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Entries in weed control (2)


Spring is Almost Here!

I had a bad dream last night. I dreamt that I had to put on a wedding in my backyard and it needed massive pruning. I woke up and my hand was sore from clenching dream pruners! I think this is my subconscious reminding me that it's time to get out and cleanup the garden! Now is the time to cut back any remaining perennials and grasses such as liriope and carex. However, acorus only needs a good combing with a leaf rake.

Spring also means time to apply a pre-emergent to your lawn to prevent broadleaf weeds like crab grass or dandelions. This must be done before the forsythia finish blooming. Our expert arborist, Gary Carbocci, says to lime your lawn to raise the pH as our soil on Long Island is very acidic. Also see our article on how to use vinegar as an organic herbicide.

It’s also the best time to weed! Get those garden nuisances before they get established and add a fresh layer of mulch to beds, remembering to keep the root flare clear (see Mulch Volcano article here). Prune damaged branches on trees and shrubs. Trim yellow leaves on broadleaf evergreens. Any other pruning should wait until after the plant flowers so the buds aren't removed.

Wow, looks like I have a lot to do, but it will all be worth it once I can see my bulbs popping up. Bulbs are my spring alarm clock and I can't wait for it to ring.


The Garlic & Vinegar Solution

No, this isn't a post about cooking. It is about using everyday kitchen ingredients to keep the weeds and creepy crawly biting things away. I don't like using chemicals on my property. I don't like weeds or bugs. I don't want to harm myself or my pets with toxic chemicals. What's a girl to do? Go to the grocery store! Vinegar is about 3 dollars for a gallon jug, garlic is 25 cents per bulb and mineral oil is around $5, depending on the size and quality you want to use. If you're not going to eat it, get the cheaper stuff!

Vinegar is a non-selective, organic herbicide. A few of my neighbors' aren't as attentive with their properties as I am with mine and their weeds are constantly creeping under the fence. Every year I buy a few gallons of vinegar and pour it along the fence line. I am careful not to splash my existing plants, because like I said before, it is non-selective, which means it will kill any plant, not just the weeds. It won't destroy heavy hitters like English Ivy, Morning Glory Vine, Crabgrass or Dandelions, but it weakens them enough for me to rip them out more easily. Organic yards take a lot of one on one work, but it is worth it to me.

I'm fine with most insects but my hospitality runs out when mosquitoes use me and mine as a snack bar. Garlic oil is a good mosquito repellant. You could rub it on yourself but that's going to be rather awkward smelling. It is better to apply it to the garden, as a perimeter application, and it has the bonus effect of deterring bunnies from the yard as well. I'm not going to claim that this will take care of all the mosquitoes, but for my purposes, it does a decent job of protecting me and my pets. See the recipe below to make your own.

You can repurpose the vinegar jugs when you're done, using them as planters, watering containers, or to keep your garlic oil in!


Garlic Oil

1 head of Garlic
1 cup Mineral Oil
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
2 cups Water

Instructions: Mince several cloves of garlic and cover with mineral oil. Let it sit for at least 24 hours to infuse. Take about 1 teaspoon of the oil (I strain the garlic chunks out with wire mesh) and mix it with 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a spray bottle. Shake it up well and go to town! Store extra in a cool, dry place. You won't be cooking with it but no need to let it get any funkier. I usually make mine each time I need it.