When you think about it, weeds are just plants growing some where we you don’t want them to be. To some folks a bunch of dandelions is a weed infestation, while to others it’s a beautiful bunch of yellow wild flowers. However, no matter how you actually define as a weed, it’s pretty safe to say, if you have weeds you likely want to get rid of them.
For the past few years, most of us have used chemical or gas or electric powered weed eaters to control weed in our gardens. Chemicals obviously work, but many people are concerned about their effects on the environments. Gas and electric weed eaters work quickly and do a great job of trimming lawns and getting rid of weeds, but unfortunately, they aren’t the most environmentally friendly machines. Gas engines produce air and noise pollution (even the most efficient new engines) while the electric units can be a real ‘pain’ to use while you're dragging around a long extension cord. So, if you’d like to consider some forms of ‘green’ weed eater, here’s some alternatives you might consider.
Battery powered weed eaters
- Even though they still need electric power to get recharged, newer battery technologies are making battery-powered tools stronger and better suited for everyday use. Lithium ion batteries now charge significantly faster than older Ni Cad or Ni MH batteries, will hold a charge for weeks or months when not being used and don’t develop the characteristic ‘imprinting or developing a shorter charge holding time as they age.
- Even when a lithium ion battery won’t hold a charge (after 300 to 400 recharges), they have the4 advantage of not being toxic (like other battery technologies), since, according to the U.S. government, lithium ion batteries aren't an environmental hazard.
- Battery powered weed eaters are also relatively light in weight, easy to handle, can work anywhere and don’t generated any noise pollution when working. Plus they free you from having an extension cord dragging behind you, making them especially attractive for working around a pool or pond.
Don’t like the idea of any kind of batteries? How about these 'green' alternatives for controlling your weeds? They don’t generate any noise, air or chemical pollution at all.
- When you’re getting your garden ready in the spring, use a pitchfork to turn the soil over and get rid of any long rooted weeds growing in the bed.
- Use a stirrup hoe or cultivator to work around your garden plants when they are growing. In well tilled soil, regular use (about once a week) of either of these tools will make sure weeds can’t take hold in your garden.
- Boiling water or vinegar poured on weeds growing in cracks in walkways or between stepping-stones will get rid of them in totally natural way.
- Apply lots of mulch around your plants. A thick layer of mulch prevents weed seeds from reaching the soil so they can never put roots down.
- Pick weeds by hand. If you conscientiously pick the weeds before they flower and drop their seeds, you can have a virtually weed free garden. Once weeds do get established it’s important to get out the roots as well as the flower head when hand picking.
Alternatives to air, noise and chemical polluting weed control are readily available and finding a green weed eater that works for you is a realistic alternative. It may require some more effort on your part, but isn’t a little exercise one of the reasons you’re out in your garden?
Murray Anderson is an experienced freelance writer with over 500 articles published on the web as well as in print magazines and newspapers in both the United States and Canada. He writes on a wide range of topics and is a regular contributor to DoItYourself.com. He can be contacted at email@example.com.