How Can I Control Weeds Without Pulling Them By Hand?

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There are a ton of weeds all over my yard, and in my garden – and it hurts my back to spend hours pullng the weeds. Do you have any advice for easily removing weeds from a garden without pulling them manually?

With Springtime blossoming out here in the sticks, a young man’s fancy may turn to love, but old Granny’s fancy turns towards her yard and garden. And just like you, bending and pulling weeds all day makes my lower back feel like it’s been kicked twice by my neighbor’s ill-tempered mule. Luckily, I’ve learned a thing or two, and maybe can help you out with this problem. And since I’m not overly fond of toxic chemicals, you can also breathe easier knowing that you’re using a “green” solution.

Although I think dandelions are pretty in my yard, not many folks do, and I’m not quite as fond of ’em when they insist on growing up between the cracks in my walkway. You do have to pull them once, but you might find that sprinkling plain old baking soda in the cracks will keep them from growing back as quickly. (You can pour a little bleach on them first to make them easier to pull, but I really don’t like to do this.) Don’t use this in the garden, however, unless you have flowering plants in there that like alkaline soil such as clematis, dianthus, and delphinium. Salt will also do the trick when used this way, as will household vinegar. You just want to make sure in each case that it’s not near plants that you don’t want to kill!

Now, about those weeds in the yard…If you keep some drinking alcohol around for medicinal purposes, vodka can be an excellent weed killer. (And you may just want to think about that fact before you decide to go out on a binge next time!) If you’re like me, you save things to keep them out of your local landfill. Here’s when those rinsed-out spray bottles and two-liter soda bottles are going to come in handy!

Here’s what you do: First cut off the bottom of one of your two-liter bottles, and save it for another use. You won’t need the bottle cap either. Next, take a clean spray bottle and add one ounce of vodka, a few drops of liquid dish soap, and two cups of water. Just shake it a little to mix it up. Now, wait until High Noon, and march off to your yard to do battle with those weeds! (Seriously…this solution breaks down the protective cuticle on the weeds, making them susceptible to dehydration. It won’t work on weeds in shade.) Take that two-liter bottle and place it over the target weed; using the bottle protects nearby plants from the vodka solution. Put the nozzle of your spray bottle into the cap opening of the two-liter bottle, and spray the weed until the leaves are dripping. Now, just remove the two-liter bottle and take it to the next weed…and let the sunshine do your work!

A less eco-friendly approach is to spray WD-40 on your weeds. This works like a charm even on toughies like thistle, and at least it’s better than Round-Up for the environment. It’s far better to control the weeds by treating your lawn well. Don’t mow the grass too short, and fertilize and water it regularly. Healthy grass cover keeps weeds at bay.

For garden weeds, I still prefer to either yank ’em out by hand, or use a hoe. While Granny can’t endorse any products here on the internet, I’ve found that a long-handled, circular hoe gives me room to get out the weeds without hurting my garden plants.

Well, that’s about all I know about weed control. Just stop on back by if you have any more questions. Oh…and don’t forget what vodka does to plants.

Love, Granny

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The answer to "How Can I Control Weeds Without Pulling Them By Hand?"

Question asked on April 18, 2008at 10:57 am:: Comments (0)
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