Friday, May 25, 2012

How to kill grass and weeds...the natural way

There are several tried and true methods for killing grass that don't involve Roundup.
Technique number One: Using heavy black plastic landscape cloth. It can be pinned down or weighted. Today I used this cloth around my precious Rosemary. I have lifted all the other herbs out of the border as I couldn't get the buttercups out manually. I took the weed whipper and cut down the grass and buttercups as low as I could. Don't skip this step, it's very important to your overall success. I cut a square of the landscape cloth, cut a slit half way across and cut an X in the middle where the actual plant would go. I snugged the cloth tightly around the neck of the Rosemary and weighted it all with heavy rocks. You don't want to leave any gaps at the edge where the light can get it. So weight it or pin it right down. If it is a wider area, keep going with the cloth. I prefer not to use too much of this cloth as the water can't get through, and the soil can't 'breathe'. So, I decided to move to:
Technique number two: That good old standby, so very popular in the building of lasagna gardens....cardboard. With lasagna gardening the first layer in the lasagna is a nice thick layer of cardboard. It stays intact long enough to completely kill the lawn and weeds you are building over. Sometimes newspaper is recommended. In my experience it breaks down too fast, and I have personally been battling grass coming up about a foot into my lasagna garden ever since building it. Go cardboard. I have quite a large area around the herb area and lasagna garden that is full of grass and buttercups. I am putting cardboard thickly around the area and then I am going to put down a VERY thick layer of bark mulch. That will get rid of it all!
Technique number three: For spraying weeds in sidewalks, grass in raised beds and dandelions. Last year I kept a spray bottle full of Pickling Vinegar with a teaspoon of natural soap at the ready. It must be pickling vinegar, or stronger if you can find it. It is for spot spraying. It kills any greenery it hits so be careful of breezes and drift. It needs to be a sunny day. The sunnier and hotter the better. I had success with weed killing, but found that it takes several individual sprays to kill dandelions. Up to 5-6 even. They keep growing up in the centre. Be relentless. Part of my yard was thick with them and this year I am happy to report, there are very few. I wanted to kick up the recipe to make it more effective, so I have been researching for you. I am added a new ingredient. It would be very mean of me not to share, so my secret ingredient is Sweet Orange Essential Oil. Let me perfect the recipe and I will share it soon. I gave it my first test spraying today. Stay tuned.


Gardeningbren said...

Lots of good advice Erin! Will stand by to hear further on your new secret ingredient results.

We use a mini weed torch from Lee Valley for weeds in our gravel drive and in pavers and it works quite well.

Erin said...

Hi GB. I just might do the same thing and get the torch for pavers. They really are a nuisance. I am finding the new recipe for vinegar spray is working quite well. You know, I really hate buttercups. Well, and dandelions, but I hate buttercups more. And I used to think they were so cute.