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Alternatives to Weed & Feed

By Sommer Leigh ; Updated September 21, 2017
Use natural methods to kill weeds and fertilize your lawn
common weed? image by MSImage from Fotolia.com

Grow a healthy lawn without the use of toxic weed killers and fertilizers. Weed and feed products are harmful to the environment, to your family's health and to the beneficial organisms--earthworms, bacteria and fungi--found in your yard's soil. Use these natural methods to keep your lawn weed-free and healthy.

Pull Weeds

The oldest method and the greenest method is pulling weeds by hand. Pull only the largest, most invasive weeds. Leaving some weeds in the ground is not harmful to your lawn and often does not affect the appearance of your lawn either.

Slow-Release Fertilizers

Slow release fertilizers are applied once a year. Fertilizers are coated to allow a slow release of the fertilization chemical; constant fertilizer is unnecessary as fertilizers continue to release throughout the year. These fertilizers are broken down by soil microbes so chemicals remain in the soil as opposed to running off into ground water or streams.

Discourage Weeds

Mow your lawn less and mow it higher, keeping the lawn at about 2 inches in height. Water your lawn less often, but when watering it, water it deeply to encourage root development; water weekly adding about 1 inch of water to the lawn each week. Seed bare or thinner areas of your lawn with grass seed to prevent weeds from having a place to grow.

Natural Herbicides

Natural weed killers include such things as vinegar, boiling water and salt. All of these, when applied directly to weeds can be effective. Another effective herbicide is corn gluten meal, a by-product formed when corn is processed to make corn syrup or starch. When applied to sprouting weeds, corn gluten meal prevents the seeds from developing roots.


About the Author


Sommer Leigh has produced home, garden, family and health content since 1997 for such nationally known publications as "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "Midwest Living," "Healthy Kids" and "American Baby." Leigh also owns a Web-consulting business and writes for several Internet publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in information technology and Web management from the University of Phoenix.