and even common household products are all used as natural herbicides. Concentrated vinegar is perhaps the most common.
Some research suggests vinegar, or acetic acid, is not as effective as some believe. Micheal D. K. Owen, an extension weed management specialist at Iowa State University, said vinegar does not kill root systems or some larger weeds.
However, Lanini said his research shows drenching targeted weeds with vinegar can kill them, without any risk of toxic runoff. It is not selective, meaning it may kill everything it strikes. It also may be dangerous. Avoid eye contact and always follow label directions, even with natural herbicides.
None of these methods will work by themselves, but some vigilance, regular control of undesirable plants and proper care for desirable plants should minimize weed growth without the need for any chemical controls.
Also consider controlling your reaction to weeds. Some homeowners and even experts suggest a live and let live philosophy, so to speak.
“If you look at my lawn, you would think this is my approach. It all depends on the persons wants,” Hartzler said. “My lawn has deep shade from trees, and two labs using it as their playground, so I realize it will be impossible to get a vigorous lawn, so I accept weeds. In my garden I weed enough to eliminate competition between the vegetables and weeds, but I accept a few weeds that emerge later in the season.”
Lanini agrees. He notes that some grasses are technically weeds, but he doesn’t worry about them. Though he hunts down his perennial bindweed, he lets annual angel bluegrass grow every year.
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