Make your own eco-friendly weed killer

2014-07-31T00:00:00Z Make your own eco-friendly weed killerBy Susan Billings Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 31, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Not all green is good.

Sure, we welcome the monsoon rains, but we dread the result: out-of-control weeds.

Weeds like velvetleaf. Spurge. Tumble pigweed. Nettleleaf goosefoot!

The names are fun, but killing or digging them out is not. Even grass is annoying in the wrong spot.

As a lifelong organic gardener, I won’t use commercial herbicides in my garden or yard. Most chemical herbicides can’t possibly be good for worms, beneficial insects and soil microbes — not to mention kids and dogs.

My dog, Max, has the run of the backyard and likes to roll around in the grassy weeds. Call me lazy, but I leave some of the grass alone for him to enjoy.

There are natural weed-control products out there, but do they work? Are they worth the cost?

Or does good old vinegar work just as well?

This spring, I mixed up a batch of vinegar with a splash of dish detergent. (Dawn works well, but you can use what you have.)

I sprayed it on clover and other weeds that were staging a coup in our grass courtyard.

The vinegar solution worked great — the weeds browned quickly and then shriveled up and died within a week or so. Eventually, the grass filled in the bare spots.

Some of the grass that got sprayed died, too, so be careful where you spray. Also, try not to spray on windy days.

Spray the leaves and drizzle some of the mixture straight down the main root system. Whichever concoction you choose, apply it when it’s warm and sunny out.

More info from Arbico’s website:

Orland’s Safe-T-Weed is a pre-emergent corn gluten herbicide that does not allow the tiny feeder roots of sprouting seeds to develop. Corn gluten will not harm established plants or vegetables and flowers that have true leaves.

The EPA found Orland’s Safe-T-Weed is so friendly to the environment that it is exempted from EPA herbicide regulations.

Contact Susan Billings at

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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