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11 ways to control weeds without chemicals

By: Networx Systems on Aug. 13, 2010, 11:07 a.m.
praying mantis

Photo: Czesznak Zsolt/Shutterstock

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Use biological controls

Some garden stores sell beneficial insects that can kill weeds or other insects, but they have very limited use in home gardens. Likewise, geese can kill weeds, but many experts don’t recommend setting geese loose on the lawn. Lanini said geese are natural grass and weed eaters, but they require constant babysitting. He suggests homeowners with small orchards might employ a single goose, but other homeowners shouldn’t use them.

Hartzler said beneficial insects typically won’t stay in the yard, and may be killed or driven away by mowing and other measures. They may take several years to generate benefits.

“Biological control of weeds doesn’t work that great for garden and residential weeds because of all of the disturbance, and biocontrol usually is a long-term process,” he said. “There are opportunities in rangelands and other areas with little disturbance.”