Animal friendly ways of getting rid of the weeds from a lawn?


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Hi there :)

We have free ranging poultry who graze our 'lawn'. Over the past few years its changed from nearly all rye grass to having less and less grass and more daisies,silverweed and great plantains.

We encourage these plants in specific areas as we harvest them for their herbal uses so do not want to totally wipe them out! Nor do we want to use anything that will kill any beneficial insects.

I have tried digging up the plants individually and re-seeding the grass. Sadly this has not worked.

Do you know of anything that is animal friendly that will help with this, or maybe a method?
 
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Welcome Scarlet. :) I don't think you're going to find a weed killer that is completely animal friendly, but if you're not averse to chemicals then perhaps you could section off parts of your lawn and treat those with a weed killer. The lawn should be clear for grazing six weeks later.
 
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Scarlet, you may want to try plain old white vinegar. If you were willing to dig the plants individually, going around with a squirt bottle and zapping the weeds should be even easier. The vinegar will not hurt your hens and it isn't toxic to insects since it is just an herbicide. Give it a try and see if it works for you.
About re-establishing grass, I have no idea. Perhaps some of our UK members can suggest a variety of grass that will grow for you. We have Bermuda here in Texas, and absolutely nothing discourages it!
 
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I'm guessing you're going to have to choose between having free-ranging chickens, and a "weedy" lawn. Your chooks are not only grazing, they are constantly re-seeding.
What's wrong with mowing daisies,silverweed and great plantains? It's green, and lawns are green.... :)
 
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Weeds from a lawn need to be removed manually taking care to see that no roots are left behind.
 

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Manual removal would be my suggestion to avoid any chemicals.
 
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Welcome Scarlet. :) I don't think you're going to find a weed killer that is completely animal friendly, but if you're not averse to chemicals then perhaps you could section off parts of your lawn and treat those with a weed killer. The lawn should be clear for grazing six weeks later.

Thankyou :)
We hope it doesn't have to come to that though as the lawn is mixed up with organic fruit trees /veg etc.

Scarlet, you may want to try plain old white vinegar. If you were willing to dig the plants individually, going around with a squirt bottle and zapping the weeds should be even easier. The vinegar will not hurt your hens and it isn't toxic to insects since it is just an herbicide. Give it a try and see if it works for you.
About re-establishing grass, I have no idea. Perhaps some of our UK members can suggest a variety of grass that will grow for you. We have Bermuda here in Texas, and absolutely nothing discourages it!


That sounds like a great idea! will look into though it as thinking it may kill the grass also? If not will certainly give it a go. That sounds like a good idea also, maybe we need to mix other suitable grazing grasses in that are a little more dominant. Texas seems like a world away!

I'm guessing you're going to have to choose between having free-ranging chickens, and a "weedy" lawn. Your chooks are not only grazing, they are constantly re-seeding.
What's wrong with mowing daisies,silverweed and great plantains? It's green, and lawns are green....


Yes there is that reseeding problem.The lawn does get mowed but not very often as some of the birds graze and keep it down short enough, we don't want to over mow it as it needs to be a certain height for them. Would be great if there was a mower that could recognise when to leave the grass and cut the other stuff though :)

Weeds from a lawn need to be removed manually taking care to see that no roots are left behind.
Manual removal would be my suggestion to avoid any chemicals.


I'm hoping the vinegar thing works first or it will get rather tedious if it needs doing throughout the year.
 
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Scarlet, vinegar is an herbicide, and will kill grass (we use it to kill grass in pathways). If you use a squirt bottle with a jet stream and not a spray, you can target the weeds. A little grass around the weed may die out, but it won't be wholesale slaughter!
New weed seeds will move in, airborne or brought in by bird poop, so you will need to spot spray a few times during the growing season. Each time it will be less, since your own weeds won't be seeding as much.
 
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Scarlet, vinegar is an herbicide, and will kill grass (we use it to kill grass in pathways). If you use a squirt bottle with a jet stream and not a spray, you can target the weeds. A little grass around the weed may die out, but it won't be wholesale slaughter!
New weed seeds will move in, airborne or brought in by bird poop, so you will need to spot spray a few times during the growing season. Each time it will be less, since your own weeds won't be seeding as much.
Thankyou :D Will give it a go over the weekend
 
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I agree about using white vinegar in a spray bottle. If you're not worried about killing anything you want to keep growing like grass or plants do this:
Put rubbing alcohol, water, and vinegar in a bottle and spray well. Then apply normal cooking salt to the area. I guarantee nothing will ever grow there again. But, you must be careful if you don't want it to invade areas where you want to keep grass or plants.
 
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I agree about using white vinegar in a spray bottle. If you're not worried about killing anything you want to keep growing like grass or plants do this:
Put rubbing alcohol, water, and vinegar in a bottle and spray well. Then apply normal cooking salt to the area. I guarantee nothing will ever grow there again. But, you must be careful if you don't want it to invade areas where you want to keep grass or plants.
I don't know how you came up with that concoction buddy, but it sounds like a sure winner. I felt that combo to my guts. I should try that myself. I think Scarlet may just be left with her best option as just getting down and dirty to manually pull up those weeds. There are so many things she still wants to preserve in the area, including free-range chickens (great), a little weed/herbal and some insects. Any chemical is bound to disrupt that environment. Hire a hand Scarlet or just get in there and get a little bit dirty. I hope it works out.
 
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Another weed killer can be made by mixing up 1/4 cup liquid dish soap, 1/4 cup ammonia and 1 TBS instant tea grounds and mix it with 5 gallons of water. Spray on.
 
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I don't know how you came up with that concoction buddy, but it sounds like a sure winner. I felt that combo to my guts. I should try that myself. I think Scarlet may just be left with her best option as just getting down and dirty to manually pull up those weeds. There are so many things she still wants to preserve in the area, including free-range chickens (great), a little weed/herbal and some insects. Any chemical is bound to disrupt that environment. Hire a hand Scarlet or just get in there and get a little bit dirty. I hope it works out.
LOL, I came up with the concoction through trial and error! It does work. Of course, getting down on your knees and pulling up the weeds, being sure to grab the roots works well, also. Probably the most animal-friendly way there is! Wait! There's one other way that won't harm animals -- boiling water. Cooks the plant and it goes belly up quickly, then spread corn meal to keep the weeds under control. Of course the animals might eat the corn meal, but that's a whole other subject!
 
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More ideas: smother weeds with layers of newspaper. The lack of sunlight kills weeds. Or cover the area with mulch to prevent weeds from sprouting.
 
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@tlspiegel I think you've got some great ideas man. I know about the hot water and it has worked for me before. I found the covering of weeds with newspapers a bit tricky, because while it could work I'm thinking it will kill the weed but also the surrounding plants. If I do it on my lawn it may discolor the grass leaving brown patches all over. You got a work around? Plus I would have to leave the papers lying around for some time.
 
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newspaper.jpg


First mow the lawn on your lowest setting. Knocking down the weeds low. Then put several layers of newspaper -- or cardboard down on your grass, before you put down mulch.

Dampen the newspapers or cardboard. Weeds cannot grow through the newspaper, and the decomposing paper feeds your soil. The mulch gets incorporated into the soil, after the weeds are dead. Mulch enriches the soil. Disclaimer: I have never used newspaper, but I've heard it works very well.
 
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Oooooooooh(y)....

Now I understand the idea. Thank you very sir. Highly appreciated information, right there. Keep the ideas coming as you're a very big help. Thanks.
 
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You're so welcome. But, I am not a sir. Female here. Common mistake because my first name is usually a boy's name, or a dog. ;)
 
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I actually have no suggestions on how to kill weeds. What we do here with our small lawn is to get someone to pull out the unwanted plants, be it clover or anything. Our frog grass used to be prolific but when other plants came in, particularly the herb called Pansit-pansitan which is like lentils, the frog grass seemingly became shy. So during the rainy season, we remove by hand the unwanted plants.
 
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Does anyone know of any organic weed killers? I'm not sure if they exist but I overheard some coworkers mentioning it.
 
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