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Help me de-weed my lawn safely

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Dh and I are proud new homeowners with a lawn that is about 50% dandelions with a generous portion of crabgrass as well. We would like to get rid of the weeds and get the grass into better shape, as well as put in space for a garden. (For next spring) I hate to use nasty chemicals on the lawn - Dd is 1, most of her outdoor time is barefoot and includes lots of crawling around and trying to sample the vegetation. In addition, I want to eat things from the garden (imagine that) and don't want the nasties leeching into the soil and thus my food.
If I must use chemicals to get rid of the dandelions, how long until their residue is at a "Safe" level? Any suggestions as to avoiding chemicals in my garden space (like runoff from neighbor's lawns)? My thought for the garden space is to build up with timbers ~1 foot and fill in with clean dirt/compost. Would this cut down on residue from lawn chemicals?
I appreciate any suggestions - we are in Iowa if anyone is wondering about climate and timing of planting/treating/etc.
Thank you,
Ang
post #2 of 15
Bellasmom,

What we do (minnesota) is put several applications of corn gluten meal on our lawn and also on our flower beds (where we aren't using seed). It's safe and not a chemical. When we first started we did 3 applications every year, spring, summer and fall. Now we just do spring and summer. It's cummulative and so it just get better with time. Also, it breaks down into nitrogen (i think) and so it's good for the soil too. Just be sure NOT to use it where you have planted or are planning on planting seeds.

Also, cut your grass high, water deeply, leave the clippings on the lawn to decompose naturally and shoot for a ph of around 6-6.5. We also airate every other year, and throw new seed down every year (usually clover). Also, my ds likes to let the grass go to seed before he cuts so we usually only cut our lawn twice a month.

As for the weeds you have now, pay a neighbor kid .01 to .05 per weed (including root) or pluck them yourselves.

We used to have a horrible lawn and have been doing the above for about 3 years. It's always the most beautiful lawn on the block and now we don't mind a few dandelions or two. It's good for the beneficials.

Have fun

Heidi

p.s you can get corn gluten at your local garden center or you can order it online. It comes in a shaker bag and they're pellets.
post #3 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by hlr
Bellasmom,

What we do (minnesota) is put several applications of corn gluten meal on our lawn and also on our flower beds (where we aren't using seed). It's safe and not a chemical. When we first started we did 3 applications every year, spring, summer and fall. Now we just do spring and summer. It's cummulative and so it just get better with time. Also, it breaks down into nitrogen (i think) and so it's good for the soil too. Just be sure NOT to use it where you have planted or are planning on planting seeds.

Also, cut your grass high, water deeply, leave the clippings on the lawn to decompose naturally and shoot for a ph of around 6-6.5. We also airate every other year, and throw new seed down every year (usually clover). Also, my ds likes to let the grass go to seed before he cuts so we usually only cut our lawn twice a month.

As for the weeds you have now, pay a neighbor kid .01 to .05 per weed (including root) or pluck them yourselves.

We used to have a horrible lawn and have been doing the above for about 3 years. It's always the most beautiful lawn on the block and now we don't mind a few dandelions or two. It's good for the beneficials.

Have fun

Heidi

p.s you can get corn gluten at your local garden center or you can order it online. It comes in a shaker bag and they're pellets.
Damn, you are good. Thanks for the info!!!
post #4 of 15
HLR, when do you put down grass and clover seed in relation to applying the corn gluten? I thought the corn gluten will keep any seed from sprouting, not just weed seeds. Help please!
post #5 of 15
I may be way off here, but I have a friend who's husband owns a nutural lawn care company & he told me thay use a "round-up" type product when getting rid of stuff so they can re-seed. He said that once it's been sprayed on the plant it becomes inert in the soil, so it's safe. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm way off base
post #6 of 15
you can use vinegar on your dandelions...just spray a bit of undiluted vinegar on the plant. try to avoid spraying on the grass, and dont water the lawn until the dandelions have started to die.
and i have also heard that roundup and other products similar to it are safe to the soil, but dont know if thats true.

i wish you good luck getting rid of them. we are moving in a few weeks and our new yard is going to need some help cause the owners have done NOTHING for the yard since we signed the papers! the thistles are already higher than the rose bushes
post #7 of 15
I was just going to repeat- corn gluten meal for pre-emergent, and vinegar for weeds that are already up... I just learned this at this year's Earth Day Festival, and put vinegar to the test, as well as family and friends trying it. It worked for everyone! As far as weeds in the grass though, I have not heard of anything, so I'll be reading...

The vinegar is slower to work, and needs to be sprayed when the weeds are in the sun.
post #8 of 15
We used corn gluten meal this spring and it's REALLY cut down on the crab grass, helped the dandilions, too. It recommended a reapplication in "high summer" so I guess we'll do it again. I'd also do it earlier in the spring, since the weeds seemed to sprout earlier than the grass. Also, animals like to eat it, so don't freak out if the cats start to eat it (like I did!) - it's not toxic to them.
post #9 of 15
Why don't you like the dandelions?
post #10 of 15
Wow- great info! I didn't originally post, but have been struggling with the same problem of dandelions.

I personally don't have a problem with dandelions- but we must get rid of them because 1) we live in a parsonage, thus it isn't our house and our parishoners notice if we don't "take care" of things, and 2)because the seeds blow over into other yards and tick people off. I'm sure others have that problem too.

So how long do you have to wait before you can re-seed after you use corn gluten?
post #11 of 15
In our experence vinegar doesnt work for killing dandelions.

Will have to try corn gluten.
post #12 of 15
This is where we bought the corn gluten meal this year...I bought WOW Plus but you can get it plain, too. http://www.gardensalive.com/Default....cd2=1113958609 I've heard boiling water will kill weeds, too. I hired a boy from our church to come and dig the dandelions out...you can use a screwdriver, just push the screwdriver down parallel to get the taproot and yank the whole thing out. I pay the boy $5/hr. and he comes when he wants a few bucks.
post #13 of 15
I totally wouldn't trust a product like Round up to be safe at all. It's made by Monsanto - big chemical/bio-engineering company. Ick.
post #14 of 15
We pull the dandelions using a small spade and loosening the tap root. If you get them early you hardly have to do it all summer even if you are living next door to a family who has more dandelions than grass.lol Thier lawn is yellow/white, ours is green.
post #15 of 15
monsanto = evil :devil . i will never use roundup or any product of theirs.

my 4 yr old and 17mo old love dandelions. we don't care what's in our yard as long as it's green and not poison ivy (or english ivy -- chokes out everything). weeds/schmeeds. it's all a matter of perspective.

if you really want to get rid of them i'd second the cgm and neighbor kid ideas.
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