by Mikl Brawner
The most effective time to remove weeds organically is NOW, when it’s HOT.
Harlequin’s Gardens is carrying two non-toxic* herbicides that WORK. There are non-toxic herbicides on the market that are a waste of money; we’ve tested them. The two we know that work are 20% Vinegar and Avenger Weed Killer.
20% Vinegar (acetic acid) works much better than household vinegar which is 5%. It burns the foliage and kills annual weeds quickly and can kill perennial weeds with repeated applications. You can add soap to the vinegar to help with tougher weeds. Big weeds should be mown or cut down then sprayed. Use goggles and a dust mask if it’s windy or if you are sensitive. Vinegar is an acid.
The other non-toxic herbicide is Avenger Weed Killer. It is citrus-based (D- limonene) and has a pleasant orange scent. It is just as effective as 20% Vinegar and comes in a ready-to-use spray bottle or a quart jug of concentrate. To kill the most pernicious perennial weeds (Canada Thistle, Bindweed) in one or 2 applications, we advise using the strongest concentration recommended on the pull-out label.
Both are most effective when sprayed in hot weather; the Hotter the Better. Apply these non-toxic herbicides when the sun is on the weeds and they will be in the hot sun for the remainder of the day (or as long as possible).
The second most effective time to remove weeds organically is in March and April when weeds are small and their root systems are small.
We also have the Best Hand Weeders that are made in Iowa with stainless steel. They don’t rust and they won’t bend, and they have sharp edges that slice through hard clay. We have several styles, some that function as planting trowels. And we just received a shipment of the Iowa Dandelion Digger-satisfaction guaranteed!
For the big, deep-rooted weeds that got away from you, we have Mikl’s favorite long-handled narrow spade that plunges deep to remove dock, thistles and mullein. It is also good for removing suckers from chokecherry, native plum, aspen and sumac: wonderful native plants that can go too far.
Hot tip: Weeds dug in July and August are less likely to come back.
*Note: These products are non-toxic in that they have no chemical content that would leave harmful residues in soil or in dried-up plant remains of sprayed weeds. However, they contain strong natural acids and must be handled and applied with care. Always wear protective clothing and eyewear when spraying anything other than water. Avoid applying while insects are present on the plants.