Lawn weeding questions

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.
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tenplay wrote:

What do the bird sanctuary and lake have to do with prohibiting your use of herbicides? If you're careful and follow label directions you should have no problem.
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Crash Street Kidde wrote:

It is one of the homeowner association rules around here.
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tenplay wrote:

then sell your house and move away. you don't want to be around people like that.
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Are you sure the homeowner association is still in effect? If they are, contact them and ask them about using herbicides.
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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 disposed of.
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you are very unlucky. Most HOA actually force people to poison their backyard, and many forbid vegetable gardens. These may be the HOAs you want.
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Crash Street Kidde wrote:

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, 5. Move
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.
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Warren H.

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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 compost pile.
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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.
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Cheers, Steve Henning in Reading, PA USA http://home.earthlink.net/~rhodyman
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tenplay wrote:

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 mow.
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 weeds.
Bob
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This is a good time to put on a weed n feed. It might strengthen the good grass enough to crowd out the weeds.
Marilyn
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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
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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 me. Colleen Zpne 5 CT
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