OK . . . last month I talked about . . . preventing / fixing urine scald in your lawn . . . after we do our business . . . sorry . . . but we are dogs! Some of you requested that I address dog-safe lawn care . . . fertilizers and weed killers. This is a big subject and there is no easy answer, but for our sake please consider a more natural and less toxic plan for your lawn. How to Weed and Feed Your Lawn & Not Hurt Your Pets. Keeping your lawn weed-free and healthy improves the appearance of your home’s exterior and creates a beautiful, lush landscape. Homeowners can choose to use commercial weed killers and lawn feeders, though these can contain harsh, toxic chemicals that … Is Weed And Feed Toxic To Dogs And Cats? Re-post – Spring is here and we are thinking about all of the outside work that needs done. Mr. TAL and I have a long list and are looking forward to
You can either have a lush green lawn or a dog but you cannot have both . . . or can you? Part 2: To weed kill or not to weed kill?
OK . . . last month I talked about . . . preventing / fixing urine scald in your lawn . . . after we do our business . . . sorry . . . but we are dogs!
Some of you requested that I address dog-safe lawn care . . . fertilizers and weed killers. This is a big subject and there is no easy answer, but for our sake please consider a more natural and less toxic plan for your lawn.
Lawn & garden care is comprised of fertilizers, weed control, and proper watering. There are many fertilizers out there . . . many contain toxic, synthetic, chemical ingredients. These are not safe for you or your pets. They are very effective . . . but at what price?
Our world is so full of chemicals and toxins and we wonder why the cancer rate is so out of control . . . not only in humans but in us dogs. While we cannot completely avoid the chemical toxins, we can certainly care for our lawns and gardens in a way that is responsible and healthier for us both.
The safest way to care for your lawns and gardens is with natural or organic fertilizers such as compost, manure, lime and gypsum.
. . . super cool . . . so if I poop all over the yard it will help. OK . . . kidding.
Mom uses gypsum, lime, and/or bone meal . . . depending upon what the lawn needs. These are all great fertilizers and are completely safe for us furry kids. With proper watering, our lawn is amazing . . . beautiful green color and thick.
Calcium is the most important mineral for healthy grass.
Lime is calcium oxide, made from pulverized limestone, and raises the pH of the soil, which lowers the acidity. The best way to determine whether your soil needs lime is to test its pH. The target pH level of turf grass is between 6.2 and 6.5, so if your soil has a lower pH, an application of lime will help. This is often an issue in the Eastern part of the US.
Gypsum is a mineral consisting of hydrated calcium sulfate. If the soil pH is high (a common problem in the Midwest) gypsum helps reduce the pH. It helps correct compacted soil, helps soil retain water, and replaces excessive sodium with calcium and sulfer to boost plant growth. To determine if your soil can benefit from gypsum, test saline amounts or simply observe if you are working with soil that is heavy with clay or hard to break up. Another benefit is that gypsum does not change the “organic” status of a garden or lawn.
If you still want the convenience of a commercial prepared fertilizer, mom found two that seem to be the safer bets:
Pet Safe Lawn Fertilizer
It is “Pet Safe” primarily in the fact that it is free of herbicides and pesticides and is a fast absorbing product. Whereas most fertilizers require you to wait 24-48 hours before allowing your pets on the lawn, this product absorbs quickly as soon as it is “safe” as soon as it is watered in.
It is not organic and it does not kill weeds, but the thicker and healthier your grass is, the less weeds you will have.
Now that we have discussed fertilizers, let’s talk about those nasty weeds! A lawn full of weeds signals a bigger problem . . . with the soil.
- Lack of soil nutrients
- Soil Compaction
- Thick thatch layer
- Inadequate water, or too much moisture
- Too much shade for the turf grass to develop
These are the problems that allow the weeds to take over . . . crab grass, dandelions, etc. Unfortunately unless you can manually extract the weeds from their roots, controlling the weeds requires a Herbicide (noun)
Herbicide(s), also commonly known as weed killers, are chemical substances used to control unwanted plants. Selective herbicides control specific weed species, while leaving the desired crop relatively unharmed.
We have a very large lawn and there are areas of it that the weeds are taking over . . . so mom uses a weed and feed product once per year . . . in the Spring. After application she bans us dogs from the lawn for a full week and makes certain the lawn is heavily watered . . . either with rain or irrigation. That way she knows that the chemical ingredients are well worked into the soil and not available to be absorbed or consumed by us dogs. She transports us to and from Top Dog in the Tahoe to keep us off the grass and keep us safe.
For her garden pathways, sidewalks, etc. she refuses to use Roundup as it is extremely toxic and just dangerous. She makes a natural weed kill with vinegar, salt and a bit of Dawn dish soap. This really works well . . . but she says to be careful where you spray it because it is non-selective, like any weed kill, and will kill all plants . . . including your beautiful flowers.
For a pre-emergent, preventing grass and weeds from growing, she uses cornmeal. Researchers at Iowa State University discovered by accident that cornmeal acts as an herbicide while they were doing disease research. Cornmeal contains a chemical that acts as a pre-emergent on plant seeds. It will prevent seeds from germinating but will not harm the existing plants.
Read more at Gardening Know How:
So . . . you can have a beautiful lawn and keep us dogs safe
How to Weed and Feed Your Lawn & Not Hurt Your Pets
Keeping your lawn weed-free and healthy improves the appearance of your home’s exterior and creates a beautiful, lush landscape. Homeowners can choose to use commercial weed killers and lawn feeders, though these can contain harsh, toxic chemicals that potentially pollute your environment and harm your pet. There are safer, organic weed-and-feed alternatives less likely to cause harm to your pet when used properly.
Corn Gluten Meal
Pour corn gluten meal in a clean fertilizer spreader. Corn gluten works as a pre-emergent weed control method so it must be applied during the spring before weeds have a chance to germinate, says Beyond Pesticides. Corn gluten is safe to use around pets and children.
Use a ratio of 20 pounds of corn gluten meal for every 1,000 square feet. Set the fertilizer spreader to an opening at about 85 to 95 percent.
Start at one end of the yard and push the spreader forward across the yard toward the opposite side in a slow, steady and straight line. Continue in this manner – similar to mowing the grass – until you have covered the entire lawn.
Aeration and Compost
Insert a core aerator 3 to 4 inches into the soil every 4 inches. Core aerators pull soil plugs out of the ground, which allows nutrients to reach the roots better and improves soil drainage.
Cover the entire lawn with 1/4- to 1/2-inch layer of organic compost. The compost helps the soil hold moisture and add nutrients as well as creating a healthy, thick lawn that deters weeds.
Mist the compost lightly with a water hose until it is damp but not soggy. Repeat the aeration and compost process at least once a year.
Grass Clippings and Organic Herbicide
Leave the grass clippings on the turf after mowing. The grass clippings decompose, adding extra nutrients and fertilizer to the soil.
Fill a spray bottle with all natural, organic herbicide such as full-strength pickling vinegar or organic commercial herbicides containing clove oil or citric acid, advises Learn2Grow.
Spot treat the emerged weeds by liberally spraying them with the organic herbicide on a warm day when the sun is at its brightest. Reapply the treatment everyday in the same manner until the weeds wilt and day.
Is Weed And Feed Toxic To Dogs And Cats?
Re-post – Spring is here and we are thinking about all of the outside work that needs done. Mr. TAL and I have a long list and are looking forward to cooking out on the grill, sitting on our patio with the dogs, and looking out over our well maintained property. This post has been my top read and shared post for the last two years and I hope you find it helpful. Rest assured that Jake and Maggie are safe and can run and play in the yard without getting sick!
Happy Wednesday everyone! Hope you are all having a great week so far! Today I’d like to talk about weed and feed for lawns. Yes, I know…might be boring but so important. Have you ever stood back and compared your lawn to your neighbors? I admit that I have. Our association requires us to professionally treat our front lawns and up both sides of our house to the back half way. We own almost an acre and the treatment stops at the end of our patio. Then the weeds start and it looks so terrible. It’s like dandelion city back there while our neighbors just built a house and put in a fresh beautiful lawn.
So, I went to Walmart and grabbed a bag of weed and feed by Scott’s. The first question Thomas asked me is if it was toxic to dogs and I literally felt anxious because I thought about every other time I had used weed killer when I had my other three dogs and might have harmed them using a product the wrong way. The good news is that I bought Scotts Turf Builder Weed and Feed 3 which is non-toxic to pets if directions on the bag are followed. Just to be safe…We made a plan to only treat parts of the lawn at a time so that Jake and Maggie were not walking on something that could make them very ill. Now the yard looks amazing but I’m putting out this post (although late in the summer) for anyone who wants to know more about the dangers of treating your lawn when you have pets and for reference next summer!
Jake and Maggie enjoyed the weekend by swimming in Aunt Carla’s pool :-).
What an awesome feeling to see my two babies enjoying themselves splashing in the pool. These two are like fishes! Thanks Aunt Carla and Uncle John for having all of us over for swims and pizza :-).
The term “weed and feed” refers to lawn care products that contain a combination of fertilizer and herbicides. Most of the products available in stores contain chemicals and can hurt your pet if they get the toxins on their fur or paws and then lick themselves.
NPIC (National Pesticide Information Center) fact sheets are designed to answer questions that are commonly asked by the general public about pesticides that are regulated by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). This document is intended to be educational in nature and helpful to consumers for making decisions about pesticide use. Call the National Pesticide Information Center at 1-800-858-7378 for more information.