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What Are Your Environmentally-Friendly Weed Control Options?

The pursuit of a lush, green, weed-free lawn is one shared by many homeowners -- some of whom will seemingly stop at nothing to achieve the lawn of their dreams. However, toxic runoff from certain common pesticides can cause problems for your soil and nearby waterways, while certain types of weed control sprays can require you to keep your children and furry family members inside for hours as these sprays dry. Are there any gentle and environmentally-friendly ways to keep weeds at bay? Read on to learn more about your "green" weed control options.

Why worry about the environmental impact of weed control? 

Even if you live in a cookie-cutter subdivision, far away from the nearest water source, the potential harm resulting from weed-killer run-off can be high. Many water treatment plants must invest in additional equipment to help remove these contaminants from wastewater, raising your community's water prices. 

The use of these chemicals can also harm wildlife in the area and even pets. If you have dogs or cats who like to run across your lawn and then come inside, by licking their paws, they may unintentionally ingest a harmful dose of weed-killer solution. Pollinators like bees and butterflies are often the gentlest victims of these chemicals -- and over time, a reduction in the bee population in a certain area can virtually eliminate homeowners' and farmers' ability to grow crops.

What are the best gentle weed-killing options?

In an ironic twist, the ultimate weed-control solution is often your end goal -- a thick green lawn. If you have a solid turf structure, the interweaving of grass blades and roots will effectively resist most common weeds.

For this reason, gentle weed killers are often best, as they combat weeds specifically without harming the surrounding grass. As your grass is given more room to grow as the weeds die away, it becomes thicker and stronger -- eventually allowing it to resist weed growth without additional intervention. 

Before you've reached this point, there are a few common household ingredients you can use to control weeds without harming pets or the environment.  

  • Vinegar and water

Vinegar is the darling of all household DIY-ers -- it can be used to make cleaning solutions, laundry detergent, and even weed-control spray. By mixing together equal parts vinegar and water and applying them to the surface of weeds, you can kill off most stubborn weeds in just a week or so.

Vinegar is particularly effective on weeds that have an extensive root structure emanating from a single central root, or taproot. This is good news for your lawn, as it ensures that you can dump copious quantities of your vinegar-and-water mixture while only "weeding out" the unwanted intruders.

  • Vinegar and dish soap

If your vinegar-and-water mixture didn't quite eradicate all the weeds in your yard, you can also concoct a mixture of vinegar and regular dish soap. This interesting-smelling concoction is a bit stronger than vinegar and water alone, and can help take out the more stubborn weeds you find yourself facing. Although it's highly effective against errant weeds, it's still gentle enough to use on your turf grass -- and best of all, it poses zero threat to kids or outdoor pets. (In fact, the unpleasant taste of vinegar and dish soap together may be the final push needed to wean your pet from an unhealthy paw-licking habit!)

However, if the mere thought of applying dozens of gallons of homemade weed-killer to your lawn exhausts you, don't fret. Because of the increased demand for green or environmentally-friendly weed control products, many commercial lawn companies offer these services as a competitive price. Depending upon the beginning condition of your lawn, you may even be able to garner a "weed free guarantee" -- ensuring that the company will eliminate all weeds from your lawn or will come back to take care of any stragglers, free of charge. You can visit to learn more.