Written by Rachel Darlington and published on https://dengarden.com/
Many commercially available weed killers contain harmful chemicals that may prove dangerous to pets, people and to the environment in general. While effective, these synthetic weed killers can only be described as poisons. They persist in the soil long after their weed-killing duties are finished, they can run off into lakes and streams and pollute water supplies, and they can contaminate compost heaps, rending the compost useless for mulching plants or amending the soil. Organic weed-killers, on the other hand, are natural substances or non-chemical techniques for killing or removing weeds.
Organic methods offer a much safer alternative to spreading toxins around your garden, yard and outdoor property, as they contain no synthetic, dangerous chemicals, but instead make use of natural substances that kill weeds and other plant life. But like many broad-spectrum synthetic chemical weedkillers, some organic herbicides, both homemade and store-bought, are indiscriminate in the plants they will kill.
How to Kill Dock Weed Organically
Rachel is a passionate plantsperson, YouTuber and author living in Ireland. She grows a wide range of hardy subtropical and tropical plants.
What Is Dock Weed?
Getting rid of dock weed without the use of chemicals can be challenging, but if you do it correctly, you’ll be successful. Dock weed is a common and unwanted sight in the garden. It’s characterized by coarse, tatty-looking leaves. It spreads by seed produced by tiny, brownish-green flowers, which appear in abundance in summer. It’s spread by the wind and the birds who love to eat it.
The plant itself is a perennial, so each year, individual plants get bigger and bigger, producing more seed and deeper roots. Dock weed can pop up in your flower beds or in your lawn, but one thing is for sure, it isn’t wanted in either place.
The Problem With Taproots
The main issue when trying to weed it out is that dock has deep branching taproots. Normal weeding with the trowel will break the taproot, removing just the top few inches of root. The problem with that is the plant will quickly regrow from pieces of root left in the soil.
How to Remove Dock Weed From Your Garden
When weeding, if you come across a dock, don’t be tempted to try and remove it by digging with your trowel. Go and get a garden fork. With its long teeth and spaces between, the fork is the perfect tool for removing a dock. It loosens the earth around the taproot enabling you to slide the whole thing out. A shovel or spade will just snap the root at the lowest level that you managed to dig it in.
- Insert your fork deeply into the soil to one side of the dock.
- Remove the fork, and repeat the task on all sides of the plant.
- Wiggle the fork slightly to loosen the earth.
- Once you have worked all the way around the weed, do it again, this time going a little deeper.
- Insert your fork deeply into the soil on one side and turn.
- Try pulling gently at the top of the dock weed to see if it gives, and it should come straight out. An intact root system will show that you’ve been successful.
Tips for Successfully Removing Dock Weed
- Take your time with this job. If you’re impatient, you’ll end up snapping the taproot, and that dock will just be back again the next time you weed your garden bed.
- Moist soil after rain makes the job easier.
- Don’t compost the roots.
How to Kill Dock Weed in Your Lawn
For dock weed in the lawn, regular close mowing will keep infestations in check. It prevents them from flowering and setting seeds. Any plant that’s constantly cut in this manner will die over time.
So remember, don’t be lazy. Go and get a garden fork or mower, and happy growing!
Original post here https://dengarden.com/gardening/How-to-Kill-Dock-Weed-Organically/.