If you are not interested in using synthetic weed killers, then try natural and homemade ones. Homemade weed killers can be made at home with some easily available materials. This way, you can also save some money. The following are a few methods of using some household items as weed killers, which are also pet safe.
Weed Killer with Vinegar
Use a mixture of two parts boiling water and one part vinegar and spray it on the weeds. For tougher weeds, this mixture should be used repeatedly. You can even add some clove oil or lemon to increase the potency. If the area to be covered is small, then use a spray of plain white vinegar. Vinegar is available in different strengths – 5% (regular), 10% (pickling) and 20%. It is better to use 5% or 10% vinegar, as 20% is very strong and can be harmful.
As we all know boiling water can kill most of the plants. This applies to weeds too. Take some plain boiling water and pour it over the weeds, in order to kill them instantly. Make sure that the area does not have any other plant (other than weeds), as boiling water is capable of killing them too. You can pour the water over the entire sidewalk, driveway or patio. This method is also beneficial in eradicating weeds which grow in crevices. After the treatment, spread cornmeal in the area to prevent regrowth of weeds.
Apart from vinegar, there are certain culinary items that are used for pet safe weed control. This include salt, sugar and cornmeal. Add some salt or sugar to the base of the weeds. Adding equal amount of chili pepper to sugar will be ward off your pets from eating it. Addition of salt makes the soil unsuitable for the growth of plants and so, it is advisable to apply salt in those areas, where you do not want any plant to thrive. Salt is a good choice for driveways or patios. Even those weeds in the crevices can be killed with salt. Cornmeal can also be used as a pet friendly weed killer. It can be applied to the cracks and crevices in sideways and patios to prevent the emergence of weeds. It is better to use cornmeal before spring, in order to prevent the seeds of the weeds from germinating. Make sure that the cornmeal does not harm other plants.
Homemade Pet Safe Weed Killer Recipes
Make a solution of one gallon water, one gallon bleach, ¼ teaspoon dish soap. This mixture is found to be somewhat effective in killing weeds. Another method is to mix a gallon of vinegar with a teaspoon of liquid soap and a cup of orange oil. You may also try a mixture of one gallon vinegar and a container of salt. A gallon of boiling water mixed with half-gallon vinegar, salt and liquid soap can be used for killing weeds.
Apart from these, there are some methods like soil solarization that can be tried for getting rid of weeds. But, this method will not prove useful for removing weeds in established gardens or lawns. You can resort to this method, if you want to eliminate weeds from a large area, before growing plants. As per this method, you have to prepare the ground and water thoroughly, before covering the entire area with clear, plastic tarpaulin. The thickness of the tarpaulin must be between .001 to .004 inches and they must be spread, just above the soil surface. Secure the tarpaulin to the ground and leave them like that for at least two months. This will result in heating of the soil with solar energy, thereby killing the weeds. Some people use landscape fabric for this purpose.
If possible, the best method is to remove the weeds manually. However, this method may be impractical in many cases. As mentioned above, using commercial weed killers is one of the easiest methods of eliminating weeds. All you have to do is get one from the nearby garden supplies store and apply it. However, this may not be advisable, if you have pets, who frequent these areas. If you still want to use synthetic ones instead of the natural weed killers, you must try to choose the safest products. Here are some guidelines that may help you in this task.
◑ The first and foremost thing to do is to go through the list of ingredients in the product. If you find any offensive ingredient in the list, refrain from buying that product.
◑ As far as the list of ingredients is concerned, it may happen that some manufacturers do not disclose each and every ingredient in the list. So, there is no use in going through it.
◑ Another point is that you must have a basic idea about those ingredients that are harmful.
◑ Ingredients like carbon tetrachloride, chloroform and chloroethane are carcinogens that have to be avoided.
◑ You must also avoid using weed killers with ingredients like ‘ 2,4-D’, which is said to be highly toxic in nature. It is always advisable to buy a pet safe weed killer after thorough research.
So, it may not be possible for all to determine which is the best weed killer. To be on the safer side, buy those products that are certified (as pet safe) by veterinarians or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
It will be better to consult a horticulturist, so as to gain some knowledge about the correct usage and effectiveness of these methods. It may also happen that specific weed killers are effective for certain weeds only. However, natural and homemade weed killers are always preferable than synthetic ones.