Spring/Summer Maintenance

4 Ways to Get Rid of Weeds Naturally

25 May 2020
Lawn maintenance tips

Everyone looks forward to the arrival of spring. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the grass is coming back to life. Unfortunately, along with the grass, you get weeds!  

Some of the most common weeds we see are dandelions and crabgrass. And the longer you leave them, the faster they’ll spread! Even worse, some weeds don’t just look bad; they can also be noxious — which means they can injure animals or people.

So, how do you get rid of them? As we become more aware of how much damage certain chemical weed killers can do, companies and communities are moving towards more eco-friendly options. 

We’ll tell you 4 great ways to get rid of weeds naturally and how Peel Exterior Maintenance Inc. can help you achieve your dream lawn. After all, we have learned a thing or two in our over 30 years of doing business!

Natural Weed Preventers

Your first step is to try preventing weeds from coming up in the first place. You can use natural pre-emergent herbicides, which often contain materials such as corn gluten or canola oil. They work by impacting the seeds of the weeds and not allowing them to germinate. They do not work on existing weeds. 

Consider the following when looking for natural weeds preventers:

1. What type of weeds are you targeting?

Review the label on the weed preventer to ensure it kills the specific weeds you are targeting and is safe for use with the type of lawn you have.

2. When should you apply it?

For weeds like crabgrass and purslane, you should apply it in early spring, but with dandelions, you should apply it in the summer. Find out when the best time to apply preventer is for your particular weed problem.

3. Is the weed preventer selective?

Determine if the weed preventer is selective or non-selective. If you apply a selective treatment, it will only target specific weeds, and will not impact other weeds or plants. If you apply a non-selective treatment, it will target all plant life it comes into contact with.

If you are planning on sowing new grass seed in the near future, you should avoid pre-emergent weed preventers.

Natural Weed Killers

If you didn’t manage to kill the weeds before they grow, you could try using post-emergent herbicides to target and kill growing weeds. 

Consider the following when looking for natural weed killers:

1. How do you want to apply the weed killer?

You can apply them in spray form or in granular form, where you water them into the soil, and they penetrate through the roots of the weeds.

2. What type of formula do you want to use?

Systemic formulas are absorbed directly into the plant and are best used on perennial weeds. Contact formulas kill only the exposed part of the plant and are more useful for annual or smaller weeds.

3. Is it safe to use?

As with pre-emergent weed killers, review the label on the weed killer to be sure that it kills the specific weeds you are targeting and is safe for use with the type of lawn you have. 

You can also make a homemade weed killer using vinegar, salt, and dish soap. While the ingredients are natural, they can be quite potent, so use it sparingly and aim directly at the weed. Be wary that too much salt can cause the soil to become toxic to plants, and the vinegar can cause problems with the pH levels in the soil. 

The Tried and True Route: Digging and Pulling

If you’d rather not use a natural weed killer or a natural weed preventer, you can go the traditional route of digging and pulling them out by hand.

If you decide to remove weeds by hand, make sure that you remove them by the roots. If you don’t remove the roots, resilient weeds like dandelions can spread and regrow from the roots left behind.

The good news is that there are now specialized hand tools and even stand-up weeders available to make your job easier. The bad news is that you have to really keep on top of weeds and get them out as soon as you see them, or they will become unmanageable. 

If you are considering commercial lawn service in Georgetown, Mississauga or anywhere in the Halton and Peel regions (or surrounding areas) we may be able to offer you a mixture of care using sprays — both pre- and post-emergent — as well as some hand digging as necessary to get the job done!

Using Heat to Kill Weeds

You can buy specialized flame torches that you can use to kill weeds. This approach works best on annual weeds as it does not kill the roots, only the parts of the plant that are above ground.

If using fire is something you’d prefer not to deal with, you can also use boiling water. Easy to make, cheap, and effective!  

Either approach works quite well for young weeds in walkways or cracks and is a great alternative to trying to pull or dig the weeds out. As with other methods, fire or boiling water will kill any plant growth they touch, so aim carefully – and always proceed with caution.  

To learn more about getting rid of weeds naturally, or to discuss any element of your commercial property’s exterior maintenance needs, please call Peel Exterior Maintenance Inc. at 1-888-265-7214 or contact us here.