Topic Options
#70222 - 03/21/08 03:24 PM advice on non-toxic weed and lawn issue
P. Smith1340 Offline
Chicken

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Oregon
This isn't specifically chicken related, but has anyone found a good non-toxic lawn fertilizer/weed killer? I've got lawn grass, dandelions, and miscellaneous weeds in my front lawn, and all of the above plus some newly sprouted blackberry vines and what looks to me like pasture grass in the back. (The old owners weren't too big on yard work apparently mad ) My hens are confined to their run in the backyard, and the dog only goes in the backyard as well. I used conventional Scott Weed and Feed on the front yard, as much as I'm against all the cr@p that is in it. I now need something that I can put on the back to either make the grass strong enough to choke out the blackberries, or maybe some kind of "invasive" grass seed??? Definitely don't want any pesticides back there with the animals and my soon to be little garden laugh . Any one have any suggestions??

Top
#70223 - 03/21/08 04:20 PM Re: advice on non-toxic weed and lawn issue
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
If you're talking about the prickly invasive kind of blackberry, here's what I'd do. If possible, get in a good tough mower (such as an old Gravely) And cut it down. This will mulch most of the vines. On the stumps, paint some woody weed killer. I don't know if you can get it in an applicator bottle like we can. If you can't access that, some round-up will also do. You can put on some rubber gloves, put your weedkiller in a small disposible cup, and paint it on with a small brush. This way you don't kill any grass, and confine the weed killer to a small area.
Tie up your dog for a few hours while the weedkiller dries. Cut off and repaint any regrowth as needed.
For the front lawn, we get a product called weed and feed, which will take care of broadleafed weeds. All weedkillers will have some toxicity. Some are just better to handle than others and your local garden centre or similar should be able to advise. If you want to go completely chemical free, you can dig dandelions out quite successfuly with a good garden fork, so long as your soil is not heavy clay, or you can use a teaspoon of sulphate of ammonia sprinkled in the crown of broadleafed weeds. Here some info on it. Natural weed control

Top
#70224 - 03/22/08 06:08 AM Re: advice on non-toxic weed and lawn issue
P. Smith1340 Offline
Chicken

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Oregon
Excellent theres a lot of good tips on that website! Yea I didn't think of using a spray bottle, that might be what it comes down to for the rapidly reproducing blackberries smile

Top
#70225 - 03/23/08 08:32 AM Re: advice on non-toxic weed and lawn issue
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
Foehn: I didn't know Blackberry was invasive anywhere. In the U.S., especially here in the South, the Blackberries are welcome. It does not grow rapidly or get out of hand here. I grew up eating Blackberries and Blackberry jelly. We have a problem with non-natives, the Kudzu, bamboo & Ivy. These vines will kill native trees, tear up your home, etc.

I found this in Wikipedia:

Quote:
In some parts of the world, such as in Chile, New Zealand and the Pacific Northwest region of North America, some blackberry species, particularly Rubus armeniacus (syn. R. procerus, 'Himalaya') and Rubus laciniatus ('Evergreen') are naturalised and considered an invasive species and a serious weed.
It is just we humans introducing plants where they are not indigenous.

I also welcome dandelions as I feed the leaves to my hens. They love them. The dandelion leaf can also be used in salads. I'll take all the dandelions you want to give me. Personally, I don't use weed killers in my yard. I sow grass seed and have put down sod (in the past) and go with what comes (just keep it cut). I pull up the wild onions and the poke weed.

Top
#70226 - 03/23/08 11:53 AM Re: advice on non-toxic weed and lawn issue
P. Smith1340 Offline
Chicken

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Oregon
Im not quite as concerned about the dandelions in the backyard, but for curb appeal the front yard needed some serious help. The lot next door is basically solid blackberry vines, some are the size of small tree limbs. I don't know about Alabama, but here once the blackberries get rooted, they're near impossible to get rid of, and they choke out anything else around them. I was thinking about getting some real hardy grass seed to see if that would help with the weed issue in the front, then I wouldn't have to use any pesticides. I don't like em either.

Top
#70227 - 03/23/08 01:40 PM Re: advice on non-toxic weed and lawn issue
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
psmith, there is a bit you can do to discourage weeds in lawns. One is never to mow too low. Set your mower on a higher setting so that there is always a good sole of grass. Try the sulphate of ammonia though.It is a "manure" for want of a better word and broad leafed weeds like dandelion, basically can't cope with it and will curl up real quick. Other grasses will enjoy the "goodies" it brings. Sounds like the best course of action for the blackberry is to saw off the heavy vine and paint woody weedkiller on the cut end.

Chris, yes, blackberry are very invasive in the warmer parts of New Zealand, That doesn't mean they are not valued for their fruit. I have many great memories of the big pans of blackberry jam cooking on the stove. Unfortunately the smothering rampant growth tends to make them undesirable for the other 50 weeks of the year.

Top
#70228 - 03/23/08 06:44 PM Re: advice on non-toxic weed and lawn issue
Wyattdogster Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 493
Loc: Virginia
Chris, I have a horrible problem with wild blackberries! At least I think they are blackberries, maybe they are mulberries? Anyway they spread like crazy through underground runners and pop up everywhere. They are choking out my 10 yr. old clematis vine and have invaded the herb garden. They are full of razor sharp tiny thorns. I have tried to get rid of them using Round UP, digging and pulling and a Weed B gone type of spray. They just won't die. I am going to try liming them to death now! mad

Top
#70229 - 03/24/08 04:49 AM Re: advice on non-toxic weed and lawn issue
Upback Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Maine
Man this conversation makes me yearn for melting snow!

I am glad our blackberry patch is in the woods, and that we have been turned on to beer-battered, fried dandelion blossoms!

For me, the big thing about weeds is changing my mind-set. Luckily we don't have to deal with curb-appeal or neighbors angry because of our yellow-dotted lawn. I relish finding patches of dandelion, chicory and chickweed in the lawn so I can rip it up and feed it to the chickens. Most weeds attract beneficial insects and nourish the soil as well.

If I wanted to get rid of them naturally I would look into one of the many books that describe what the weeds are telling you about your soil as a good way to figure out what needs to be changed to get rid of them.

One thing that I think works well, though, is planting a perennial, low-growing clover that tends to smother most other things. Boiling water or white vinegar poured directly on a weed works well, too. I very much agree with Foehn regarding the high-mowing technique, I've read that many times.

It's tough to keep pulling those brambles because they are so rampant and thrive in disturbed soil. They sucker like crazy and easily get away from you. Changing ph and mulching to smother might be the best bet, as long as you don't smother and alter the environment of what you want to keep at the same time.

Wyattdogster,
Almost every catalog I've seen lists clematis as a great companion to rambling roses and such. Seems they do quite well growing with rampant, thorny, acid-loving vines. Would making the soil more alkaline hurt the clematis? I know it might not be the most aesthetic thing in the world, but what about taking care of that blackberry monster, trellising it, let the clematis climb all over it, and let it be the clematis' rose-companion substitute. Instead of eradicating it it would be easier to just prune it once a year for increased production. You'd get buckets of fruit for it most seasons and if the clematis' love roses, I bet they don't mind the other brambles. - ??

Top
#70230 - 03/25/08 10:51 AM Re: advice on non-toxic weed and lawn issue
Hopewell Offline
Feather

Registered: 01/29/08
Posts: 31
Loc: Georgia
I read an informative article today in Organic Gardening magazine(April 2008) regarding lawn care. Their website may also be of help. Lisa

Top


Moderator:  Admin @ The Coop, Foehn