Published on May 30th, 2014 | by Scott Cooney0
5 Simple, Natural and Effective Ways to Get Rid of Weeds
Spring is in the air. Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and your yard is starting to look….overgrown. You want to do something about all those weeds, but you don’t want to pour chemical herbicides all over your yard, exposing your children, yourself, and your pets to chemicals that are known to cause cancer. You’ve decided that you like the idea of going au natural with your yard, using means other than chemicals in order to get your yard looking the way you want. In other words, you want a natural, effective way to get rid of weeds.
So what are the natural alternatives? As someone who used to run a green landscaping company, I can tell you from first hand experience, there’s no silver bullet. We used to apply generous portions of corn gluten meal as a pre-emergent weed and feed. Corn gluten meal is a byproduct of corn processing, and usually is fed to pigs as a high protein feed to fatten them up as fast as possible for slaughter. You can guess that it’s all GMO corn, of course, so you’re not reducing the market demand for chemicals if you choose to go this route–just shifting the chemical applications to farmlands and watersheds instead of your own yard.
As a pre-emergent weed killer, corn gluten meal was discovered during an experiment at Iowa State University. Researchers there found that the substance had a natural herbicide. They later refined, altered, and patented that herbicide. But the fact remained that corn gluten meal just naturally contained the herbicide. It works by inhibiting root growth in weeds at the time of germination.
Note–that means it has zero effect on weed seeds that have already germinated.
But manufacturers of corn gluten meal will say that it helps prevent crabgrass, smart weed, dandelions, purslane, foxtail, and Bermuda grass, among others. As someone who ran an eco-friendly landscape maintenance company as the first business he started, I can tell you from 4 years experience that my results using corn gluten meal in this way were extremely unsatisfactory. I applied 4 applications per year, starting just before the frost gave way in the spring, so that I could keep weeds from germinating on customers’ property. Many customers were not satisfied, though some said they thought it might have helped. I never saw a truly weed free lawn emerge from it, however.
The better ways to prevent weeds are with mulching, and physical removal. Read on for Eat Drink Better’s physical removal advice!
I’m officially an urban farmer. After replacing shrubbery with crops, our small backyard (about six one-thousandths of an acre to be more specific) is almost 100% edible. But it wasn’t easy. I had to learn how to get rid of weeds and mint…