The Best Pet-Friendly Weed Killers
Safe alternatives to harsh chemicals
Keep Pets & Kids Safe With These Weed Killers
By the team at DIY Gardening
The team here at DIY Gardening welcomes you to another entry in our Essential Products guide.
Most commercial weed killers contain a plethora of nasty chemicals easily capable of harming pets, wildlife and children.
In fact, one of the most popular weed killers in the UK can cause pets to “drool, vomit, have diarrhoea, lose their appetite, or seem sleepy”. (Source)
Nevertheless, weeds are an ongoing problem for many gardeners, and chemical treatments are more popular than ever.
Whether you wish to get rid of weeds in lawns, flowerbeds, patios or driveways, explore our recommended pet-friendly weed killers:
1) Electric Pet-Friendly Weed Burners:
Electric weed burners are powered from the mains and provide a powerful blast of heat to kill off the weeds.
There is much confusion about how these devices work. Contrary to what many consumers think, they aren’t designed to burn the weeds to a crisp or vaporise them but instead to kill them with a short blast of scorching air. The dead weeds then naturally breakdown and decompose.
All it takes is a 5-second blast, and the weeds will die, then within a week, most should be well on their way to decomposing.
You can use these pet-friendly weed killers on patios, driveways, paths, gravel, most other hard surfaces and also flowerbeds.
Unfortunately, you can’t use electric weed killers on lawns as it will also kill the grass a few inches either side of the weeds.
Our favourite pet-friendly electric weed killer is the Hozelock Weed Burner, but we recommend you explore our guide to the best electric weed killers, you’ll find cheaper products and a nifty guide worth reading.
2) Roundup Natural:
Roundup Natural is produced by Bayer and is a safer alternative to the other chemical-laden products they have in their range.
The key ingredient is Pelargonic acid which breaks down naturally and harmlessly in the soil.
Use this systemic pet-friendly weed killer to kill grass, clear weed-infested areas of the garden, remove weeds from gravel paths and gravel driveways, along fences etc.
There is one downside to this product though; Roundup Natural should not be used on hard surfaces such as patios or tarmac due to potential runoff. The Pelargonic acid needs to come into contact with the soil so it can degrade naturally.
3) Neudorff WeedFree Plus:
Both chemicals are very safe and breakdown easily and quickly in the soil; Maleic Hydrazide has been used on potatoes and other foodstuffs for decades.
As with Roundup Natural, use this product on soil, grass (to kill the grass), on gravel and along fences. Neudorff WeedFree will kill almost all plants, so keep it away from anything you want to keep.
Avoid using this excessively on hard surfaces where there’s potential for runoff. While it’s effective on all surfaces, the ingredients need to enter the soil so they can degrade.
4) The Best Pet-Friendly Lawn Weed Killer:
SafeLawn does exactly as it says on the tin; use it to feed and rejuvenate your lawn, fill gaps and patchy areas as well as kill off moss and suppress weeds.
SafeLawn is the perfect pet-friendly lawn product because:
- The fertiliser is 100% natural and pet-safe.
- Added grass seed helps to thicken out the lawn and suppress weeds – perfect for bare, patchy lawns infested with weeds.
- The added bacteria eats away at the moss, helping it to breakdown where it then feeds the grass and seeds.
- There are no pesticides in this pet-friendly lawn weed killer, but the granules should be watered in before allowing pets and children onto the lawn.
As this is a weaker product containing no pesticides, you can apply it more frequently; up to a maximum of every three weeks.
5) 100% Natural Lawn Moss Killer:
MO Bacter is the best natural and organic product for killing lawn moss, it contains no harmful chemicals at all and is 100% safe to use around children, pets and all wildlife.
The ultimate pet-friendly moss killer for lawns, MO Bacter contains a natural bacteria that eats away at the moss until it breaks down into a feed for the lawn.
Just sprinkle MO Bacter onto the grass and as the moss breaks down, overlay any bare patches with new grass seed which will germinate in the decomposing moss
There are so many advantages to using this natural and pet-friendly product:
- No staining of patios or stonework (unlike iron-based moss killers).
- No raking required, just let the moss decompose naturally.
- Pet-friendly as all animals and even children can use the lawn straight away.
- No blackening of the lawn, unlike many other products.
- Endorsed by the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society).
If you have a very mossy lawn, we recommend reading our detailed guide to removing and preventing lawn moss which contains excellent advice on how to stop lawn moss returning.
Other Natural and Pet-Friendly Ways to Kill Weeds:
In addition to the products suggested on this page, you can also try:
- Boiling water which is perfect for weeds on patios, concrete and other hard surfaces. You can’t use it on lawns though, and there’s a risk of damage to plants if used in a dense flowerbed.
- Salty water is a great pet-friendly weed killer for use on hard surfaces and soils. Too much salt is bad for the ground though, so mix one part salt to five parts water and apply directly to the leaves of the weeds without drenching the soil.
- Vinegar is often used by organic gardeners to suppress weeds so give it a try, just spray onto the leaves and use with salt for extra punch.
- Don’t forget that there are also several tools for lifting deep-rooted weeds from lawns and flowerbeds. Used in conjunction, we feel you have a good chance of getting rid of weeds without the need for harsh chemicals.
You don’t always need to use chemicals to remove lawn weeds and this tool is lightweight, easy to use and pulls up deep roots too. Check out the thousands of positive reviews on Amazon:
This is the perfect tool for removing weeds between patio slabs or in other narrow channels. You’ll need to buy the pole separately but the manufacturer is currently offering a guarantee.
Hand Tool Weeder
Got a small garden and looking for a hand tool to remove weeds from narrow channels? There’s no need to buy the pole version, this hand tool is ideal for small patios and block paved areas.
Do pet-friendly weed killers work?
Yes, weed burners are effective but need to be used periodically to keep weeds at bay. The chemical weed killers listed here are safe provided the manufacturer’s instructions are followed. The moss eating bacteria is 100% safe to pets.
Where can pet-friendly weed burners be used?
You can use pet-friendly weed burners on any surface that won’t be damaged by heat. Patios, concrete, driveways and gravel are places you can safely use a weed burner.
Does vinegar kill weeds?
Vinegar isn’t very effective and most grasses and perennials will soon grow back. Food grade vinegar found in most shops is very weak, although horticultural vinegar is stronger and effective on some broad leaves during hot weather.
Does boiling water kill weeds?
Boiling water is very effective at treating weeds and can permanently kill many of them. The seeds are also killed off by the hot water too. Hot water will kill lawn grass and many plants though so careful handling and application are required.
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