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pet safe weed and seed

Calcium is the most important mineral for healthy grass.

OK . . . last month I talked about . . . preventing / fixing urine scald in your lawn . . . after we do our business . . . sorry . . . but we are dogs!

For her garden pathways, sidewalks, etc. she refuses to use Roundup as it is extremely toxic and just dangerous. She makes a natural weed kill with vinegar, salt and a bit of Dawn dish soap. This really works well . . . but she says to be careful where you spray it because it is non-selective, like any weed kill, and will kill all plants . . . including your beautiful flowers.

Herbicide(s), also commonly known as weed killers, are chemical substances used to control unwanted plants. Selective herbicides control specific weed species, while leaving the desired crop relatively unharmed.

If you still want the convenience of a commercial prepared fertilizer, mom found two that seem to be the safer bets:

The other primary benefit of weeding by hand is that you can be selective; only the plants that you want to kill will be damaged. Most environmentally-friendly herbicides and weed-killing methods are not selective; they’ll kill or damage any plant they touch.

The most effective means for eradicating lawn and garden weeds is still removing them by hand. It can be tedious work, but it's the best way to ensure that the root of the weed is gone, as both toxic and non-toxic weed killers might leave it behind to regenerate (dandelions have particularly long roots). There are lots of handy weeding tools on the market that help speed up the process, so if your problem is sporadic weeds popping up, this is one way to handle them without using chemicals. It’s best to think of hand-weeding as an ongoing practice and it’s most effective when begun in spring. In garden beds, weed seedlings can be eradicated by hoeing.

These options will keep unwanted plants in check without harming your furry (and non-furry) family members.

2. Smothering

Weeds are inevitable in the yard and garden. Unfortunately, many of the chemicals marketed to combat them can be harmful to the health of your pets if they are not used carefully. Even so-called environmentally friendly or natural herbicides are capable of injury if used improperly. This is especially a concern if you have a dog that likes to dig and roll in lawns and gardens. But our furry friends can pick up herbicides and other pesticides just by walking through the yard, too. Those substances get on their paws and fur, which they may then lick and get into their bodies while grooming themselves. Here's what you need to know to keep your pets safe while dealing with weeds.

Weeds need sunlight to thrive, and if you limit their access to light, they'll die. This is just one reason why the use of garden mulch is such a widespread practice. A thick layer (3-5 inches) of organic mulches such as wood chips or pine needles allows water and air in but keeps sunlight out; soil stays healthy but small weeds and seeds hidden under the mulch do not survive. Spread mulch over garden beds to help mature plants thrive while keeping new weeds at bay. If widespread plant-killing is required (when you’re creating a new garden, for example) opaque plastic sheeting, layers of cardboard, or carpet scraps can be laid over the area where you want to kill all plants. You’ll need to leave it in place 4-6 weeks during the growing season to get the job done. Avoid tilling the soil afterward to prevent buried weed seeds from germinating.

Before you waste time, effort, and money on products that don’t work or that may pose a risk to your pet, put some thought into your level of tolerance for lawn and garden weeds. On one hand, a few lawn weeds aren’t problematic; as long as you work to keep the grass healthy the weeds aren’t likely to take over. Mulching garden beds well and regularly will keep weeds from taking over ornamental plantings. Alternatively, if you have no tolerance for weeds, then you’ll need to think carefully about what methods or chemicals to use in your yard. Here are the best weed control options to consider.

Vinegar, in a concentrated form for herbicide use, can kill plants that are young and tender. It is non-selective, so it will damage lawns as well as weeds. Keep in mind that it is a strong acid so you must take precautions to avoid getting it on your skin (like wearing garden gloves) or in your eyes or nose, and it must be allowed to dry before your pet walks on treated areas. Read and follow label directions carefully. Horticultural vinegar works well for cracks in the sidewalk or driveway. It only damages the plant tissues that it touches, so it may require repeated applications to destroy established weeds. Although vinegar sounds like an inexpensive solution, the concentrated type that kills weeds can be as expensive as standard commercial herbicides.

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