The Q&A Archives: Natural or Pet Friendly Weed Killer

Question: We recently had our blue spuce trees trimmed from the ground up approximately 3 feet. Needless to say there are lots of weeds underneath as these trees are very old.
We have pets and can't use weed killer in our back yard. Any suggestions to kill weeds but not harm our pets. We've tried boiling water and then tried vinegar but neither of these methods worked.

Answer: Homemade weed killers aren't always effective. I've found the best way to handle a weedy situation is to hand pull the weeds and then use one of the new botanicals to keep weeds from growing. There is a new pre-emergent herbicide made from corn gluten, sold under the trade name "WeedzStop". This product prevents seed germination of many pest plants, including dandelions, crabgrass, and purslane. Somehow, the an ingredient in corn gluten actually inhibits root growth in germinating seeds! And, as you would imagine, this "herbicide" is non-toxic to people and pets. It should be used in early spring (or late summer) before weed seeds begin to sprout. You can't use it on beds you plan to seed, but the product won't affect established plants or bulbs. It is available from Gardeners Supply Co., ph# 800-863-1700, web site: There is an organic spray herbicide called "Scythe" made from fatty acids. This spray can be used to kill existing annual weeds. It is available from Gardens Alive, ph# 812-537-5108. Hope this information is helpful.

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