I need a weed killer that is safe for my kids and pets to be used in my yard. There are large places where there is no grass.
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Billie: Choosing a weed killer that is not harmful to your children or pets is also much safer in terms of the environment. There are alternative herbicides available for home use. Vinegar or lemon juice based, also known as acetic acid, weed killers are effective. A homemade concentrated solution of 1 qt. cider vinegar and 4 oz. of lemon juice mixed in a spray bottle is an option. This can be purchased as Burnout Weed and Grass Killer. Safer Brand makes a weed killer from soap salts, otherwise known as potassium salts of fatty acids. These sprays are non-selective and will harm any desirable plants so avoid spraying on a windy day. Spot spraying when the weeds are young and during the heat of the day will give you the best results. Larger more established weeds may require a couple of applications. If you are trying to kill weeds in a grassy space, the next option may not be ideal, aesthetically speaking, but it works great for preparing a new garden bed. Spreading a layer of newspaper and then adding a thin layer of mulch on top of the newspaper is a safe and effective way of killing weeds. This is not a process that will work overnight, but if you are willing to wait it is easy, safe, and a good way to recycle your newspaper. Corn gluten is an organic pre-emergent herbicide that works great for eliminating future weeds by preventing the seeds from germinating. Unfortunately it does not work for existing weeds.