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organic/wildlife friendly weed killer?

Is there such a thing? We're looking for a weed killer to clear or patios before we get the cracks in the paving filled? If you garden organically how do you kill weeds when you can't get to the roots? We have some persistent ones growing through plants as well as the driveway issue.
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  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,905
    The only really safe option is to lift the slabs and dig the roots out. Any applied treatment has some contamination risks that could affect your soil, no matter how 'natural' the chemical. Or to embrace the problem and plant strong growing alpine species to (eventually) smother the weeds. This only works if you do keep taking the tops off the unwanted species to weaken them while the wanted ones establish.

    Personally I prefer a 'green' patio, but it does take more maintenance
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • bookmonsterbookmonster Posts: 399
    Has anyone made a weedkiller from citric acid, and is this safe (if you keep it away from the skin)

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532
    I think most of us make reluctant and sparing use of glyphosate.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,070
    One of these for weeds in paving - https://www.wolfgarten-tools.co.uk/multi-change-tools-inner/multi-change-garden-scraper  

    One of these for weeds in beds or gravel paths - https://www.wolfgarten-tools.co.uk/multi-change-tools-inner/multi-change-push-pull-weeder-15cm comes in 10cm wide too.

    One of these for dandelions and other weeds with a tap root - https://www.wolfgarten-tools.co.uk/fixed-hand-tools/weeding-planting-knife  Also good for making holes for planting bulbs.

    As you can see, I like the Wolf tool system as you can buy different length handles suited to different jobs - hand weeding on knees or standing up.

    For weeds growing thru plants, either regular pulling off of foliage so their leaves can't feed the roots or, more drastic, water well then dig up the whole plant and hand pick weed roots and shoots out of the root ball and soil then replant and water well - best done in autumn or early spring so plants recover without too much stress.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,474
    Citric or any other acid isn't going to be particularly friendly to any of the important wildlife (mini beasts and invertebrates) in our garden soil  :(
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,905
    edited June 2018
    Has anyone made a weedkiller from citric acid, and is this safe (if you keep it away from the skin)

    There are plenty of websites advocating lemon juice as a natural weedkiller. There are also lots that suggest using vinegar but before you try either, also look for the counter arguments, especially about vinegar, and the harm it can do to your soil organisms and larger creatures in your garden (including you).
    Boiling water will knock the weeds back - take off the top growth - but I doubt it will kill the roots of some of the more stubborn species - likewise a flamethrower.

    If you want a safer, more environmentally friendly patio, don't fill in the cracks, allow rain water to continue to soak through (semi-permeable paving) and 'garden' your patio as you do a flower bed. Tidy is not environmentally friendly  :)
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • bookmonsterbookmonster Posts: 399
    @raisingirl it's not nice for all sorts of other reasons having a drive where it is a struggle to wade through the weeds, and the weeds get the local cats pooing on them... It is like the fourth bridge in terms of manual removal. I wish we had the pennies to get it all replaced. 
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,070
    Invest in a lightweight strimmer and just behead them at ground level.   Spray any new growth with a glyphosate weedkiller being careful to keep it off treasures and away from water courses.

    The RSPB recommends a device for repelling cats - https://shopping.rspb.org.uk/gardening-tools/catwatch-cat-deterrent.html 

    See MillieMollyMandy's post of 18 June on this page for how to position it - https://forum.gardenersworld.com/discussion/1014756/no-more-cats/p3

    You'll have to strim and spray each year but cheaper than a new drive.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,905
    That's up to you but there is no organic/wildlife friendly option that will kill weeds and prevent them from coming back without any collateral risk/harm to other plants and organisms
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 32,428
    It constantly amazes me that some,( SOME, not all ) folk think that if it's "natural" or "organic" it is, by definition, safe and harmless to nature.
    Devon.
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