Non Toxic Weed Killer

Asked July 24, 2020, 3:55 PM EDT

I own a business with extensive lawn and flower garden areas. My employees object to using roundup or weed b gone type products because of their toxicity. I am looking for a weed killing solution which is not toxic. Can you suggest a solution for this issue?

Antrim County Michigan

1 Response

Hello,

Non chemical techniques for weed control are:

-mowing or frequent cutting, reduces flowering and seed dispersal; eventually starves and kills root.

-smothering with 4-6 layers of non glossy newspaper or a sheet of cardboard, topped with mulch if appearance is important.

-once weed free, keep areas mulched with at least 3 inches deep mulch, or plant densely with groundcovers, creeping evergreens, etc.

- hand digging, hoeing.

- grazing goats

Using chemicals considered less toxic includes:

-corn gluten meal, which has some suppressive effect on seed germination( no action on sprouted weeds)

-20% acetic acid herbicide applied according to label precautions and directions- burns tops down, and must be repeated to starve perennial weed roots. See link below for other organic options

- in turf areas promote a thick turf to shade out weed seed germination by following best practices: , mow no shorter than 3 inches, fertilize 2-4 times per year according to a soil test, provide 1-1.5 inches water per week divided in 3-5 doses, full sun of 6 or more hours per day( otherwise grow a shade tolerant planting such as ground covers).

Even organic herbicides are chemicals, and please follow all precautions and directions on the label of any product you use.

References-

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/smart_gardeners_improve_their_soil_and_weed_control_with_organic_mulch

http://ucnfanews.ucanr.edu/Articles/Feature_Stories/Organic_Herbicdes_-_Do_They_Work/

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/got_weeds_employ_some_goats

https://plantvillage.psu.edu/posts/6322-general-pros-and-cons-of-using-roundup-v-lasagna-gardening

https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/403/2015/03/corn-gluten.pdf

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/five_tips_to_manage_lawns_for_water_quality

https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/dont_guess_soil_test_get_your_home_lawn_and_garden_soil_test_kit_today

This is a lot of information. If you have questions, please ask!