cathandrick
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Is there an alternative to spraying Roundup?

Please help me with an alternative to toxic sprays! My husband and I recently excavated our sloping block so that we could make it more usable for growing vegies, planting the rest out with Native Australian plants and having a space for us and our two children to enjoy. However after excavating we have had our autumn rain bring a plethora of weeds. The soil is obviously very fertile and weeds are taking over. We have not had a chance yet to plant and my husband (who is not very organic-minded) wants to just spray the whole block which horrifies me. Not only do I have concerns about the environment but also my children will play here and I want to grow organic vegetables too. Does anyone have an idea so that I may deter my husband from going spraying mad? :shock:
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rainbowgardener
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alternative to poisons!

Please don't spray poisons where you want to plant things to eat! Personally I don't believe in using poisons at all -- too disruptive to natural ecosystems. Anyway here's some alternatives:

solarizing -- put down clear plastic over the area you want to plant. Water first so the soil is moist, dig a trench around the area. Tuck the edges of plastic into the trench and bury it, keeping the plastic tight to the ground. You said you are in autumn. This works best in the hot part of the year, but should still work if you have enough sunny days. The plastic needs to stay on for at least a month or so. Then all the weeds should be killed.

Sheet mulching -- Lay a bunch of newspapers down over the area (many pages thick). Water them thoroughly, then put at least a couple inches of good topsoil down on top. Dig holes through the topsoil and the newspaper and plant into the holes. After awhile the newspaper will break down, but the weeds will have been smothered.

flame weeders -- burn the weeds off.

spray them with vinegar or pour boiling water on them.

Or the old fashioned way-- till them under. Wait a few weeks til all the seeds you brought up sprout and do it again. If your area is small you can do the same thing with garden fork and hoe.

Hope this helps!

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I second the vinegar! I use it like I use to use Round-Up. There's also a product out there called Burn Out, but the vinegar works just as well. I've also used the newspaper/mulch method and it works like a charm. I also tend to do a lot of manual weed pulling, just the good ole fashioned way.

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I had read about the vinegar also, but I was wondering how do you spray it on the weeds without messing up your grass? I use an old fashioned push reel mower. I'm trying to do things the organic way, but it can be a challenge when you are just learning about it.

Thanks!

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Some people use a paintbrush to distribute vinegar to the "selected for deselection" :wink: plants.

That eliminates any overspray concerns.

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Thanks so much for your suggestions. I am going to try the vinegar this week and I will let you know whether I have won the battle with my husband! I am so grateful to all the replies. No doubt I will be regularly reading and replying to 'Helpful Gardener' with all the work we are doing. :D
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Roundup

Thank you for not using Roundup. It is one of the most toxic substances made by man. 8)

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i recommend the soil solarization as well if you can. you have to be a patient person, because it does take time but when done right it beats just about anything, and uses the power of the sun. let the weeds grow big, chop them down then water well. cover tightly like rainbowgardener said. the only downside is this will hurt the native micro organisms in the top few inches of your soil( they will recover though). or some compost tea after all is done will help restore the proper micro organisms, the soil will be high in organic matter though from all the weeds rich and ready for planting.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

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I have had success using vinegar on weeds. Poured a quart into a standard spray bottle and hit a large patch of weeds; two 80 degree days later and the weeds were done. That was three weeks ago, and they are still done. I do, however, expect to do it again next season. But what the heck, beats weed whacker, poisen, and manual yanking! And vinegar is cheap.
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I am doing some experimenting with your native tea tree oil; seems it deals a harder blow to broad leaf weeds than grass. I am still experimenting with levels but will let you know how it works out...

HG
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cathandrick
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Wow, never thought of good 'ol tea tree oil. Would love to hear how that goes.

It has been 3 weeks since I sprayed with vinegar and all the weeds are looking very sad, but not dead yet! Having said that, some have died, the smaller, less robust ones. Should I go again or am I being impatient. The weeds are at least a foot in height and amongst them some nasties like thistle. The day I sprayed I thought they would all be gone so soon as some appeared to burn before my eyes but they seem a little resilient now.
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Some of the other organic choices are [url=https://www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides/ingredients/factsheets/factsheet_217500.htm]pelargonic acids[/url](think geranium juice :lol: ) [url=https://www.aenews.wsu.edu/Sept01AENews/Sept01AENews.htm#anchor5338542]Acetic acid[/url] is just another name for vinegar but you can get stronger stuff; most table vinegar runs around 5%, you can get Acetic Acid to 20% if you have the license...

Try a bit of detergent dish soap with the vinegar; just a few drops. Often plants protect their leaves with a fine wax of phospholipids, which the detergent can dissolve, letting the the acetic acids do their thing... worth a shot, and it's only vinegar and dish soap.... :)

HG
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cathandrick
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Thanks Scott, most informative...I have looked up those acid links and will see where or if I can obtain them here in Australia somewhere.

I can see myself just pulling the weeds myself otherwise.

I'll let you know.
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Cath, it's a bit unsightly for a short while, but mowing and [url=https://ag.arizona.edu/gardening/news/articles/12.8.html]solarizinig your soil[/url] works quickly and well...

Hand weeding is a last resort for many, but Becky and I have just about gotten our lawn in hand for dandelions this year; next year the plaintain weed is the target (plaintain tells me where it's compacted, so we'll start there first...)

Where there is a will... :lol:

HG
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The Helpful Gardener wrote:Cath, it's a bit unsightly for a short while, but mowing and [url=https://ag.arizona.edu/gardening/news/articles/12.8.html]solarizinig your soil[/url] works quickly and well...

Hand weeding is a last resort for many, but Becky and I have just about gotten our lawn in hand for dandelions this year; next year the plaintain weed is the target (plaintain tells me where it's compacted, so we'll start there first...)

Where there is a will... :lol:

HG
AH, yes, I've made a pact with myself to pull 100 weeds everytime I go into the garden areas. Star thistle was conquered last year, this year I'm working on some soft, fuzzy light green thingy and some with stickers all along the stems. I WILL eradicate these things if it takes me years to do it!
The spiritual life is first of all a LIFE, it is meant to be lived-Thomas Merton

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Gerrie, ditto here. A little yank here and a little there, and pretty soon you aren't spending your time worrying about weeds and can concentrate on gardening.

Where in SO are you? We're in Central Point, loving the weather, as is our garden.
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I'm in Applegate, just past the bridge, down Thompson Creek. How long have you been a memeber and how long in Or?
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The Helpful Gardener wrote:Some of the other organic choices are [url=https://www.epa.gov/pesticides/biopesticides/ingredients/factsheets/factsheet_217500.htm]pelargonic acids[/url](think geranium juice :lol: ) [url=https://www.aenews.wsu.edu/Sept01AENews/Sept01AENews.htm#anchor5338542]Acetic acid[/url] is just another name for vinegar but you can get stronger stuff; most table vinegar runs around 5%, you can get Acetic Acid to 20% if you have the license...

Try a bit of detergent dish soap with the vinegar; just a few drops. Often plants protect their leaves with a fine wax of phospholipids, which the detergent can dissolve, letting the the acetic acids do their thing... worth a shot, and it's only vinegar and dish soap.... :)

HG
No offense HG, but 56% acetic acid can be purchased, without a license, through janitorial supply warehouses...
it is very powerful, NON-selective, so it will burn down everything, And must be used with caution.

We mixed 1 cup to two gallons of water and applied it to a fence line...Looked like a roundup effect...the next day, with out the roundup

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The Helpful Gardener wrote:next year the plaintain weed is the target (plaintain tells me where it's compacted, so we'll start there first...)
Don't forget to save some of the plantain for Buckeye butterflies! My DD(then 6) and I spotted a Buckeye in our garden last year near the plantain patch. :D No wear/tear on the wings so it might have been newly eclosed. We've also observed little black caterpillars on plantain as well.

Also, you can't beat plantain leaf juice for treating fresh mosquito bites. Just pick a piece of leaf and roll between your fingers until juices start to run and apply. I usually have terrible allergic reactions to bites with 1" welts by the next day, but if I treat bites immediately with plantain, they doesn't swell up. :D

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See, if Gerrie and I can do it... :wink:

HG
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Can I use the newspaper and soil over top method to kill off the grass around my raspberry plants?
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Yes you can...

AS, the plaintain works great on bee and wasp stings too; the wife didn't believe me until I chewed up a few leaves and slapped it on her swelling finger (yellowjacket). She was amazed; it's better than any over the counter stuff I ever used.

HG
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Will the Acetic Acid/Vinegar also work on poison ivy and poison oak? We have a problem along our property line :(

We have come to terms with the dandelions and other weeds in our lawn...we let them be! The info on plantain leaf juice for insect bites and stings is a good reason to leave some in the yard! Until reading this post, I had not known the medicinal value of this plant. Here is a link to more information on the plantain "weed":

[url]https://www.altnature.com/gallery/plantain.htm[/url]
cherlynn

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Cherylynn, you have tackled the big issue here and the news isn't great...

I have not had great luck with acetic acid on poison ivy, in fact vines in general are an issue. It does not get a root kill, so the stuff pops back pretty quickly, but it will burn off all the leaves, so it is a great rpecursor to a session with a [url=https://www.weedwrench.com/]Weed Wrench[/url]or other removal techniques...

This is one of those places that I actually might think about using a chemical (but not Round-Up; there are [url=https://www.i-sis.org.uk/GTARW.php]other chemicals in that stuff[/url]that are nastier than the active ingredient... straight glyphosate is still nasty, but I have used it on serious poison ivy out of necessity, but as sparingly as possible and only when I had exhausted other avenues...

HG
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I have never used any spray to kill weeds. I always mulch heavily with grass. Normally there are very few weeds. Mainly crabgrass but even that is few and far between. Even last year after I tilled it up for the fall there were not many weeds in the bare soil. That would have been my first garden season at this house.

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Weeding is only an issue when you don't mulch; it is ridiculously easy when you do. I don't think people get that...

My veggie garden gets weeded once a week or so. 30 x 20 space; I action hoe the walking rows in about three minutes and take another five or so to do the growing areas (occassionally a wee longer if I've been shirking). Done. Easy peasy extra cheesy... 8)

I use my Weed Hound in my lawn, my Weed Wrench to get bigger stuff, and plastic (turns out clear is better than black) to prep bedding areas. Who needs [url=https://www.ppdl.purdue.edu/PPDL/weeklypics/5-15-06.html]Round-Up[/url]? [url=https://www.mbayweb.com/glyphos8.htm]Horrid stuff[/url]... [url=https://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/07/08/DDO218FLRL.DTL&type=homeandgarden]should be outlawed[/url]... :roll:

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poison ivy & honeysuckle

I try to be an organic gardener. I don't use any insecticides other than my garlic/tomato leaves/ aromatic herbs/ cayenne pepper concoction. I don't use artificial fertilizers, except the Miracle Gro in the potting soil I start seeds in. I don't MUCH use herbicides. The exceptions are in the title. I'm horribly allergic to the poison ivy. And here in Ohio Japanese honeysuckle bush has taken over the world. If you get to it while it's young, it's not too hard to pull/dig out. Medium size, I have access to a honeysuckle popper I can borrow. But my property is home to giant old honeysuckles that I am working on clearing. What I've been doing is cutting them down to the ground and then putting Roundup on all the cut stems. I paint it on, so nothing else gets sprayed. And then I do it again in the fall. After maybe 2 - 3 years of being cut down and painted with Roundup twice a year, the %#$@ thing is probably dead!

So if I shouldn't be using the Round up on poison ivy and honeysuckle, what do you recommend?!

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Re: poison ivy & honeysuckle

rainbowgardener wrote:So if I shouldn't be using the Round up on poison ivy and honeysuckle, what do you recommend?!
I try to be organic as well. But the answer to you question is TOTAL VEGETATION KILLER!!!! That stuff will kill anything and usually nothing at all will grow for a year or so but it is poison ivy. With the whole "poison" part of it I would bring out the big guns and lay waste. You could try all those sissy ass don't hurt the environment things but if you want it to work, spray some death on it from above. Poison Ivy is very hard to kill. My buddy had some that ran the whole length of his back yard that backed up to train tracks, some of the vines were like friggin' trees. :shock:

:Edit: Just so you all know I would never use anything like that in a garden, but nuisance vegetation is a different story. There is a time and place for everything.

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Hi all, great to hear all the various ways to deal with weeds. I think we are on top of it all now. We used the vinegar spray again and then just pulled the big ones that didn't seem to truly die. I guess time will tell if they all come dancing back up in our spring. THG, out of interest, (please excuse my ignorance) but what do you recommend mulching with, in both a veggie garden and general gardening? I want to get onto this ASAP so that it reduces the weeding next time around.
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cathandrick wrote:Hi all, great to hear all the various ways to deal with weeds. I think we are on top of it all now. We used the vinegar spray again and then just pulled the big ones that didn't seem to truly die. I guess time will tell if they all come dancing back up in our spring. THG, out of interest, (please excuse my ignorance) but what do you recommend mulching with, in both a veggie garden and general gardening? I want to get onto this ASAP so that it reduces the weeding next time around.
In my garden I use grass from my yard. Everywhere else I use regular mulch from a nursery. i get the black dyed mulch for aesthetics. Of course I have a truck which makes it easy for me to get a couple of yards at a time.

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Compost for mulch. Compost for fertilizer. Compost for soil amendment. Compost for soil innoculation... it slices, dices chops and minces. It is Mother Nature incarnate and it will improve ANY soil. My flower beds and vegetable garden are mulched with a fantastic (and expensive) compost I get from a farmer I know, and my shrub and forb borders I do with my homemade stuff. It's completely worth it as once I get my soil right, it will begin to fend for itself and inputs can get less expensive and less intensive...

Organics is frontloaded as far as expense; you put in more money/time to begin with and less as time goes by. Chemical culture is the opposite; it looks cheap at first but as you develop more and more related problems, and cure them with more and more chemicals, an ugly feedback loop begins to develop until system crash or bankruptcy. We do not learn; this lesson was taught back in the [url=https://scienceguy288.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/dust.jpg]Dust Bowl[/url] era, and we've forgotten already... here's a [url=https://content.answers.com/main/content/img/McGrawHill/Encyclopedia/images/CE631500FG0010.gif]slice of soil in shortgrass prairie[/url]with roots down four feet. You cannot develop feeder roots more than a foot deep or so chemically; the demise of supporting biology does not allow it. This prairie relies on the biology to maintain soil stability. When we replaced that prairie with wheat, and biology with chemicals, they got a few really bumpercrop seasons before the soil just gave up in a bad drought. No roots to hold it, and the next thing you know we are having [url=https://livinghighdef.com/wordpress/?p=604]Black Blizzards[/url] in New York and Boston. We lost four feet of soil in some locales in a matter of a day; it takes tens of thousands of years to make that much topsoil...

We need to start getting it right as the planet is giving us every indicator she is starting to fight back... if Mother decides it's time for us to go, we will be hard pressed to stop it. The truly stupid thing is this could be fixed with truly rational thinking (rather than "economically" sound thinking that looks to next years projected profits rather than the Lakota seventh generation model. We had best adopt the precautionary principle as the days of "I am only hurting the earth a little bit; it's no big deal" have been brought to a close by overpopulation and increased demand. Every little bit hurts...
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The Helpful Gardener wrote:Compost for mulch. Compost for fertilizer. Compost for soil amendment. Compost for soil innoculation... it slices, dices chops and minces. It is Mother Nature incarnate and it will improve ANY soil.
Amen, and greaqt post THG! :D

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I agree Scott. I've never used chemicals for bugs or weeds.
As a child I lived through the 70's wondering if there would be a river or stream with fish. Pollution was so bad. My kids call me a tree hugger, and I am, but I also tell them you don't know how bad it was.
Now we wonder where the bees are and why they're dying.
I believe it was Einstein who said if the bees die we will too.
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organic control of poison ivy?

Thought I'd try to answer my own question, but haven't come up with much. Apparently goats will eat it, with no ill effect to the goat. But that's not too helpful for us city dwellers. A salt plus vinegar plus dish detergent solution is said to kill it. However, to me salting the soil is worse than Roundup. Roundup doesn't stay around very long. Salt sterilizes the soil for a long long time. Poison ivy might be gone, but nothing else would grow there. You could try painting it on the leaves, to keep so much salt from getting in the soil, but that necessitates being very close to all those nasty poison ivy leaves.

I'm afraid I may keep putting Roundup on the poison ivy...

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RBG, at least step away from the RU to straight glyphosate; RU's "inerts" are more toxic than the active ingredient. There are other effective glyphosates that do not have the witches brew of secondaries that characterizes RU, especially in it's "new and improved" forms. Glyphosate alone is far less toxic and residual than RU.

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no more Roundup

Thanks HG, that I can do, switch to glyphosate. In the meantime, I'm really not a big poison sprayer. The roundup has not been touched this year. Our Quaker meeting bought a honeysuckle popper, which I can borrow, so I'm popping more of the honeysuckles. And I'm trying to just dig more of the poison ivy when I can (putting myself in dire peril). I throw the plant on the concrete in the sun and watch it sizzle and die. :) But I know that doing that there's more roots in the ground....

Anyway, I'm always working to improve what I do and moving towards being a more perfectly organic gardener...

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Burdock, Thistles, Horse Nettle, Wild lettuce

The goats have worked quite well on multiflora rose, blackberry, poison ivy, honeysuckle and autumn olive (also effective on celery and broccoli :D ), but not so much on Burdock, Thistles, Horse Nettle and Wild lettuce.

I am so averse to using Round-Up and 2,4-D, I spend weeks each growing season with the shovel and the machete - then slipping off to dump truckloads of thistle in the dark of the woods because it might sprout in the compost. I even take it to the landfill if the flowers are open.

One can't mulch pasture - although we constantly try to increase its organic matter, productivity and balance of appropriate species.

But no bare soil ever - nature abhors a vacuum - our noxious weeds are often nature's pioneer plants. (I know people who plant plantain and crabgrass in their cow pastures.)

Thank you, Scott and others, for talking about the 56% Acetic Acid - 5% won't work on these plants when they are big enough to notice and have last year's well developed roots. I'm hoping a stronger solution will help.
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Re: no more Roundup

[quote="rainbowgardener"] Our Quaker meeting bought a honeysuckle popper, which I can borrow, so I'm popping more of the honeysuckles. And I'm trying to just dig more of the poison ivy when I can (putting myself in dire peril). I throw the plant on the concrete in the sun and watch it sizzle and die. :) But I know that doing that there's more roots in the ground.... quote]

When we bought our home about 20 years ago our yard had hundreds of weed and slippery elm trees. From inches to 12 feet tall.
We tried digging them up, pulling them up and cutting down the large ones.
The worst ones were next to a stone wall. We dug a deep trench a foot or two from these trees and left it open for I don't remember how long. But until it weakened the roots enough to pull out the trees.

I wonder if this could work on your poison ivy so that you wouldn't have to get so close so often.
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Diane, poison ivy would likely survive anything shrot of total root exposure; trees are not the hardy explorers that vines are. I have cut the main root and had the top take weeks to finally die; I assume it was parasitizing the tree it had climbed. It can root in the shallowest of soils and at every node that touches soil, even crevices in bark are enough to get started. This plant is the one possible exception to my no-chem ways; in bad situations there is often no other good way. Our end goal should be reduction as much as possible, with exceptions ruled by common sense and restraint. There are few rules that do not brook or even require exceptions, IMHO, anyway... even NOFA allows for occasional exception...

HG
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