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What can I use to kill blackberries and thistles, but not kill the grass?
By Michael from Washougal, WA
Look for a broad leaf weed killer that is labeled safe for lawns. Most of the phenoxy herbicides (2,4-D, dicamba, MCPA, etc.) will do minimal damage to grasses and take care of the broad leaf weeds just fine. Blackberries will be very hard to kill - many repeated applications of the weed killer will be needed!
Black berries are indeed hard to kill. Some areas in Washington state and Oregon have gone to pasturing goats in these areas. Goats naturally will eat the berry bushes first over grass. By keeping the leaves stripped off the plant and eating the new growth they eventually starve the plant to death. This has happened on my own property when I moved my goats into a pasture with wild roses, russian thistle, mint, snap weed, and cat tails. 3 years later I have a pasture that is primarily grass and clover, the stream is no longer chocked with cat tails and best of all, happy goats.
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I have lots of weeds growing in my front yard. What can I use to kill them without killing the grass?
You can buy one at Lowe's made by Bayer. It comes in a gallon with a battery operated, hand held sprayer or in a quart container you can attach to a garden hose. It kills 200 weeds, but not the grass. I use it a lot. (08/06/2010)
The most standard type of broadleaf weed killer (kills plants with broad leaves and doesn't kill grass) is called 2-4D. This is a generic term, and is not the brand name, so you'll need to look at the ingredient list of whatever spray you get. It's potent stuff, so use sparingly if you care about the environment, your pets' and kids' health. (Still, sometimes this is the only stuff that works, and if you get the weeds sprayed before they go to seed, you won't have to spray much or at all in the following years). I live in Colorado and tried all of the natural stuff, including boiling water, nothing worked for me, so I just use chemicals very sparingly in conjunction with hand weeding. The key is definitely getting stuff before it goes to seed. (08/06/2010)
The easy way to kill the weeds in the lawn is to buy Ortho Weed-b-Gon Max. It works great and can be bought just about anywhere. (08/06/2010)
Weed and Feed is great. It kills the weeds and feeds the grass. (08/09/2010)
Q: Killing weeds without killing grass: I need a natural homemade weed killer that will kill weeds but not the grass. All I have seen are recipes for non-selective killing. Can anyone help, this must be the best kept secret by the big boys.
Hardiness Zone: 4a
Driftingmist from Quesnel, B.C.
Natural Weed Control
Q: When I moved into my house in 2000, I had a flawless St. Augustine yard. I choose not to use chemicals so I am looking for a natural recipe or product that will kill weeds and not my grass. The grass is thatchy and has browning spots with more and more weeds every year. I only have used Hasta Gro Lawn Feed so far. It helps some, but my yard is getting uglier every year.
Hardiness Zone: 8a
Saradise from Waco, TX
A: Driftingmist and Saradise,
Because you're essentially both asking the same question, I'm going to answer both questions together.
While I can't say exactly what the big boys use, I'm not aware of any weed killers (natural or synthetic) that will kill weeds while sparing grass and ornamental plants.
Feeding your yard is great, but a few more steps are needed if you ever hope to restore your lawn to its former glory.
If the both of you desire a weed-free lawn, try the following tips:
If you're patient, in a few seasons your lawn will be lush and virtually weed-free and you'll be spending a lot less on chemicals. A lawn that is about 15% weeds will look weed-free to the average observer.
About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services.
I see you live in B.C. Have you contacted Art Knapp Nurseries (throughout B. C.) I used to live in B.C. and got lots of helpful info from them. Good luck. (04/27/2006)
I was told by my gardener to just pour boiling water on the weeds, both in the lawn and on paths. Good Luck.
By Wendy M.
I would definitely NOT use bleach on the lawn! My next door neighbor did this and I saw some poor worms on the surface afterwards writhing in pain. It looked like their skin was burned off, so I had to put them out of their misery. Use something else. (06/10/2007)
There is a natural weed killer that works on ground ivy that I saw under "weed control recipes" at lawncaresimplified.typepad.com. (07/23/2008)
I agree with this, always get a healthly lawn and you will not have weeds. Fertilize with a good fertilizer 3 times a year. Remember that the fall fertilization is the most important one, you also have to know what kind of grass you have to know what fertilizer to use. Then search online for the info. It takes lot of water for the grass to grow fast, good luck. (03/26/2009)