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Old 07-08-2015, 10:11 AM   #1
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Default Using vinegar to kill weeds

I just paid someone to weed between the stepping stones and the graveled driveway but of course it just took a few rains and the weeds are reappearing.

I just about convinced myself to spray vinegar on the newly emerged weeds when I looked out of the window to find a number of birds happily eating the bugs between the pavers.
I imagine newly turned soil made it easier to find the insects.
So now I am very reluctant to spray the vinegar since I don't know what effect the vinegar will have on the birds if they eat the "pickled bugs"?

I guess I can try boiling water just between the stepping stones. It will kill the insects it comes in contact with but not be toxic for the birds.

Any suggestions or information would be appreciated.
The weeds between the stepping stones were dense and clumping so walking was a little hazardous especially after dark.
The weeds in the driveway were tall and mostly invasive non natives so they have to go.
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:21 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will-o-wisp View Post
I just paid someone to weed between the stepping stones and the graveled driveway but of course it just took a few rains and the weeds are reappearing.

I just about convinced myself to spray vinegar on the newly emerged weeds when I looked out of the window to find a number of birds happily eating the bugs between the pavers.
I imagine newly turned soil made it easier to find the insects.
So now I am very reluctant to spray the vinegar since I don't know what effect the vinegar will have on the birds if they eat the "pickled bugs"?

I guess I can try boiling water just between the stepping stones. It will kill the insects it comes in contact with but not be toxic for the birds.

Any suggestions or information would be appreciated.
The weeds between the stepping stones were dense and clumping so walking was a little hazardous especially after dark.
The weeds in the driveway were tall and mostly invasive non natives so they have to go.
Hmm, I am surprised that acidifying the soil with vinegar would poison a bird eating seed from the target plant. Wouldn't the seed only be slightly coated with a lower ph? WOuld that be enough to injure a bird? Interesting question...
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Old 07-09-2015, 12:41 PM   #3
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Gardens Alive has commentary on weed killing, including the use of vinegar. Although the specific question of bugs doesn't come up, they seem to be comfortable with using it. Because they're a respected resource on organic pest control, perhaps you could direct your question to them.

You Bet Your Garden - Killing Weeds with Vinegar
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Old 07-09-2015, 12:43 PM   #4
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Lawn Treatments That Are Safe for Birds | Today's Homeowner

This site lists Vinegar as a safer solution, but has this caveat:
Remember the Ecosystem: Even nontoxic products, such as vinegar to kill weeds, can harm worms and insects in the soil, which then affects the birds that eat them. Whenever you approach a problem in your yard, consider the entire system, from insects to water runoff to native habitats. As much as possible, make sure your solutions touch only the problem, and not the world around it.
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Old 07-09-2015, 02:37 PM   #5
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biigblueyes, The last link you sent, "Lawn Treatments That Are Safe for Birds"
was the one that had me rethinking using vinegar originally.
After all we are trying to support the insect population too, even without considering them as bird food.

I think I will carefully target weed top growth with the vinegar and protect the soil with a block of some sort like a piece of plastic.
It states that spraying top growth will not get to the roots but they should be easier to pull and weaken the plant.

Now if I could find a very low growing native ground cover for between the stepping stones for both shade and sun I'd plant them .
All I can think of is the non native thyme that grows only in the sun in my gravel driveway or native pussytoes which has fairly low growing rosettes
until it flowers also growing in the gravel in sun.
The pussytoes I might try again in the center driveway strip but it didn't like it there originally.
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Old 07-09-2015, 06:37 PM   #6
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I'm trying to decide what to do as well. I've only just discovered that the "interesting purple flower" that crept in from my neighbor's yard is creeping bell flower. Ugh!!! One more thorn in my side in addition to the ever-present creeping charlie and bindweed. I didn't pay much attention last year - after all, it was only a couple of plants in an area I hadn't planted yet. Little did I know how quickly it would spread! I'm finding it everywhere

I try REALLY hard not to use any chemical weed killers but.....this year things are just getting away from me. I can't use Round Up, I just can't.

I've pulled all the flowering stalks that I can find so that, at least, it can't produce more seeds. Small help that will be since it spreads by rhizomes as well.

I may be just a wee bit frustrated today.....it'll pass
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Old 07-09-2015, 08:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will-o-wisp View Post
Now if I could find a very low growing native ground cover for between the stepping stones for both shade and sun I'd plant them .
All I can think of is the non native thyme that grows only in the sun in my gravel driveway or native pussytoes which has fairly low growing rosettes
until it flowers also growing in the gravel in sun.
The pussytoes I might try again in the center driveway strip but it didn't like it there originally.

I doubt it will be easy to establish, but I always thought that it would be cool to have bluets grow between stepping stones.

Pussytoes might look good and blend into the rocks (depending on the rock color).
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Old 07-10-2015, 01:53 AM   #8
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Dapjwy, I did try bluets, one of my favorite small plants , I had a nice patch growing beside the slate stepping stones and was trying to encourage them to grow between the cracks when I lost them all.
They like to grow on moss and were fine until I tried to move them.
The sedum ternatum spread over the remainder.

Although I have a nice large area of the s.ternatum in the flower bed adjacent to stepping stones they also don't seem to grow well between the cracks but I will try again with those as well as the pusssytoes since I was successful last fall and this spring in moving some and having the 2 original plantings increase in size.
The problem is none of there plants are aggressive enough to out compete the weeds that pop up and the last thing I want is yet another area to weed carefully.

katjh. I'm with you on being frustrated, it seems all that weeding we do just brings more weeds to the surface.
I did read it was better to repeatedly cut the weeds down rather then pull, depending on the weed of course, some like tree of heaven just loves it when you cut them down, they just put out 3 new plants to replace the one.
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Old 07-10-2015, 06:15 AM   #9
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Yes, every time you pull or move soil around it brings new seeds to the surface to germinate.
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Old 07-11-2015, 08:27 AM   #10
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Perhaps I shall invest in one of those noisy string-trimmer thingies and just hack away at my weeds weekly until they give up. I hate those noisy string-trimmer thingies but I think I hate my weeds more.
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