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Fighting Lawn Weeds Organically

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

So many homeowners pump gallons of post-emergent herbicides on their lawns that they deplete their soil of vital nutrients, as well as potentially poison the local water sources. Some commercial herbicides have been linked to non-Hodgkins lymphoma and reproductive woes. It's a completely avoidable practice since plenty of effective, safe, organic post-emergent solutions are available. You can find a wide assortment of controls using natural oils to treat crabgrass, dandelion, chickweed, clover, and basket-grass.

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Most of the organics available as post-emergent applications typically not kill seeds, but they do the job nicely in killing off crabgrass and weeds without damaging your lawn. Many use clove oil as the active ingredient, and they may also include lemon oils, vinegar, soybean oil, citric acid, mineral oil, lecithin, and sodium lauryl sulfate, a foaming agent that helps coat the leaves of target broadleaf weeds.

Non-Synthetic Weed Killers and Lawn Care
Clove oil and corn gluten weed killers are reviewed by the Environmental Protection Agency. While manufacturers assert that the weeds will die in an hour, you may have to apply the herbicide several times to eradicate perennials. Typically, you mix the treatment with water and spray it on the weeds directly.

Be careful about over-using organic post-emergents, however, since too much vinegar can alter soil pH. You should still avoid using them on septic fields or vegetables. These products may be better employed as spot killers.

Some organic weed killers need to be "activated" with a following spray of water. The weeds should turn yellow within a day, and should be left undisturbed for two days. Washing off the powdery residue can dilute the killer.

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About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.



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