I have a large area (about 5 acres) that is overgrown with huge (12' +) wild marijuana weeds (from WWII days) and an overabundance of sticker bushes. This area is where my horse lives. I have heard of using rock salt and water to kill these nasty weeds. Is this safe for my horse and what is the quantity of water to salt? Does anyone know?
Hardiness Zone: 5a
Gayle from Almena, KS
I do not recommend using rock salt over such a large area. Salt is nonselective-meaning it will kill everything-including the grass. It also has a lasting negative effect on soil chemistry. Five acres is obviously a large area to cover, but digging, hand-pulling weeds and mowing them down repeatedly to prevent the weeds from maturing and spreading seed is probably the safest bet for your horses. I have heard of "safe" herbicides for use in grazing areas, but of course, you should talk to your veterinarian to find out the latest information on what is considered safe. I would also recommend talking to your local extension agency to find out if they have any information on pasture management. Many do.
When weeds invade and take over an area, it is usually due to a lack of soil nutrients or because over time, grazing practices have created conditions that favor weed growth. In some cases, it is more advantageous to have someone come in and completely remove what you have, and reseed the area with appropriate grasses.
If feasible, another idea is keeping a few goats around as a non-toxic way to help keep weeds at bay. Take out an ad. Maybe you could rent or borrow some for a while. Goats are especially good at helping control weeds. They prefer broadleaf and woody plants to grass (like thistle, knapweed, tansy, leafy spurge, toadflax, etc.) They also make superb equine companions.
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The best way is to saturate the water with salt, but it will kill everything, so don't use it where you have anything you might want to keep/stuff the horse might eat. I'd call a vet about whether or not it would harm you horse. You might have to keep the horse in a separate area. Usually the salt will sink into the soil, that's why they tell you never to use it around a garden, it will continue to kill plants. Would you have to notify the sheriff's office/police about the wild marijuana first? Where I live, it might get a person into trouble.
Since it's from WW II, I'd guess it's hemp, not the kind of marijuana that some people smoke. But apparently it's not legal to grow any of it in the US.
I'd call the county ag agent. They know everything about plants. Then I'd talk to the sheriff.
I'd be wary of salt. Once it's in the ground, it'll be hard to get anything to grow again, and I assume you want grass to grow there for your horse to graze on.
Calling the sheriff is a great idea! They might come out & take care of the hemp problem for you!
As for the thistles; cut them when they have blooms, but before those blooms mature & go to seed. It will take a couple of years to get rid of them, but it's non toxic.
Your horse may or may not eat thistles, but the main issue w/ equines & thistles is that it's not uncommon for horses to get scratches on their eyes from them! A very painful situation requiring a vet's attention.
Thanks so much for the great feedback. We did talk to one sheriff and he just laughed and said it was very common in our area. As long as we don't harvest the wacky weed, there is no problem with us having it. He also suggest contacting the county ag people. I was just hoping that maybe the salt & water method might be easy. I will check with my vet to see if there is any harm to my horse with the mixture. We need to go the area in her corral, which we want as just dirt anyways. Thanks again for all the advice!
Get huge containers of vinegar and put in spray bottles or a sprayer of some type. Spray all the land with it. I've used it on weeds and they die within a day and should not hurt the horses.
I heard that salt will not affect asparagus and a good way to get rid of weeds in asparagus beds. While grass will not grow for a long time it will get rid of weeds that many chemicals will not kill such as Ivy. I used salt on Ivy and it does work. Animals will usually not consume too much salt if there is plenty of water available, but there probably are exceptions.
I would be careful with any mowing down of wild marijuana. The problem with it is, it can spread seeds. And don't burn it! I would call your local sheriff's office and see what the laws are for disposing of this stuff. I know in Iowa that you aren't allowed to burn it, mow it or pull it out on your own. The DNR (natural resources) or the sheriff comes out and takes care of it under supervision. Sure, I'll let them come out and pull it out for me! :) Anyhow, just thought I'd tell you about it since I had a friend with wild wacky weed growing on his farm years ago.
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Does anyone know about using rock salt to kill weeds?
I use white vinegar and salt heated on the stove. I spray it on the weeds and next day they are dead.
I have a run of rocks near my front door. I got tired of weeding and a friend suggested spreading rock salt among the rocks. It worked great as I had hardly any growth at all. Of course this will keep all plant growth to a minimum. I was told this will work for many years.
These are both good suggestions for weeds between patio blocks, etc, but do not use if you plan to put any flowers or veggies in that spot. It will continue to kill anything you plant in that spot.
Keep in mind that this sterilizes the soil and will not allow anything to grow. It stays in the soil for years and a large rain will wash it far beyond where you poured it.