Our community garden has a lot of thick, tough grass growing along and under the surrounding fencing. I need a way to kill it or at least get it to a reasonable condition. The weed whacker string breaks every couple of minutes when it hits the fence so that’s out. Does anyone know of an organic herbicide that actually works on thick weeds?
you can try vinegar - use the pickling variety - it has more acetic acid, which is the active plant killer. 2-3 ounces of soap per gallon helps it “wet&stick” - spray application.
it is non-selective. it kills/whacks/stunts pretty much anything green.
it is also non-persistent - you’ll likely have to retreat every 7-10 days.
another option is a “rosebud” propane torch. just scorch the base of the plants to disrupt the transport of water/etc. you don’t need to burn off the weeds to the ground.
again - a non-persistent solution - new weeds will sprout and it takes some time to establish control.
Organic? Is acetic acid (vinegar) really any more organic than Banish or Roundup? Most municipalities are spraying Roundup or Groundclear (or generic variations) along guard rails and cables, and are very effective. I’ve played the vinegar game, blah, blah, multiple applications, and it just doesn’t work that well. This is a great time of year tho, to do this. If chemicals are the issue, the torch method mentioned above works great
The pressings/pomace from wine is great for this.
I’d cut it down any way you can and then mulch the dickens out of it. Like at least 3", more is better. What grows back will be shallow rooted and easy to pull out.
^ This. Especially if you plant a cover crop, basically anything that would help crowd out opportunistic weeds. Could be as simple as a strip of wildflowers.
Organic herbicide? You could use any of these chemicals that are approved for USDA Certified Organic™. I’d be careful, though, because most of them are far more toxic than synthetic alternates:
Sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate
Just be careful, tho
I like the idea of wild flowers in theory but they can be as invasive as weeds.
Sort of depends on the climate and the physical layout. Permanent paths are usually pretty good obstacles, regularly mowed strips of grass somewhat less so. Obviously you don’t want to plant something invasive like trumpet vine, but I sort of figured that went without saying.
Or just plant annuals all up and down there. Personally I go in for long-term solutions to things like this. I just haven’t got the energy for nearly as much as I used to, LOL!
Get a goat
Salt the Earth! Burn it!
I once read that pickling vinegar (5% concentration) is not quite strong enough to kill weeds. That the industrial strength (20% concentration) should be used. The only problem is that the 20% type is not easy to obtain.
I poured the regular vinegar onto my weeds and they seem to just shrug it off, but then again my weeds just shrug everything off.
Google Howard Garret, “The Dirt Doctor”. He has had a long running syndicated radio show and seems very well respected in the organic community. His site has a library & an “Ask Howard” box.
If you describe the grass/weeds/climate to him and there is an organic concoction to kill it, he will have it.
Bahhhhh, now there’s an idea
Thanks, everyone for your suggestions. As cute as I find goats I think we’ll go the flame thrower route now and get after it really early in the spring.
I’d say cut as much out as you can, then fork the roots out. Place cardboard or newspaper over the border to suffocate any seeds, and mulch heavily over the area.
Thanks for mentioning paper/cardboard under mulch. A double punch.
I’m well versed in cardboard/thick newspaper + wood chips. Not ideal in our situation.