How to grow plants without the use of toxic chemicals
Weeds are just plants that are growing in the wrong place. They could be dandelions, grass, vines, shrubs, and even trees. Below you will find a garden guide to weeds in general, and then separate fact sheets for Dandelions, and for Quackgrass.
Removing Invasive Weeds Without Toxic Chemicals
Winter is the best time to remove invasive weeds from your property - while the ground is soft.
How can you get rid of Himalayan blackberries and English ivy without using toxic chemicals that can get into our salmon streams and Puget Sound? This video covers tools and techniques to make these jobs easier, when restoring a landscape taken over by invasive weeds. Along the way, it covers weed and native plant identification, the importance of replacing the weeds with other (ideally native) plants, and why English Ivy is one of the worst invasive plants in Western Washington. This project is funded by the King County Wastewater Treatment Division, in partnership with the Vashon Nature Center
If you are dealing with larger areas, up to a quarter acre, this document from the California Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC), is full of great info and tips. Tools, timing, the importance of seed removal. All the info you never get from the chemical companies!
- Removing Whole Plants (5 techniques)
- Controlling Plants by Cutting (6 techniques)
- Controlling Plants in Place (3 techniques)
- Covering Plants with Sheet Barriers (3 techniques)
- Controlling Plants at a Plant Community Scale (4 techniques)
- Biological Control (general introduction and descriptions of agents for 18 weed species/species groups)
Citation: Cal-IPC 2020. Best Management Practices for Non-Chemical Weed Control. Report to California Department of Pesticide Regulation under grant number 18-PML-G002. 291 pp.
Sheet Mulching - Weed Control with No Chemicals
Sheet mulching is a way to keep your shrub and perennial borders almost weed-free, and is a low work, inexpensive way to convert a lawn area into vegetable or flower gardens. Here is a guide to how to do it. This guide was prepared for residents of Vashon Island, Washington, but much of the information will be useful no matter where you live. Click here to see and download the pdf file.
We also have created 3 short videos of the sheet mulching process:
Part 1 covers the preparation of the sheet mulching area and placing cardboard.
Part 2 covers tips on working with large piles of wood chips and loading wheelbarrows efficiently. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX-FunfK5uY
Part 3 covers tips on spreading the wood chips, and when you would use compost instead of wood chips. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9KjrhraHlY
Funding for the Sheet Mulching videos was provided by the Vashon-Maury Island Groundwater Protection Committee, with a generous donation of his time and talents for the videotaping by West McLean, founder of the Vashon Remembrance Project.
Alternatives to RoundUp and Other Glyphosate Products
There are a number of ways to remove weeds other than RoundUp. Here are some. For a pdf version of this file, click here.
Click here to download a high resolution pdf version of the following 6 Pest Solution Fact Sheets: Dandelions and other Broadleaf Weeds, Moss, Powdery Mildew and Other Fungal Diseases, Quackgrass, and Slugs and Snails :
Himalayan Blackberry: click here to download a pdf of the Himalayan Blackberry Fact Sheet, shown below