Perennial weeds will need to be removed right down to their roots—not plucked off at ground level. Fortunately, there are a number of weed forks or “weed popper” tools that make this work easier. Again, dandelion is a prime example of this kind of perennial weed—unless you remove its long taproot, a dandelion often regrows from the remaining root. Hand removal of lawn weeds is easiest if the lawn is well watered, so do this work immediately after a rainfall or after watering.
Although it is regarded as hard labor by some people, one of the most effective ways to control lawn weeds is a truly old-fashioned way—removing them by hand. This can be a lot of work if your lawn is plagued by many weeds, but after doing it steadily over time, you will gradually find that weed infestations diminish as you remove weeds before they can bloom and set seed. Pay particular attention to removing weeds before they flower. The most common example is dandelion, which can scatter thousands of seeds if the pretty yellow flowers are allowed to ripen, dry, and set seeds.
One advantage of systematically removing weeds by hand is that it provides a means of aerating the lawn. An hour or so of weeding after every lawn-mowing session will pockmark your yard with small holes where the weeds have been removed, providing the same benefit as running an aerator machine over the lawn. Weeding by hand keeps you in close contact with the health of your lawn, and those who do it regularly often find that it is not much of a burden. It can also be a good way to keep kids engaged in lawn work.
Removal by Hand
There are more organic products on the market than ever, and as demand increases so does the effort to find more organic alternatives to conventional weed control.
For years, chemical weed killer has been a part of nearly everyone’s lawn care routine. Products commonly used have ranged from pre-emergent crabgrass control to weed-and-feed fertilizer-weedkiller combinations, to broadleaf weed killer containing 2, 4-D, to the ubiquitous and controversial glyphosate (RoundUp)—killer of all plants. These harsh chemicals have become such a way of life that you can sometimes find entire neighborhoods smelling like 2,4-D after the lawn service has passed through.
The ubiquitous creeping Charlie (also known as creeping Jenny or ground ivy) is a stubborn perennial weed with a vining habit that can take over large areas of a lawn. You can control creeping Charlie using a mixture of water and ordinary household borax. First, mix up 10 ounces of borax with 4 ounces of warm water into a slurry, then dilute this into 2 1/2 gallons of water. Apply this to the area of the lawn plagued with creeping Charlie. This mixture will cover about 1,000 square feet, so you can reduce the proportions for smaller areas. Some people report that this is a solution that can harm your lawn if it is applied more than once every two or three years. And be aware that the solution can also kill garden plants, so be careful as you spray it.
Another popular home remedy is Ultra Dawn dish soap mixed with water used as a moss killer. Simply mix 4 ounces of Ultra Dawn dish soap with 1 gallon of water in a sprayer and apply to the moss; it will turn brown and die within a week or so. Moss can be tricky to eliminate, and the conditions causing its presence need to be altered, but with an old recipe like dish soap and water, moss can be dealt with safely and cheaply.
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April 13, 2019 * This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.
Reviews are mixed on this one though, and better on a crabgrass inhibitor that goes on after germination, so we may go with the latter.
Keeping The Organic Lawn Dream Alive
Adam describes how farmers are desperate for solutions. They’re hardly making any money out there.
All of Jonathan Green’s products are designed to work together, so I feel like this is a good plan. You can see all these products below, which are available at Amazon.
It’s spring again, and we’re facing our fourth year with a yard of snow-weathered dirt.