This section is for people who are looking for non-pesticide ways to get rid of existing weeds. This will be an open forum, meaning we'd like to hear from you if you have found something that works and are willing to share it with the gardening world. In other posts we will talk about building up and balancing the soil and improving overall grass health as deterrents to weeds. We want to limit this section to home remedies or natural products that have shown good results.
Here are a couple of recipes that have worked for us:
GROUND IVY RECIPE
Borax laundry powder contains the element boron, one of the minor plant nutrients. Excessive boron is toxic to plants. However, University of Iowa research found that Ground Ivy ( creeping charlie) is more sensitive to boron than northern turfgrasses.
By applying Borax at a rate that is toxic to Ground Ivy, but not strong enough to kill turfgrass, you can safely eliminate some of this invasive weed. You may also get some dieback on clover and a few other weeds.
Precautionary note. Do not use a watering can to apply. Use a pump or hand sprayer only. If your lawn turns yellow from the borax, water thoroughly to move the boron through the soil. Do not treat again if the lawn is sensitive to the borax.
Mix 10 oz. (1 1/4th cup) of Borax in 1 gallon of hot water in a hand pump sprayer. Shake or stir really well until completely dissolved. Then mix in a tablespoon of dish soap.
Apply in the morning before the ground ivy is baked from the heat. Or apply in the evening after sunset. Set your sprayer to a fine spray pattern. Simply coat all visible Ground Ivy with your spray solution. One gallon should cover up to 1000 sf. Repeat the application in two weeks if the grass shows no sign of boron sensitivity (yellowing).
For small areas using a hand spray bottle, dissolve 5 teaspoons of Borax in a quart of water. This will cover 25 square feet.
ALL-PURPOSE VEGETATION KILLER. Caution – this will kill grass too!
one gallon of white vinegar to a boil, add one cup of regular table
salt and simmer until the salt dissolves. Cool the mixture. When
cool, add 8 drops of liquid dish soap and mix or stir it in.
The easiest way to apply is to pour into a hand sprayer or pump sprayer and spray the leaves of undesirable plants. You may have to repeat these applications once or twice a few days apart. Apply early in the day before the heat closes the pores of the plants.
DO NOT use a sprayer if you are trying to kill weeds in a lawn or weeds that are nestled in between desirable plants. You'll kill the grass or plants too. Instead, get a small paintbrush and paint the leaves of the unwanted plant with your solution. (This paintbrush idea will also work for those of you who want to use Round-up on weeds or undesirable grass types in the lawn).
Never pour this solution on garden or lawn areas. The excessive salt could ruin the soil and prevent anything at all from growing.
Written by Stuart Franklin, President of Nature's Lawn & Garden, Inc. All rights reserved.