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Earth-friendly Ways to Combat Weeds

These new gardening products look promising
by Jerry Filipski
by Jerry Filipski


Gerald (Jerry) Filipski is the gardening columnist for the Edmonton Journal, a position he has enjoyed as a freelance writer for the past 12 years. Jerry also writes for Canadian Gardening, the new Alberta Gardener as well as for the lifestyle magazine of P&O ferries. Jerry also does numerous public speaking engagements including some major gardening conferences and workshops as well as question and answer sessions for Wal-Mart and Rona.

August 24, 2008

I'm always on the lookout for new gardening products that sound promising.

Thanks to Deb Sirman and my friends at Greenland Garden Centre for giving me the heads-up on two new products they are carrying that sound like winners. I have not yet tried either product, but thought I'd let my readers know so they can try them for themselves. The first product is Elimaweed from Greenstar Products.

This product's active ingredient is a natural food-grade vinegar substitute (acetic acid) that is a non-selective weed killer.

According to the manufacturer, this product is biodegradable and will not leave any harmful residue in the soil. Elimaweed is supposed to work over a period of a few hours and is safe to animals once dry.

The recommended uses are for weeds growing in patios, pavers, sidewalks, gravel, mulch or for spot control. This herbicide is non-selective so avoid getting it on desirable plants and do not spray on windy days. The manufacturer claims that you can replant or reseed within 24 to 48 hours after application.

Another new introduction to Canada is an organic alternative to weed-and-feed fertilizers for lawns.

Corn gluten has been proven to reduce germination of broadleaf weeds by as much as 90 per cent. Corn gluten also slowly releases nutrients working as a fertilizer.

There is a note that came with the announcement of this product from Greenland: "In the U.S. this product is registered as a weed preventive, but in Canada it has not yet received this designation.

Therefore our signage cannot claim the weed prevention merits, although we can verbally suggest to use it for both nutrients and weed control." There is an excellent link to the City of Ottawa web page that describes the benefits of corn gluten and how to use it.

The address is

Greenland also suggested this would be a good time to remind those gardeners with apple trees to protect those trees against apple maggots. Apple maggots tunnel into the fruit, rendering it useless.

The maggots come from flies that lay eggs on the apple. The maggot traps contain an attractant that lures the fly to a sticky trap that looks like an apple. They lay their eggs on this trap instead of on your fruit.

Not only is this an environmentally friendly way to control the problem, it is one of the only ways to avoid the apple maggot damage. Look for apple maggot lures in your local garden centre.

Safer's New Slug and Snail Bait is also worth mentioning. This product contains ferric phosphate, which is a compound found in soils, according to the manufacturer. The product contains no metaldehyde and claims to be safe and will not harm pets, birds or wildlife. The label says that "after ingesting the bait (even in small amounts) slugs and snails cease feeding, which provides immediate protection to plants.

Affected slugs and snails die within three to six days. Dead slugs and snails may not be visible as they often crawl away to secluded places to die."

This product contains an attractant that supposedly draws the slugs to it. The bonus is that the bait remains active for a week even in heavy rains. The claim is that studies have shown the product kills 85 to 100 per cent of the slugs. Another product I have touched on in the past but bears repeating is a fertilizer called Organic Advantage from Groundskeepers Pride.

This is a lawn and garden fertilizer that is not only organic but is slow release. It lasts four to six weeks depending on the conditions. I like the fact that it can be used for all gardening fertilizer applications.

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