Non toxic lawn care.

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by kthhayes, Jun 18, 2003.

  1. kthhayes

    kthhayes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 40

    Day care center, more weeds than grass! What should we use that is non-toxic to kill the weeds, without killing off the grass. This place has had no proper care in years, and I would like make it a showcase! Please help.
  2. windmill

    windmill LawnSite Member
    Messages: 95

    I'm not sure about your question. If you are looking to treat the area with some sort of material that will kill the weeds then you must use something toxic. Toxic means poisonous from the word toxin therefor nontoxic means not poisonous in which case I'm not sure how it will kill the weeds you"re looking to kill.
    I'm afraid the only non toxic way to remove the weeds might be by infra red ( burn them out) or by pulling them out, or replacing the turf.
    That's my opinion but I sure will want to know if there is a way because I have plenty of customers who would prefer no chemicals on their lawns.
  3. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,697

    laugh all you want, but try vinegar. It's an acetic acid, very similar to the acetic acid in 2,4D. Doesn't kill all broadleafs, however.

  4. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    In most dictionaries, toxic = poisonous. It is common useage of wackos to state "toxic chemicals" when referring to lawn and landscape applications. But in fact, most of nature and man made items are toxic to some extent. Common salt is much more toxic to humans than most all lawn chemicals. I can drink a cup of 2,4-D and suffer much less harm than if my dog drank a cup of chocolate (chocolate in quantity is extremely toxic to most dogs).

    You need to learn about toxicity, the degree to which a substance is toxic. And just because something is low toxicity to a human, you cannot assume it is also low toxicity to plants, other animals, etc. Don't have time to look up info on vinegar mentioned above, but it could wind up being more toxic to plants and soil organisms than chemical weedkillers, again depending on quantities. That is toxicity - learn about the toxicity of whatever you are using.
  5. kickin sum grass

    kickin sum grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 628

    from what I have been told by professional instructors etc. the amount of vineger needed for quality weed control IS more toxic than regular lawn chemicals. Also remember if lawn treatments are NOT labeled on the vinegar than you will be fined if caught using it for this purpose. Use only labeled products, afterall you are professionals in this business. As far as toxicity goes, groundkprs said it all.
  6. windmill

    windmill LawnSite Member
    Messages: 95

    GroundKprs, I think that's what I was trying to say as well, I get so many customers who want "natural" pesticides because they are "safer". Something tells me they wouldn't do so well in a nicotine gas filled greenhouse (oral LD50 of 50-60 and dermal at 50 in rabbits). Toxicity is distinct from hazard, which refers to the likelyhood of injury, not to the injury itself.
    I think many people equate natural with occurring in nature, therefor it's safe.
    2,4-D has an LD50 of 375 orally, I'm not sure if I would want to try I cup, although I would agree that you would stand a better chance than the dog.
    kickin sum grass is right as well, what you use as a pro should be registered for the purpose you intend to use it. You could probably use a good quality soap as an insecticide but should use insecticidal soup that is registered if that's what you want to use.
    Makes me think of the lady who came out of her condo in pajamas at 1130a.m. with a smoke in her mouth to stir up the other tenants because I was spraying for coddling moths. She thought it was too windy. With health conscious people like that you know we're living in a safer world.
  7. kthhayes

    kthhayes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 40

    I was speaking with a customer a bit ago, and she was saying that she had used a "GREEN" product, that was not chemical based, and was non-toxic to people and animals, and bio-degradable. She had used it on her lawn to eliminate the weeds, and I do prefer to use somthing that does not need a degree in sicence to reed, it also puts the day care customer at ease.
    By the way, I was reading in a text to use a mix of viniger, salt, and dish soap for eliminating broadleaf, but it did not say weather it would hurt grass. I assume that it would.

    Thank you for your help,
    Keith hayes
  8. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Good luck on finding something legitimate. FIFRA defines a pesticide as anything used to mitigate a pest (weeds in your case). And pesticides need to be approved by EPA and licensed by EPA and your state to be used legally. Any Joe can use vinegar, bat urine, or whatever he feels is a great weedkiller on his own lawn. But once he sells an application to someone else, he'd better be licensed himself and use properly licensed products.

    The only "organic" or "natural" product I know of that has been exempted from EPA licensing is corn gluten meal (CGM), used by some organic people in preventing crabgrass and other summer weeds. But this product is a root inhibitor, and is going to be just as much a stress on your lawn as chemical based root inhibiting pre-emergents, LOL.
  9. Rtom45

    Rtom45 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 456

    This is in no way an endorsement, just a suggestion. Try a company called Ringer, they sell Safer products which are as close to "natural" as you're going to get. The address is:
    Ringer Corporation
    9959 Valley View Road
    Eden Prairie, MN
    Phone (612) 941-4180
    Ask for their catalog.
  10. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    Now for something a little different.

    Instead of worrying about the weeds, worry about the grass. If you take the best care of the grass, in many cases it will choke out the weeds.

    1. Water deeply and infrequently. Water no more than once a week. If you have to water for 2 hours to get enough water in the soil, then that's your schedule. But if you start to get runoff, then you're wasting water and you'll have to build up to longer watering schedules. But let the grass tell you when to water. When you let the grass go that long without watering, the shallow rooted weeds will die out quickly from lack of water while the deeper rooted grasses will survive easily.

    2. Mow at the mower's highest setting. This promotes deep, drought tolerant roots as well as shading out weeds. Many weeds need full sun and tall grass denies that sun from the weeds. It also cuts way down on weed seed germination.

    3. Fertilize regularly. I like organic fertilizers for every application, but whatever, just fertilize. A strong turf requires food of some kind. For a daycare center I would use corn meal as a fertilizer. Apply at 10-20 pounds per 1,000 square feet of turf. Wet it down and give it 3 weeks to show it's new colors. You can get corn meal in bulk at feed stores for $5 for 50 pounds.

    Some weeds will survive the strong grass program and thrive. But in the mean time you don't have to dwell on all the other weeds that you don't have to do anything about and they'll just go away (was that a sentence???).

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