Many chemicals used in the removal of weeds can be quite harmful to your pet. Some common herbicides have been shown to negatively impact the liver, kidneys, thyroid, neurological system, and many of your pet's other organs. If you are wanting to keep your lawn looking nice while protecting your pets, there are many safe alternatives—most of which can be found as close as your very own kitchen.
Corn Gluten Meal
Corn gluten meal (CGM) is one of the best options for safe weed control. Corn meal stops weeds before they even start by preventing the seeds from germinating. Not only is it safe for animals, but it is also safe to use around other plants. Since corn meal's mode of action is to inhibit germination, it will not affect mature vegetation. CGM is completely safe to use on your lawn; it will even fertilize the soil because of its high nitrogen content. It should not, however, be applied at the same time as grass seed.
To apply corn gluten meal to your lawn, you will need to sprinkle it on evenly. You should use 20 pounds of CGM for every 1,000 square feet. Make sure to water the treated area after the application is complete. Since the corn meal only works to inhibit weeds before they grow, it is imperative to treat your lawn and garden both in late spring and late summer. Different weeds begin growing at different times; this will ensure that all types of weeds are eliminated.
Sugar and Salt
High salt or sugar solutions are often used as a preservative in food because it creates an unhospitable environment that bacteria cannot survive in. The same is true for weeds in your garden. Sugar is safe to use around other plants and on your lawn. You will just need to sprinkle an even amount on your lawn and then water the area. Salt, however, is a little harsher, and should only be used for small areas only. If you use salt to kill weeds on a larger scale, it will harm the soil and prevent future plant growth. You will need to dilute the salt before applying it, using 3 parts water to one part salt. It is also very important to water any nearby plant life afterwards so there is no damage.
Boiling water is a very simple solution to get rid of unwanted weeds; you simply pour the hot water over unwanted weeds. Hot water will kill all other plant life as well, so this method is best used for weeds that are isolated, such as in driveway or sidewalk cracks.
You can use regular household vinegar to kill off weeds. Vinegar is an acid, and destroys weeds by removing all of their moisture. There is no need to dilute the vinegar before use, but you will need to cover up any nearby plant life to protect it from harm while applying the vinegar.
If you do not exactly have a green thumb, there are also many pet-friendly sprays that can be purchased in stores or can be applied by a professional. Most safe herbicides are labeled as either organic or pet-safe. You will want to make sure you avoid weed killers that contain 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4 –D). If you have a lawn care service that treats your yard, most companies now have safe alternative treatments they can use to keep both your lawn and your pets happy and healthy. (For information on herbicide, contact C S Flournoy Inc)