My large backyard is constantly infested with weeds. It is mostly grass
rather than lawn. I can't use herbicides because my backyard borders a
wild bird sanctuary and lake. What do you suggest for getting rid of
the weeds? I have used a handy tool called the Weed Popper, but it's
tines are too far apart and often miss the roots of the weeds. Also can
weeds like dandelions reroot themselves if they are left on top of the
ground? Thanks for any advice.
You're kidding! A homeowners' association that prohibits weedkillers?
Are you sure you understand this correctly? Maybe the prohibition is
against Agent Orange, but I've never heard of a group interested in
making rules that would require everyone to get out and dig.
Re: your original query, dandelions will re-grow from even the
smallest fragment of root. And how come you're digging them up and
leaving them on top of the ground? They can certainly produce seed
from already-mature blossoms after they've been dug up but not
In some places it's illegal to use certain chemicals within a certain
distance of environmentally sensitive zones such as protected habitats,
streams, or lakes.
Basically, there are a number of choices:
1. Continue to weed individual weeds by hand,
2. Overseed densely enough to choke-out annual weeds, and pull the
perennial weeds by hand,
3. Take out the lawn, and replace it with a fully maintained bed
(which really does take less time than lawn),
4. Take out the lawn, and cultivate a more natural culture, such as
wild flowers or grasses,
It's nice to get out of the city, and into wide-open space. Why not
enjoy nature? Suburban sprawl is often represented by the encroachment
of pavement and buildings, but lawns are artificial things, too.
If you use your lawn, for example, as a field where kids can play sports
that take space like football, soccer, or baseball, then a large lawn is
serving a purpose, and is probably worth the time to maintain it. But if
your lawn's only function is to be looked at -- well, that's a lot of
work just to have something to look at. And is a large, empty lawn
really that attractive? No more than a parking lot painted green.
Before you proceed, think about what you need, what you like, and how
much time and money you want to put into maintaining it. And with
restrictions on the use of chemicals, the money may go down, but the
time will go way up for a lawn. And if you don't have that kind of time,
the money can go through the roof if you need to hire someone to help.
Of course if the homeowners association also insists that it has to stay
plain lawn, and can't be converted to something more appropriate, then
maybe it is time to consider moving somewhere else. Being a slave to a
lawn too big to maintain is no way to live.
Overseeding your lawn will help reduce weeds next year. Spectricide
and Weed-B-Gone are safe products when you carefully follow the
instructions on the package, but their use will be more effective next
spring. Dandelions have long tap roots; any root left in the ground
will grow back. If you decide to dig out weeds, put them into the
No, but each tiny piece of root left in the ground forms a new plant.
Many weeds are like that. It is safe to use weed killers if you apply
them directly to the weed so that there is not runoff or residue. Some
people use small paint brushes to paint concentrated weed killer
directly on the leaves of the weeds you want to kill. I prefer a
roundup type weed killer because it will kill the roots. Then you need
to reseed with grasses like fescues and perennial rye. Blue grass is
nice but is not environment friendly since it needs a well fertilized
limed soil. Both the fertilizer and lime would harm the lake.
Pardon my spam deterrent; send email to email@example.com
Cheers, Steve Henning in Reading, PA USA http://home.earthlink.net/~rhodyman
If you pull the dandelions they will probably come back from little
pieces of root that broke off, but they will have lost most of their
store of energy and should now be easy to kill. Dandelions on top of
the ground can reroot, but they usually don't unless you toss them onto
bare dirt and a hard rain washes them in. Even then, they are easy to
pull up again. I usually toss weeds into a sunny patch of lawn and let
the sun dry them up. Then I mow them with the mulching mower next time
I use 2,4-d in a squirt bottle and spray dandelions and thistles in my
front lawn. In the garden, I just pull them up, and then use a hoe to
cut them down when they come back. In the flower beds, I use a
combination of pulling them up and very careful application of 2,4-d.
In the back lawn, I don't worry about the weeds except for "creeping
charlie" which has to be pulled up anyway.
I suggest you buy a spray bottle (NOT a hose-on applicator) of
Weed-B-Gon and spritz the worst of the weeds with that. Meanwhile, you
can work on getting your lawn healthy with dethatching, proper watering,
airation, or whatever it needs, so the grass can compete better with the
If the homeowner is restricted from using herbicides because of a
bird/wildlife sanctuary and lake nearby, then weed'n feed formulations are
the very LAST products he should consider. First, they are an extremely
inefficient and expensive means of delivering herbicide to the target plants
and because of their method of delivery, they are extremely prone to
leaching and run off, thereby contaminating groundwater, streams and other
natural waterways. Weed'n feeds are HUGE polluters and are even restricted
in certain areas where they have been overused to the point of destruction
and disruption of natural habitats.
I agree that developing a healthy lawn is the best defense against weeds,
but using these products is NOT the way to go about it. Warren has provided
the best advice by far.
pam - gardengal
what do you consider weeds? Because in my book things like clover aren't weeds,
they make happy places for bees and butterflies when they are allowed to bloom.
Me, myself if something is bothering me to that point I hand pull it untill it
doesn't come back any more. I have a chemical free yard and it works well for
Zpne 5 CT
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