Unwanted weeds and grass growing in areas they shouldn't can ruin the manicured appearance of your yard. If your dog regards your lawn as both a play area and a salad bar, spraying traditional weed killer can put its health at risk. You can create your own homemade weed and grass killers to keep your yard looking top-notch without endangering your pet.
Weed Killer Problems
Chemical weed killers available for purchase in gardening stores and nurseries contain chemicals called herbicides. These chemicals are deadly to plants like weeds and grass. Unfortunately, they can also cause health problems in humans and animals. If your dog walks across your yard after you spray weed killer, it could absorb the chemicals through the pads on the bottom of its paws. If your dog eats the grass, it could ingest the chemicals. Weed killers can cause health problems like vomiting, diarrhoea and in severe cases, seizures.
Instead of spraying liquid herbicides on weeds and grass, try using boiling water. Pour boiling water from your tea kettle directly onto unwanted weeds or grass. The hot water damages the plants and kills them. Because of its high acetic acid content, vinegar also damages plant tissue. Pour undiluted vinegar onto a weed to kill it. Both boiling water and vinegar work best for small patches of unwanted plants, like grass growing between sidewalk pavers or weeds sprouting up through cracks in an asphalt driveway. They are impractical for killing large areas of weeds.
To kill large patches of weeds or grass, use a heavy piece of plastic, like that used to line decorative ponds. Spread the plastic over the plants you want to kill and leave it in place. It prevents them from receiving any water from rain or sprinklers and interferes with the plants' ability to photosynthesise nutrients. Plants under the plastic usually die in three weeks in the winter. In the summer, they die in less than two weeks. You can speed the process by spraying the plants with boiling water or vinegar to damage them before covering them with plastic.
Boiling water and vinegar kill the visible portion of weeds. They do not penetrate soil deeply enough to kill a weed's roots. If you kill a weed with vinegar, it will come back over time. To make sure you get rid of it completely, wait until the visible parts of the plant die, then dig up the roots with a shovel and dispose of the whole plant. Wait a week before trying to plant anything new in soil that has been treated with vinegar. This gives the acetic acid time to wash into the soil and dilute so it will not interfere with new plantings.