Organic Weed Control: Are There More Effective Natural Solutions?

Many homeowners in search of more natural treatments for their lawn care programs believe organic remedies may be the answer to their weed problems. However, no organic weed control products offer a complete solution.

While organic lawn care products may serve roles in other areas of your lawn maintenance routine, no truly effective organic materials have been identified to reduce weed damage to acceptable levels.

Corn gluten meal is praised for its ability to suppress crabgrass, but this is largely due to the nitrogen component in the product. The nitrogen improves turf density, which shades crabgrass seeds. Research has shown that half the nitrogen applied from an inexpensive nitrogen fertilizer is just as effective as corn gluten in reducing crabgrass in the Delmarva region. However, nitrogen alone does not provide complete control over crabgrass or many other weeds.

Biological agents, which are very expensive, have been widely tested against weeds, insects and diseases. These organic treatments only control pests erratically and are best described as slightly effective.

If you prefer natural lawn maintenance techniques to herbicides, many lawn care companies are able to incorporate cultural approaches that minimize the damaging effects of weeds and other lawn pests. Learn more about effective natural lawn treatments that supplement your lawn care program:

Mowing your lawn to a height of 3.0 to 3.5 inches is the best approach to suppressing weeds and preventing or reducing diseases. It is also helpful to mow as needed (i.e., do not wait until grass leaves get above 5.0 inches) and remove only one-third of the leaf tissue with each cutting. For example, if the preferred mowing height is 3.5 inches, you should mow the lawn when it is about 4.75 inches high.

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