Every year in the US alone, billions of dollars are spent on herbicides, primarily to get rid of undesirable plants or weeds. This creates a substantial problem, not in the outlay of money, though this is a consideration. Chemicals from the herbicides taint the food, soil, grass and ultimately the water supply, which isn't healthy for people or animals. The solution isn't to let weeds take over lawns but rather to find alternate methods of getting rid of the plants that are unwanted. Thankfully, there are ways to do just that.
It may seem strange that watering would help get rid of weeds but doing it properly certainly helps. The rule is that the healthier the lawn is, the fewer weeds tend to grow in it. There are exceptions, however the idea is to make the lawn as thick and healthy as possible. Grass has the ability to squeeze out other plants, since it can grow faster than weeds, particularly broad leafed ones. This isn't a secret and it is normally common knowledge.
To grow grass that will choke out the weeds, the grass requires water. This doesn't mean that the sprinkler should be turned on for a half hour every single day. Doing so will help the weeds more than the grass, because the grass roots will be encouraged to grow close to the surface. Instead, apply 1-2 inches of water once a week, preferably in the coolest part of the day when the water is less likely to evaporate. This allows the moisture to soak in deeper, encouraging deeper grass roots.
Many people want the look of a manicured lawn and quite a few of them think that this means mowing close to the surface. However, this practice favors weeds. Mowing too close to the ground can slow down the growth of grass while allowing weeds to have more sunlight so they can become robust. The grass often becomes weaker while the weeds become strong.
Instead of a close cropping, maintain the grass height at a level of two or three inches. The grass benefits and grows healthier but the weeds have to struggle to compete for sunlight. The idea is to give the grass the advantage.
There is good reason that finished compost is considered a miracle substance. It gives lawns, gardens, trees and bushes needed nourishment. Yet a layer of compost can spell the end to weeds and can make the ones that grow, spindly and weak. This makes them a lot easier to dig up or pull. The most hated weeds are usually those that will grow in poor soils. Compost can make the soil rich, causing the weeds to grow too rapidly. In fact, most mulches will help with the weeds. Compost simply has the added benefit of making the lawn healthier as the compost feeds it, normally.
As hardy as weeds are, like most plants, they usually don't like a low or acidic pH. For areas around the lawn where no plants at all are desired, this makes it simple. Mix a cup of vinegar in a gallon of water and spray the area well. Unless the soil is very alkaline to begin with, this treatment should drop the pH enough that plants, including weeds, will have a hard time growing. The down side is that the treatment needs to be repeated, since the soil generally corrects for the higher acidity.
There are many ways to rid the lawn of weeds without using man-made substances. These are only a few of those ways, and all of them are provided by nature. They also tend to be far cheaper than herbicides. This means that even if a person doesn't really care about 'going green', it is still in their best interest to use the natural ways of ridding the lawn of weeds.
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