Dandelions, thistles, spurge, bindweed. Is this what your lawn is made up of right now, not the grass that you want it to be? Fear not, Pete Moss here to help you sort through the maze of weed killers.
Weed killers have been getting a lot of bad press lately. You’ve likely read about glyphosate in weed killer and all the problems it causes. Well, rest assured you can find other options that do not contain glyphosate at your local Ace Hardware store. I won’t go in to all the details here, nor rage against any one brand or another. It’s enough to say that there are choices available at Ace and have been for some time now.
Of course, there are manual ways to get rid of weeds using only elbow grease and sweat. This combination has been around for generations and works okay. It’s better in early-to mid-spring when weeds are emerging and rains have been plentiful. Weeds may be pulled with a pretty good success rate then. I have actually pulled more weeds than ever this spring out of my flower beds, where they were growing too close to use any type of spray. Some weeds are super tricky though, as the plant breaks off from the root, leaving the root to grow back. Others have roots so long you can hardly ever pull them all out and it’s just a matter of time before they grow back. Come this time of year it’s harder and harder to pull them all, and you may get frustrated and want to use weed sprays instead.
The newest weed spray that is gaining popularity quickly is Pulverize. Pulverize comes in two types, a lawn weed killer and a weed & grass killer. The lawn weed killer is great for spot killing dandelions and other nuisance weeds in your grass. It will not harm your grass and contains no nasty chemicals. The active ingredient is iron. That’s right, a big iron, set to high heat comes out and flattens the wrinkles in your dandelions, causing them… uh… okay, that’s not it. Iron causes necrosis in the cells of the plant making them shrivel and die in hours. It may leave a small dark spot on your lawn, but that will go away quickly.
Pulverize Weed & Grass Killer uses ammoniated soaps of fatty acids to eradicate weeds & grass. Use this in rocky areas, driveways and such, not in your lawn. These kill on contact without caring what they’re contacting. Both Pulverize products leave no nasty residue behind and both are safe around pets and kids, though, as with all weed sprays, you should stay off the area until the spray has dried.
Safer is another brand of weed & grass killer available at your local Ace Hardware. Using similar ingredients to Pulverize, Safer is a long-time organic friendly product.
Spectracide also makes a fast acting weed & grass killer that is very effective. It’s not organic but does not use glyphosate. It’s one of the cheaper alternatives available as well. One drawback of the organics is they tend to kill your wallet as well as weeds.
The other alternative that my neighbors used to use is to pay their kids a penny a weed. I’d see them out in the lawn making certain they got every dandelion they saw every week! Of course, they’re grown now, so it’s a little more difficult to encourage them with a penny. Just goes to show that there are lots of ways to eradicate weeds, not all of them nasty, not all them involving hard labor!