Weeds are common everywhere, but in California, they can flourish even in the driest of conditions. Once weeds take hold, it can be extremely hard to get rid of them. They grow quicker than regular grass and other landscaping plants and seeds are easily carried from one place to another by animals and humans. Many seeds are light enough to become airborne and can take root in the most hard to reach places. Homeowners often find themselves face to face with an abundance of weeds. Instead of using harsh chemicals to get rid of the weeds, there are safer alternatives available.
A few of the most common California weeds include:
Jimson Weed – Jimson weed is extremely toxic and can be potentially deadly if ingested
Crabgrass – There are several types of crabgrass, each spreading along the surface of the ground with long, spiky fingers
Purslane – Purslane is a thick ground cover that thrives in extremely dry soils that offer little in the way of nutrients
Chickweed – Chickweed grows very low to the ground and can be found in thick patches
Prickly Lettuce – Prickly lettuce is a broad leaf winter plant that resembles a thistle and has light fluffy seeds that can be easily blown from place to place
Attacking Weeds Early
One of the most efficient ways to control weeds is to find them and pull them while the soil is loose. Removing them before their roots become firmly attached is the best way to prevent them from coming back. Young seedlings can be pulled very easily if the soil is slightly moist and the dirt has been loosened. Always look over the area closely to make sure there are no more seed pods working their way into the soil.
Boil Them Away
Weeds are least tolerant to extreme heat and moisture. Using boiling water directly on the plants is an effective way of killing both adult and young plants. It will not harm the environment and the only risk you pose to yourself is getting the boiling water on your skin. This method can be used to effectively eliminate weeds that often try to grow in cracks and around the edges of your landscaping. Be careful to avoid your grass, flowers and other landscape foliage. They won't like the boiling water either.
Placing a salt solution on the leaves of troublesome weeds will also help to eliminate them. Mixing 1 part salt to 8 parts hot water makes an effective solution that will dry out the leaves and halt the plants growth. Put the solution into a small spray bottle and spray directly on the leaves of the plant. Avoid putting salt on the ground. Too much salt will prevent other plants from growing in the area.
Common white vinegar that is found at your local grocery store can be put into a spray bottle and directly applied to the leaves of any plant you wan to get rid of. Vinegar will work on both adult plants as well as the small seedlings. You can combine salt and vinegar to provide a double threat to pesky weeds that keep coming back.
Mixing borax with boiling water is another effective method of eliminating weeds. Mixing 10 ounces of regular borax with two and a half gallons of extremely hot or boiling water and then spraying it on the leaves will do the trick. Don't soak the ground or coat other plants. Borax is a detergent, so try and not to get any on your skin or near your eyes.
There are many ways to effectively get rid of weeds and plants that you no longer want in your yard. You don't have to resort to toxic chemicals, just look through your kitchen cabinets and pantry shelves.