These options will keep unwanted plants in check without harming your furry (and non-furry) family members.
Weeds need sunlight to thrive, and if you limit their access to light, they'll die. This is just one reason why the use of garden mulch is such a widespread practice. A thick layer (3-5 inches) of organic mulches such as wood chips or pine needles allows water and air in but keeps sunlight out; soil stays healthy but small weeds and seeds hidden under the mulch do not survive. Spread mulch over garden beds to help mature plants thrive while keeping new weeds at bay. If widespread plant-killing is required (when you’re creating a new garden, for example) opaque plastic sheeting, layers of cardboard, or carpet scraps can be laid over the area where you want to kill all plants. You’ll need to leave it in place 4-6 weeks during the growing season to get the job done. Avoid tilling the soil afterward to prevent buried weed seeds from germinating.
1. Weeding by Hand
The most effective means for eradicating lawn and garden weeds is still removing them by hand. It can be tedious work, but it's the best way to ensure that the root of the weed is gone, as both toxic and non-toxic weed killers might leave it behind to regenerate (dandelions have particularly long roots). There are lots of handy weeding tools on the market that help speed up the process, so if your problem is sporadic weeds popping up, this is one way to handle them without using chemicals. It’s best to think of hand-weeding as an ongoing practice and it’s most effective when begun in spring. In garden beds, weed seedlings can be eradicated by hoeing.
Weeds are inevitable in the yard and garden. Unfortunately, many of the chemicals marketed to combat them can be harmful to the health of your pets if they are not used carefully. Even so-called environmentally friendly or natural herbicides are capable of injury if used improperly. This is especially a concern if you have a dog that likes to dig and roll in lawns and gardens. But our furry friends can pick up herbicides and other pesticides just by walking through the yard, too. Those substances get on their paws and fur, which they may then lick and get into their bodies while grooming themselves. Here's what you need to know to keep your pets safe while dealing with weeds.
The other primary benefit of weeding by hand is that you can be selective; only the plants that you want to kill will be damaged. Most environmentally-friendly herbicides and weed-killing methods are not selective; they’ll kill or damage any plant they touch.
That’s why Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer earned the Best Overall Pick title on our list. It checks all the boxes.
At the Root: Epsoma Organic Weed Preventer is a fantastic, all-natural product to keep weeds from sprouting in your lawn or garden. It only requires two applications every year, is cheaper per pound than other weed preventers, and is perfectly safe for pets – even immediately after application. Bonus: it feeds your grass and makes it greener while keeping nasty weeds at bay.
1. Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer (Best Overall Pick)
Their weed killer is made from natural ingredients and receives high marks on Amazon. They list vinegar, citric acid, sodium chloride, glycerin, clove oil, and lemon juice as the ingredients for their spray – no harsh chemicals to be found.
At the Root: If you need a simple, budget-friendly solution, Natural Elements Weed Killer is the one for you. It’s safe for pets immediately after treatments, and will yield results quickly – even as soon as one hour.
The formula is derived from vinegar, with sodium chloride listed as the main active ingredient, and there are no harmful herbicides or toxic chemicals in the solution.