What Are The Benefits of Organic Weed Control for Your Lawn vs Synthetic?
April 16, 2020
Natural? Organic? Snake Oil? Are organic weed controls more favorable then synthetic herbicides? Today, we’re going to take a look at the benefits of organic weed control vs synthetic weed control.
Organic Weed Control
We live in a time where the word organic is linked to a wide range of products we encounter on a daily basis. As we enter spring, many homeowners are beginning the process of making their lawns look their best. The question of many homeowners, is organic safer and/or more effective than synthetic herbicides?
The lawn care products available to the average homeowner are broad. The availability of so-called organic herbicides tends to be a bit more limited and the price range much higher in comparison to synthetic herbicides. There are two primary types of herbicides on the market for controlling weeds; pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides.
The most readily available organic pre-emergent herbicide is corn gluten. It is the most well known and most researched pre-emergent grassy weed control in the organic market available for homeowner purchase. Corn gluten applications do need to be methodically timed, as it requires specific conditions for maximum effectiveness, as well as a high application rate of 20lbs per 1000sq ft. Even if these measures are accomplished, typical crabgrass suppression is around 60%. It is highly recommended that two separate applications of pre-emergent be applied during the spring for optimum grassy weed control. Corn Gluten does have some nutritional properties due to it containing 10% nitrogen by weight. This in turn, however, can act as a source of nutrients to emerging grassy weeds that may have not been controlled by the initial corn gluten application.
What About Dandelions and Other Broadleaf Weeds?
Pre-emergent herbicides do not stop broadleaf weeds such as Dandelions and Clover. Post-emergent herbicides are required to halt the growth of these problematic weeds. Currently, there is not a large number of organic post-emergent formulations
available that have credible data to support their effectiveness. Available organic post-emergent herbicides require frequent applications at a high spray volume in comparison to synthetic solutions. The home-made solutions one may find on the internet would be considered “ Non-Selective”, this means it would have the potential to kill or injure any plant it would come into contact with, whether it’s a desired or non-desired plant material.
Organic post-emergent formulations have no residual activity and do not have the capability of translocating through the plant like the majority of synthetic herbicides. Organic post-emergents work by burning back the tops of the treated plant. Because these formulations are burn down products, they do not kill the root of the targeted plant, which regrowth ultimately generates from. For this reason, frequent applications are required to ensure adequate control. Weeds with aggressive growth habits and root systems such as Yellow Nutsedge, Ground Ivy and Wild Violets would be extremely challenging to successfully control using such organic burn down formulations.
Something else to be mindful of in regards to Organic weed controls is that many of these products have not been tested by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Which means, there isn’t research or product reviews by a 3rd party or independent agency that can confirm the effectiveness and/or precautions to the public. For instance, synthetic herbicides currently used by Green Lawn Fertilizing are registered by the U.S. EPA as well as by the Department of Agriculture. This means that the EPA and Department of Agriculture have determined that these herbicides will perform their intended function per the label without adverse effects to the environment.
Final Thoughts on Pre-emergent
There are a variety of synthetic pre-emergent herbicides available on the market making the cost of these products overall reasonable. The time to apply these products is during the spring; unlike corn gluten the application window is larger and more forgiving. Some of these synthetic formulations even have properties that offer both pre and post-emergent control. In addition, the effectiveness of these products is vastly higher than organic pre-emergent offering up to 80% control.
Final Thoughts on Post-emergent
There are a number of selective synthetic broadleaf weed controls available for broadleaf weeds most concerning to homeowners, such as Dandelions and Clover. These selective weed controls will effectively kill the visible foliage of the weed in addition to the root system, while not harm desirable turf grasses. These products will perform their intended function per the label without adverse effects, however, if used improperly or mishandled these herbicides can harm plant life including desired landscape turf and shrubs.
Why Worry About Organic vs Synthetic Weed Control?
As your number 1 local Lawn Care Company, we have done our research to ensure the right products are used in the right amounts at the right time of year. We take extreme pride and thoughtfulness in the training of our technicians the proper best practices to ensure a healthy, green and weed-free lawn. The goal of our service is to remove the guesswork of figuring out what your lawn needs. Plus, we are able to lessen the hassle and worrying of having to store and use the necessary equipment and products throughout the season. Call us today at 888-581-5296 for a free quote and to schedule a service.
Lawn Weed Guide
Keep common weeds from invading your beautiful lawn with this guide.