It’s almost spring when most homeowners start thinking about gardening and lawncare. No matter how hard home owners try, they can’t avoid dealing with the weeds that can creep in and very quickly take over a lawn or garden bed. Weeds crowd out healthy grass and choke out flowers and vegetable plants, stealing nutrients from the soil. If you don’t want to spend hours pulling weeds, and you want a nice-looking lawn, you must spray, but many commercial weed killers are toxic, dangerous to family and pets, and can do more harm than good.
Finding a good organic and effective weed killer for your needs is key. Weed killers for your lawn can either kill weeds and grass or just weeds. If you want to start grass growing from scratch, you can use an herbicide that kills everything. Wait the manufacturer’s recommended time and then plant new grass. These products also work to kill weeds in driveways, walkways, patios etc.
If you only want to kill weeds, choose a product that kills weeds and their roots without damaging healthy grass, nearby fruit or vegetable gardens, or endangering humans and pets. Some products are used to kill weeds (post emergent)and others to prevent them from growing (pre-emergent.) The first type damages the cell walls on the plants themselves. They typically use fatty acids, orange oil, or other essential oils. The weeds shrivel, get brown, and die. The second type must be applied before growth starts in the spring and fall and applied more than once per year. Some experts recommend applying pre-emergent every four or six weeks.
Your best choice for organic weed killer will also depend on your specific needs, with some product working better around hardscapes or along fences, and others being perfect choices for treating your entire yard. Some are also more economical than others, so consider your budget. Here are six organic weed killers for lawns that will help make your lawn environmentally friendly.
Lawn Guard from Gnome Lawn Care
Lawn Guard uses corn gluten meal to prevent weeds from getting started. The pre-emergent herbicide kills weeds like dandelion, clover, and crabgrass. It also works as a lawn fertilizer.
Corn gluten meal inhibits the development of weed seeds before they can germinate, establish roots, and begin growing in your lawn. When you apply it, Lawn Guard releases organic compounds that stop weeds from growing and provide some proteins and their amino acids that give the soil nitrogen.
The liquid, made from organic corn gluten meal and water, is completely safe for people, pets, and the environment. Use your own garden sprayer. One pouch covers about 2500 square feet, and is best applied in the spring and fall. You should lightly water your lawn after an application. Repeat the application every 4-6 weeks throughout the growing season to keep weeds away.
Clean Green Selective Weed Killer for Lawns
This one you can use to kill the weeds in your lawn and not kill the grass. It’s unique in that it’s not plant based. It uses iron derivatives which occurs in nature and are tough on many varieties of weeds but not on the grass. The weeds turn brown, wilt, and die. Use it on your whole lawn, in spots, or on hardscapes to clean up grass and weeds there. You don’t need to mix this with water or do any preparation.
Clean Green comes by the gallon, ready to spray with the attached spray nozzle. The company recommends a second treatment after two or three weeks for full effect. Once it dries, the treated area is safe for people and animals. The iron-based weed killer knocks out weeds and also nourishes the grass. You end up with a green healthy lawn, without the broad leaf weeds you don’t want.
ECO Garden PRO – Organic Vinegar Weed Killer
Eco Garden Pro uses vinegar to kill weeds so it’s safe to use around kids and pets. The formula is glyphosate free, and kills clover, moss, poison ivy, dandelions, chickweed, dollar weed, thistle, crabgrass, moss, white cover and many other weeds and grasses so use it to start a section of lawn from scratch or eliminate weeds and grass coming up in the cracks on the patio. The results will be fast. Usually, the product starts killing weeds and grass within 24 hours, and works on the roots, too.
The formula includes vinegar, rock salt and some biodegradable plant activators. The gallon of ECO Garden Pro is ready to spray. You don’t need to mix or add anything. This is eco-friendly, entirely biodegradable, and phosphate free so it’s safe for ground water and environment. It also won’t damage stone or concrete.
If neither vinegar nor corn gluten meal work on your weeds, you could try this product. A safe, non-toxic weed killer, Burnout uses citric acid (24%) and clove oil (8%), a lethal combination for many weeds like dandelions, moss, clover, thistles, pigweed, ragweed, quack grass and many more. You mix Burnout with water, use a garden sprayer to treat you lawn and it works in 24 hours. You might need a second treatment for taproots, but within hours of a second treatment, even taproots die.
Burnout has a pleasant smell and if you want to replant, you can do that just a day or so after completing a treatment. That makes it great for replanting small sections of grass. It’s safe for kids and pets, too. Burnout kills grass as well as weeds, so this is a great choice for spot treatments and replanting or for cleaning up driveways and walkways.
BIOADVANCED 704140 All-in-One Lawn Weed and Crabgrass Killer Garden Herbicide
If you like a hose sprayer application, this all-in-one formula is a good choice. Just connect the bottle to your hose, and spray. You can also use a standard, pump-style sprayer. The formula is 2,4-D, dimethylamine salt – 4.85% AND Quinclorac – 1.61% AND Dicamba, dimethylamine salt – 0.45%.
A single 40-ounce bottle treats about 6250 square feet and will kill over 200 different broadleaf weeds including dandelion, clover, crabgrass, thistle and even creeping Charlie. It penetrates the soil and kills even deep roots. The product becomes rain proof after just one hour and starts working to kill weeds immediately.
Natural Armor 30% Vinegar Industrial Strength Concentrate
For an extremely economical approach to weed control, try Natural Armor concentrate, which uses vinegar six times stronger than table vinegar. While you can try using table vinegar mixtures you assemble yourself, regular vinegar often doesn’t do enough. The stronger concentration in this product kills weeds much faster.
It comes in gallon jugs with a spray trigger attached for easy use in the driveway, patio, along garden beds, and around pavers. It’s nonselective, so it will kill weeds and grass. Don’t use this to kill weeds on your lawn unless you plan on planting new. Do use it to clean up the driveway, kill weeds and grass along the walkway or garden edge.
Why Use Organic Weed Killer?
With increasing concern for both the environment and human health, many are choosing organic weed killers, rather than harsh chemicals traditionally used. Some popular weed killers have been linked to cancer, so moving towards organics is logical. Organic, or plant-based solutions are biodegradable and more sustainable. They are safe to use around children and pets, and won’t poison the local water supply.
Using organic solutions to lawn weed control becomes even more important if you grow fruits and vegetables in your yard. Sprayed weed killer won’t stay where you put it, if it gets washed into your vegetable garden or roots of a fruit tree when it rains, you’re contaminating what your family will eat.