How to Tackle Weeds… the Safe Way

A picture of dandelion weeds. photo by aaron13251 on FlickrI think many people can agree that weeds are a total nuisance. You find them growing everywhere: the grass in your yard, under the shrubs around your landscaping, and especially in your garden.

Weeding your yard can be tedious work but, really, what other options do you have to help control the weed growth around your yard and garden? Let’s weigh our options a bit:

  1. Pulling the weeds by hand. Sure, it takes a bit of elbow grease, and you must keep up on the weeding quite frequently. But, this seems to be the safest way to get rid of the weeds.
  2. Boil a kettle of water. Pouring boiling water on any plant or weed will kill it. Just be sure not to damage any of the plants in your garden. This option is probably best for an area that is primarily weeds – not your lawn or garden. Perhaps this option is best suited for those pesky weeds that you find growing up between the concrete slabs on your sidewalk or driveway.
  3. Mow your lawn. Be sure to do it before the weeds go to flower, in order to reduce the spread of their seeds. Mowing may not get rid of the weeds, but it will reduce the spread of the weeds.
  4. Create a mixture of white vinegar and eco-friendly dish detergent in a spray bottle. Spray it directly onto the weeds, and within a few days they should die off. Again, be sure not to spray this mixture onto your lawn or garden plants, as it will damage any plant – not just the weeds.

There are plenty of “weed killers” on the market today – the most notorious one that comes to mind is RoundUp. These commercial weed killers boast about being “fast and easy” – some of them even claim to be safe for the environment – but how true are those statements?

The bottle may claim that it is a “fast and easy” weed killer – but that does not mean that it is long-term. You will need to use the weed killer over and over again. Where you kill one weed, three more are surely going to pop up in a few days. You would need to be continually spraying weed killer around your lawn and garden in order to keep the weeds at bay.

Which leads into my next question: is it really safe to be spraying weed killer around your yard, on your lawn, and especially in your garden on fruits and vegetables that you plan on eating and feeding to your family?
The main ingredient in RoundUp has been identified as a mutagen by scientists. A mutagen is a chemical known to damage genes. Damaged genes are known to cause cancer and/or birth defects. So, is it really safe to spray on weeds in your garden? The chemicals are not just going to stay on that specific weed – the chemicals will end up in the soil and will end up in surrounding plants. It has also been known to end up in storm drains, streams, rivers, and water treatment plants.

Not only could it have a negative effect on yourself, your family, your soil, or affect the water supply – but it could have damaging effects on wild life, your pets, and more.

Play it safe and stick with a more natural way of dealing with weeds. Pulling weeds may be tedious work, but at least you can handle the weeds in a guilt-free manner, knowing that you are not damaging our earth. Plus, pulling weeds is great exercise!

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