When weeds are a constant problem, you may feel tempted to use powerful weed killers. Unfortunately, there are many substances that can harm pets. Misuse of “eco friendly” or natural herbicides can cause injury. You could also be putting yourself at risk if you have a dog who likes to roll and dig in your garden or lawn.
Even romping through the grass with your pets can be dangerous, as they can pick up pesticides and herbicides while walking. These substances can be transferred to their fur and paws, which they could inadvertently consume while grooming.
Are you doomed to an unkempt yard if your pets are around? Not necessarily. Pet-friendly weed-killers and lawn-care techniques can help you get rid of leafy invaders while not affecting your pets’ health. What you need to do to protect your pets while fighting weeds.
You should evaluate your tolerance to weeds before you spend time, money, and effort on products that are ineffective or could be harmful for your pet. Can you tolerate a few weeds? As long as the grass is healthy, a few lawn weeds won’t be a problem. Mulching garden beds will also prevent weeds from taking control of ornamental plants.
Carefully consider the methods and materials you use to keep your garden and lawn weed free.
1. Weeding by Hand
Hand removal is the most effective method to eliminate lawn and garden weeds. The process is tedious, but the only way to eliminate the root of the plant. Both harmful and non-harmful herbicides can leave behind roots that regenerate. Dandelions, in particular have long roots.
There are many handy weeding devices on the market that can speed up the process. If your problem is sporadic or persistent weeds, then this is an effective way to eliminate them without the use of potentially harmful chemicals. Hand-weeding is best done as a regular practice. It’s also most effective when started in the spring. In the garden you can get rid of weeds by hoeing.
You can also be selective when you weed by hand. Only the plants that you wish to eliminate will be affected. Unfortunately, most herbicides that won’t harm the environment and weed-killing methods aren’t picky; they’ll kill or damage any plant they touch.
2. Smothering Weeds
Weeds, like any other plant, need sunlight to grow. If you prevent them from getting enough light, they will die. To suffocate them, you can lay down a thick (3 to 5 inch) layer of organic mulch such as pine needles or wood chips. Avoid cocoa mulch as it is toxic for dogs when eaten. The mulch lets water and air pass through, but blocks sunlight. The mulch will keep your soil healthy, as weeds or seeds that are hidden beneath it won’t be able to survive.
You can use opaque plastic sheets, cardboard layers, or carpet remnants to cover the area you wish to eliminate all plants. Keep the layers on for six weeks to effectively smother the weeds. To prevent the germination of buried weed seed, avoid tilling soil afterwards.
3. How to Use Horticultural Vinegar
Vinegar in its concentrated form can kill tender, young plants. Remember that horticultural acid is a nonselective kill, which means it will harm any plant. It’s also important to be aware of the fact that it is a strong acid. Avoid contact with your eyes, nose, and skin. Wear gardening gloves! Follow the directions on the label and keep pets away from treated areas until vinegar has dried.
This method works well for cracks on driveways and sidewalks. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results after the first spray. Since the horticultural vinaigrette only affects the plant tissue, it may take several applications to kill the weeds.
It may seem like using horticultural vinegar will save you money, but this is not the case. Concentrated vinegars that kill weeds are as expensive as commercial herbicides.
4. Burning or boiling Weeds
Try burning them off with a torch, or scalding with boiling water if you have weeds. Be careful not to hurt yourself! These methods will not kill established weed roots and you may need to repeat them several times throughout the summer.
5. Alternative Natural or Organic Products
Many products available in the stores contain concentrated essential oils, soaps or other natural ingredients. They are not selective weed killers, and will damage everything they touch.
Initial results showed that corn gluten meal was a promising pre-emergent weedicide. There are still downsides. The timing of the application (in spring, before weeds appear) is crucial because it does not affect established weeds. It’s also a safe weed killer for pets.
Many products work, but it takes days for them to show any results. Others require multiple applications. Follow the label instructions carefully. Don’t expect immediate or permanent results. Keep pets away from treated areas as per product directions. Even if a product claims to contain natural ingredients, your skin, nose, or eyes can be irritated.
What Not to Use
Salt, sugar, and borax are all household products that have been suggested as weed killers. However, they can be ineffective, and even damage soil. Borax, for example, will prevent the growth of desirable plant species. Salt can also cause soil chemistry to be thrown out of balance. Sugar is a pesticide that attracts all types of pests. It can even tempt your pets and wildlife to eat things they shouldn’t.
The very best weed control is to call Conway Lawn Care to schedule regular servicing of your lawn. You will safely get rid of weeds and will save time and money in the long run.
Like our Facebook page for more great info about lawn maintenance services.