All conventional pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides are toxic at some level and can have a detrimental effect on both our health and the health of the environment. Chemicals in these products are especially dangerous to infants and children as their immune systems are rapidly developing.
Organic, natural lawn care not only is better for your grass by building organic matter in the soil and improving your the root health of grass, but it is also better for the environment and your family.
“Studies show that hazardous lawn chemicals are drifting into our homes where they contaminate indoor air and surfaces, exposing children at levels ten times higher than preapplication levels. Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 16 are linked with cancer or carcinogenicity, 12 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 25 with liver or kidney damage, 14 with neurotoxicity, and 17 with disruption of the endocrine (hormonal) system.” Learn more about the dangers of pesticides here.
Natural Weed Control & Sustainable Lawn Care
By hand-picking weeds, you are avoiding the use of toxic chemical pesticides and herbicides hence protecting your family and the environment.
Use Vinegar, Baking Soda, Soap, Salt, Boiling Water, or Borax.
Vinegar, baking soda, soap, salt, boiling water and borax are all natural ways to control weeds in your yard. When using vinegar be sure to choose the highest strength like this one that we use in our home.
Corn. Gluten. Meal.
Corn gluten meal is a natural way to prevent weed seeds from germinating. We apply once in the spring and once in the fall. This organic option is our go-to.
Use cardboard or burlap as a weed barrier.
Last year we laid old cardboard boxes down prior to planting and mulching. It helped protect our plants and keep weeds from creeping through. Plus, it is eco-friendly! Natural, untreated burlap like this one is another good option.
Consider a Flame Weeder.
A Flame Weeder like this one doesn’t attack the root of the weed, so you may have to use it a few times, but it does work for all types of unwanted weeds. Use caution!
Avoid mowing the grass too short.
When you mow your grass too short, weeds will thrive and overpower your lawn! As the saying goes, “if the grass doesn’t shade the weed, the weed will shade the grass.” Mowing higher also helps protect your soil and leads to thicker grass.
Mulching around plants and trees.
Mulching around plants and trees helps to keep weeds at bay, retain moisture, and improve soil conditions. Just remember not to put too much mulch up against the trunk of a tree or you risk decay. As a rule of thumb… mulch should be at least 5 inches from the trunk and no more than 2-4 inches deep. Avoid those ‘volcano mulch piles’.
Use an organic fertilizer.
If you are in need of a fertilizer, which you might be if you have a weed problem, choose organic and apply in spring and fall. Although this is not necessary, we love this one!
Two Words: Fish. Emulsion.
In case you missed it above, using organic fish emulsion is the way to go! I swear by this particular one and have used this brand as well. No joke, my plants started to grow like crazy once applied. Make sure you dilute and read the manufacturer’s directions. We applied once or twice per week. It is literally AMAZING.
Water New Plants Often.
When planting a new plant, tree, or shrub be sure to water it often (every day) so that the roots can become established. Tip: Stick your finger into the soil to check the moisture level.
Test the pH of your soil.
Clover and other “weeds” can become a problem if your soil is too acid or too alkaline. If your soil pH is below 6.0, add lime. If your soil is above 7, add sulfur. Grass loves a pH of about 6.5.
Dandelions thrive in alkaline soil with a pH of about 7.5.
Make sure the pH of your grass isn’t too high and if it is be sure to lower it to avoid dandelions if you consider them weeds!
Clover thrives when your lawn lacks nitrogen.
If you have an abundance of pesty clover, add nitrogen back into your soil with an organic fertilizer.
Aerate and over seed.
Aerate and over seed very couple of years to maintain proper soil and grass health. It is recommended to aerate once in the spring and then again in the fall. This usually almost always helps control weeds from my experience.
Consider a Rain Barrel.
You’ll save money by using what nature gives us for free – water when it rains! Check out this barrel made in Canada.
Rock hard soil?
Add a layer of good compost in the fall or make your own!
Have a serious weed problem? Consider mowing twice a week until it is under control.
The mower will chop off the fast growing weeds, allowing sunlight to penetrate the grass below.
Or just accept and enjoy the weeds!
Natural Pest Control
100% Neem Oil
Diatomaceous Earth is an odorless, non-toxic natural powder that has many uses in the garden and home. This Diatomaceous Earth is our go-to for natural pest control – it repels ants and other insects (even beneficial ones so use only when necessary). Tip: Be sure to sprinkle a thick enough line where the pests crawl.
Mint and Lavender
Mint and lavender are two plants that are said to keep aphids, ants, and rodents away. Although, I’ve never had a problem with rodents in my yard, I do grow both of these herbs annually! Keep in mind, mint will spread like crazy! So it is best to keep it in a container.
Citronella plants help keep mosquitoes and other pests away from the patio during warm summer nights. Try rubbing a bit of a citronella leaf on your skin for extra protection.
Citrus peels help keep bugs like spiders away.
Cedar is naturally rot-resistant and helps to keep bugs at bay. Try using cedar wood chips or planters around your garden.
If you’re looking for more lawncare tips, the safest products, tools and more check out, Ultimate Guide to Gardening for Busy Parents.
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