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Do you have a patch of lawn in your garden? It can be a cumbersome task to keep a grassy area green and healthy, not to mention weed-free. To keep it this way often means applications of “weed and feed” fertilizers that feed the grass while killing the weeds. These are marginally effective, but the chemicals contained within aren’t what I want to use in my back garden – not with my kids and animals using the grassy area. So, I have made peace with the weeds in my lawn with surprising results.

My backyard is relatively large and divided into three sections with the largest area taken up with a bermudagrass lawn area where my kids enjoy playing. My desert tortoise, Aesop, can often be found munching on the grass throughout the summer months and I like the cooling effect and beauty that it adds. I do have plans to replace my lawn in a year or two, but for now, it fills our needs. 

This lawn is 19 years old, and as a result, there are weeds growing within it. Wind spreads weed seed, and if you have a grassy area, it is just a matter of time before you see weeds coming up.

Now, when I say that I have weeds growing in my grass, I’m not talking about just a few here and there…

In fact, you have to look very closely to spot any bermudagrass in this area, which is filled with bright green clover and some nutsedge growing above it. I must admit to being extremely frustrated at the sheer amount of weeds growing in my lawn, but something happened last year, which enabled me to make peace with these unwanted weeds.

We hosted a small wedding in our backyard last summer, and a lot of preparation went into having the garden looking its best. While I initially lamented the fact that weeds were growing in the lawn, I was surprised to see how pretty and green it looked. A few weeks after the wedding, as I looked at the wedding photos, I was struck by how healthy and beautiful the lawn looked. 

I realize your focus may be on how pretty the bride is, but look at how good my grass looks 😉

 

My granddaughter and grandson – I couldn’t resist sharing this photo of them!

After the wedding was over and I had some time to reflect, I realized that my lawn looked great as it had the most important qualities that I wanted – lush green color, no bare spots, and healthy.

And so, I am now free to enjoy my lawn, and I am no longer upset over the weeds present. The key to keep it looking great and not bring attention to any weeds is to keep it regularly mowed. My teenage son mows ours weekly, and we fertilize it in spring and again in fall. At this point, I don’t know how much longer we will keep our lawn as I have a couple of ideas for this area instead, but in the meantime, I will enjoy the lush green of my backyard grass – weeds and all.

How about you? Have you interested in making peace with the weeds in your lawn?

 

Do you have a neat and tidy front landscape?  One where plants are pruned neatly and at the right time of year.  Where drip lines are covered up and where there is never a weed in sight?


Or maybe you would describe your front garden space as somewhat natural and untamed.  Where plants are late in getting pruned (if at all), drip tubing is exposed and where weeds can be found lurking in hidden corners?



Today, I’d like to share with you a story of two landscapes – the ‘neat and tidy’ neighbors have a perfectly lovely landscape filled with a combination of flowering plants and succulents.  There is always something blooming in their garden in all seasons.


They even planted the outside of their side wall with pinky muhly grasses even though they don’t see this area of their landscape.

Now, let’s look at the second set of neighbors who have a ‘natural and untamed’ garden…


While this landscape is also filled with flowering plants at all seasons, you’ll notice a weed or two next to the purple trailing lantana, exposed drip tubing and a smattering of dead leaves from the nearby tree.

The plants in the ‘natural and untamed’ landscape aren’t always pruned right away and sometimes grow into nearby plants before being pruned.

If you look carefully, you’ll often find a weed (sometimes two or five) hiding alongside shrubs and underneath groundcovers.

Despite their differences in their landscape maintenance practices, the neighbors are good friends and have lived near each other for over 10 years.   

Now that I have created the setting, I’d like to share with you something that happened this week that made the owner of the ‘natural and untamed’ garden absurdly happy.

As she was driving by her ‘neat and tidy’ neighbor’s house, she noticed something definitely out of place.


At first, she could hardly believe what she was seeing – a weed!  It was something that she had NEVER seen growing in her neighbor’s landscape.
And it wasn’t just a little weed – it was a really big one!

The sight of this unwelcome weed brought a smile to her face as she drove a couple of houses down to her ‘natural and untamed’ landscape filled with more weeds than she would care to admit to hiding among the rambling shrubs and groundcovers.  

This tale of two landscapes and a single weed leads me to ask you this question:

Which type of landscape does yours resemble?

Neat & Tidy or Natural & Untamed

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As you may have guessed (or recognized my landscape), one of the neighbors in this story is me and before I wrote this story, I got my neighbor’s permission to show their single, solitary weed.

While I like the idea of having a neat and tidy garden, I am frankly so busy helping others with their landscapes that I don’t always have time to tend mine as much as I would like.  

Maybe someday, we will have time to cover up the drip tubing, get rid of all our weeds and prune our plants at the right time of year.

But, I wouldn’t hold my breath….

Did you know that you can kill weeds with ingredients that you probably already have in your cupboard?

Wouldn’t it be great to be
able to make your own ‘natural’ weed-killer that is organic and much
cheaper then buying weed-killers?


Well, here is all you need…

Believe it or not, vinegar, dish soap and a spray bottle are all you need to make an effective weed killer.  You have these things already, don’t you?
I had known that vinegar  and soap could kill weeds, but had never tried it before.  So, I set out to prove that it worked in my own garden. 
First, I took photos of a few of my weeds…
 
I must admit that it felt kind of funny taking pictures of ‘weeds’.  My neighbor thought so too 😉
I sprayed each weed with my vinegar and soap mixture and waited 24 hours.
Here are the results:



Pretty impressive, isn’t it?  I couldn’t even find the third weed – it had dried up so quickly.

So for those of you who like to know how vinegar and soap kills weeds, here is the scientific explanation:

The acetic acid in vinegar ‘sucks the water’ out of the weed while the dish soap helps to break down the outer coating of the plant, which helps the vinegar to penetrate.
*You can try using vinegar alone, but I didn’t get good results without using the soap.

So are you excited to try this for yourself?
Okay, here is how to make your own….
1-gallon of vinegar (5% acetic acid)
&
1 oz. dish detergent
1. Put in a plastic spray bottle and apply to plants on a sunny day.


That’s it!

Because this a non-selective weed-killer, it will kill anything it lands on – be careful not to get any on your plants, grass or trees since this mixture can hurt or kill them. 
**For tough weeds, regular white vinegar may not be strong enough.  In that case, you may want to use ‘horticultural vinegar’, which has a higher level of acetic acid (20%).  You can find this type of vinegar online, which is a popular, organic weed killer.

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Wouldn’t it be great to be able to make your own ‘natural’ weed-killer?  It’s organic, cheap and easy to make from ingredients you already have at home.