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Southeast Gardening: Organic Weed Control

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Take a greener path by trying organic weed control products. Lowe’s Southeast regional gardening contributor shares a few examples.

spraying weeds in sidewalk
spraying weeds in sidewalk

By Glenn DiNella

One of the obvious ways to go greener is selecting organic products for weed control. In garden beds and paved areas I use organic nonselective herbicides to kill most weeds and grasses. I find it particularly effective with sidewalk weeds—those pesky little buggers that take root in cracks and are nearly impossible to pull out.

One organic nonselective herbicide, sold at my local Lowe’s, uses ammoniated soap of fatty acid, which causes weeds to melt within 15 minutes on a warm day. Another product uses pure soybean oil as its active ingredient to take down weeds.

spraying weeds in garden bed

For broadleaf weeds in turf areas, look for a spray that uses HEDTA, which is derived from iron. (HEDTA is the abbreviation for hydroxyethylenediaminetriacetic acid--easy for you to say!) This product works well on many weeds. I’ve even used it on violets in my yard with better success than I ever had with the selective herbicide 2, 4-D. HEDTA products often require a follow-up spraying a couple of weeks later to complete the job, but what selective herbicides don’t?

When using sprays, by all means wait for a calm day. Don’t take the chance that gusts of wind will take your weed killer where it doesn’t belong. You also can use a piece of cardboard, as from a shipping box, to shield plants that are close to weeds you’re spraying.

As always, follow the labels. A friend of mine likes to say, “Just because it’s organic doesn’t mean it’s safe. Arsenic is organic also!” Most of the natural weed control products state it is safe for pets and people to reenter a sprayed area as soon as the spray has dried.