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Treated Grass Clippings

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Post  deriter 8/27/2019, 3:37 pm

I have a situation that I don't know what to do with.  I am being over ran by creeping charlie and chick weed/grass.  I have not treated the lawn for a couple years, but I need to do something.  I thought I would have the lawn treated and bag the grass when I mow and put the clippings in the garbage and be done.  I figured that I could bag the mowings for 4 or 5 mowings and have most of the treated grass removed. Well the garbage folks say I can not do that.  They won't take it.

There is a landfill site that I could dump the grass in but that gets burned once or twice a year and I would not think burning the treated grass would be very healthful for anyone downwind of it.  I could be wrong, I don't know if the chemicals are completely destroyed with fire or not.

Problems are that I have two indoor dogs that I don't want them walking on the treated grass and I don't think I can compost the chemicals out of the clippings.  I don't feel it would be safe to use in my garden because of carry over.

Neighbors around me all treat their lawns and so I don't want to be a bad neighbor because the weeds from my lawn will infect their lawn as well.

Where do I go to find an honest report on the cautions of effects of the chemicals used to treat grass?  And find out if burning the grass is hazardous?

Appreciate any advise that you would share.
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Post  OhioGardener 8/27/2019, 5:13 pm

I am not a big fan of herbicides because they destroy the soil life where they are applied, but there are probably times when there are no viable alternatives. Can the clippings from mowing not be left on the grass, or use a mower mulching attachment to chop them onto the soil? That helps to fertilize the grass.

The Iowa State University published an article, titled Control of Ground Ivy in the Lawn, which recommends using Borax to control it. Boron is a micronutrient which is important in the gardens, and any grass clippings after applying it could safely be added to compost, etc.

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Post  deriter 8/27/2019, 8:59 pm

Thank you Ohio for your reply.  The thing is with the treating the grass to kill the weeds, my dogs will walk on the treated lawn and then track it into my house.  So we all get to share that stuff.

I would much prefer not to use chemicals like that so maybe the borax would be a safer method.  It does not work as well I am sure, but if it does work at all, I guess I could be more persistent in the borax treatment and maybe beat that stuff in the long run.  I will need to see what the bad effects of borax might be if any.

I also have a batch of that buckhorn.  I tried using the tool that removes dandelions (temporarily).  It was temporary for the buckhorn as well.  They came right back just like the dandelions do.  If you can not get the root they come back.
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Post  OhioGardener 8/27/2019, 9:25 pm

A good way to get rid of dandelions, buckhorn, or cornflowers is use the forked-tongue tool to cut off the root as far down as you can and pull out the plant and root down to where you cut it off.  Then pour some white vinegar down the hole that was left by pulling out the root (you may need a small funnel for this).  The vinegar will kill the root that is left in the ground.  There is a stronger vinegar with citric acid on the market called AllDown that is something like 20% acidic as opposed to white vinegar at 5%. But, I have never used it, so can't vouch for it.

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Post  Scorpio Rising 8/27/2019, 9:58 pm

Yeah, none of the natural remedies work as well as good old chemicals, but some sacrifices must be made!  I live in an area where there are serious lawn junkies...I am not one.  I do one early early spring application, and they are told to avoid my gardens...it does enough.  I still have crab grass, the strange semi-aquatic grass that grows exponentially faster than anything else, and the occasional dandelions and clover.  I like the compromise and the $$ savings...good luck!  
 
Never heard of Borax?  Wink Good to know!
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Post  deriter 8/27/2019, 10:02 pm

Thanks for the tip on the white vinegar.  That sounds like a plan.
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Post  trolleydriver 8/28/2019, 8:14 pm

Be careful using borax on your lawn. Use only the recommended amount for creeping charlie.  Too much borax in one application or from multiple applications will ruin the soil.
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Post  OhioGardener 8/28/2019, 8:21 pm

trolleydriver wrote:Be careful using borax on your lawn. Use only the recommended amount for creeping charlie.  Too much borax in one application or from multiple applications will ruin the soil.

Good advice, TD!  As stated in the article on it:

"Selectivity is achieved by applying a specific amount of borax to a given area. Problems may occur if the borax solution is misapplied. For example, if the solution containing 10 ounces of borax is applied to only 250 square feet, both the ground ivy and the turfgrass may be destroyed."

Boron is a micronutrient, and not much is needed. Six tablespoonfuls per 1,000 sqft of garden is max for use as fertilizer.

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Post  deriter 8/29/2019, 1:08 pm

Mercy!  Feel like I am being backed into a corner.  If I treat the grass, I risk my dogs health and our health with the dogs tracking into the house.  Also if I treat the grass, I can not get rid of the clippings.   If I try to compose the clippings, I risk carry over of the chemicals.  If I use borax, I risk ruining the soil.  I guess at this point I see only one option,,,,, pave the lawn and paint it green.

I do wonder if there are some grasses that would compete with the creeping charle better.  Zoysia grass comes to mind.  I don't care for it so much, but if it would beat out creeping charlie, I would definately consider it.  Any one have experience with Zoysia?
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Post  OhioGardener 8/29/2019, 5:24 pm

Everyone that I know, or knew, that put in Zoysia grass regretted it afterwards. It not only spreads rapidly in the yard it was planted in, but the neighbors yards as well - and, neighbors are typically not happy with the invasion. That, and the fact that it turns brown like carpet in the winter.

If Borax is used in the amount listed in the article I referenced, it will not harm the soil, and it is non-toxic to pets, humans, etc.  The good news about Borax is that even if it is applied too heavily and damages the soil, the damage is very temporary - it lasts only until a good rain washes it down into the soil, then things start growing again as if nothing happened.

Meanwhile, Creeping Charley keeps Creeping....  Treated Grass Clippings 671790

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Post  deriter 8/30/2019, 12:08 am

Yes I know that Zoysia has some bad points like turning brown with first frost or so.  And then it does not turn green very early in the spring.  I guess the good point about that is the mowing part which mean not as much mowing because of the shorter growing season.  And then it doesn't grow quite as fast.  But yes you are probably right about the neighbors not being very impressed with the Zoysia spreading to their lawns.  So I scratch that idea and maybe concentrate on getting the borax application right.


Last edited by deriter on 8/30/2019, 12:11 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : left out a word)
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Post  card6467 8/30/2019, 3:59 pm

Don't treat your lawn. Let your neighbors fume. Chemicals are not good for the soil or the earth.
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Post  deriter 8/30/2019, 4:07 pm

Yep I would to be a rebel, but I hate some of these weeds so bad.  And I can see my weeds spreading over to their lawn and that makes me feel guilty.  But then on the other hand I feel either guilty or stupid for using the chemicals.  The weeds and the chemicals are both evil!
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Post  card6467 8/30/2019, 4:12 pm

which guilt is the greater!!
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Post  deriter 8/30/2019, 5:36 pm

Thats a pretty good question that makes one think about what is really more important.  But you know at my point in life, I like things looking nice.  I even like flowers now, I did not used to pay much attention to them.  Part of my lawn looks just pretty fanstistic with a very good stand of blue grass.  I would like the rest of the lawn to look that way but it don't.  I did buy one of those rakes that is supposed to pull the creeping charlie, but found out that is a little more effort than I want to put into the cause.  You do make a good point Card though.

If I can beat the buck horn, chick weed, and creeping charlie without the chemicals, that would be wonderful.  Hopefully someone has the magic answer, but I am not going to hold my breath on that one.
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Post  CapeCoddess 8/30/2019, 6:19 pm

I don't know if this would work for your weeds, but I use corn gluten to inhibit Crabgrass growth. Unfortunately now the ajuga and clover have gone missing from my yard. Lots of other little flowers that grew in my lawn / meadow are missing too. I'm sure it's the corn gluten. I've been spreading it in early spring for three years now. I'm debating on quitting because I really miss the meadow look of my lawn.

Anyway, if you research shows that it will get rid of your weeds you can probably get some at your local nursery. That's where I get mine.
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Post  OhioGardener 8/30/2019, 8:58 pm

If I can beat the buck horn, chick weed, and creeping charlie without the chemicals, that would be wonderful.  Hopefully someone has the magic answer, but I am not going to hold my breath on that one.

Don't know of any magic answers, that is why I prefer natural options, such as Borax, whenever possible. Remember, Borax is a natural "chemical" as opposed to synthetic chemical herbicides (Boron is in Group 13 of the Periodic Table). But, that is just me.

As a side note, a few years ago I had the opportunity to tour the Borax Mine and Borax Visitor Center in Boron, California (in the Mojave Desert) - the only Borax mine in the U.S.  I was amazed at the products that require boron in the manufacturing process, including fiberglass, adhesives, wood preservative, and biocides. I also never knew how much of it is used annually in agriculture - they mine and refine some 3 million tons a year, and it is certified for use in organic farming.

The last soil test I had done showed my soil to have "adequate" level of Boron, which didn't surprise me since the rock dust I use, Azomite, has 29ppm of Boron in it. But then, I personally have never seen Boron deficiency in plants in the past 60+ years of farming/gardening.... Shocked

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Post  Yiogo 12/15/2020, 6:10 pm

I haven't used an herbicide for many years in my lawn.
My daughter has a degree from the Australasian College in herbs and plants and she loves wandering my yard looking for plants with medicinal and edible properties. I really like that.
I reseed every year and water when I can. We have had a pretty severe drought.
In 30 years of having an organic yard I've had one complaint.
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Post  Scorpio Rising 12/16/2020, 12:59 pm

Yiogo wrote:I haven't used an herbicide for many years in my lawn.
My daughter has a degree from the Australasian College in herbs and plants and she loves wandering my yard looking for plants with medicinal and edible properties. I really like that.
I reseed every year and water when I can. We have had a pretty severe drought.
In 30 years of having an organic yard I've had one complaint.
I do treat my front yard (OK, I don't but someone does and I pay them) but I don't treat my back yard at all.  That's where my SFGs are, and my compost bin, pile and general things I care about like my Monarch corner.  No chemicals there.  

I have cut way back--I really like clovers!  They are cute, low growing and smell great.  I love you
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Post  markqz 12/18/2020, 11:29 am

People conflate their understandable concerns about pesticide with those of herbicides. But they're two entirely different things. Pesticides are generally petroleum-based, long-chain, long-lasting molecules that act on the nervous system of animals, can accumulate in body tissues, and build up in the food chain.

Herbicides, or at least the one's like round-up, are much smaller, simpler molecules, don't normally interact with animal physiology, and are ionic (meaning that they dissolve in water). They can be easily washed off. They only have an effect via the leaves of plants, so once they are in the soil they are essentially neutralized. It's likely that burning clippings treated with them wouldn't produce anything much different than if you had burnt leaves previously treated with insecticidal soap.

I guess if I were worried, I would consider composting them and using them for trees and bushes. It takes a lot to kill off trees/bushes (e.g. agent orange) and it's unlikely that any of the chemical would survive long enough before it broke down to make it into the fruit.
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Post  Yardslave 12/21/2020, 4:23 pm

One spring I ran out of compost and used the local landfill's compost. They have been offering it for quite a while to commercial landscapers and local gardeners and I hadn't heard anything negative about it, so I loaded two 30 gal. garbage cans with the compost and spread it into the soil and top dressed a plot with it.I planted rows of seedlings, anticipating a pretty good yield by summer. The compost must have been contaminated with a pretty strong batch of herbicide and a pre-emergent herbicide to boot, because everything dropped dead, and nothing grew on that plot that year. I left that plot alone and the next year very few plants thrived on that soil.
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Post  markqz 12/21/2020, 9:20 pm

Yardslave wrote:One spring I ran out of compost and used the local landfill's compost. They have been offering it for quite a while to commercial landscapers and local gardeners and I hadn't heard anything negative about it, so I loaded two 30 gal. garbage cans with the compost and spread it into the soil and top dressed a plot with it.I planted rows of seedlings, anticipating a pretty good yield by summer. The compost must have been contaminated with a pretty strong batch of herbicide and a pre-emergent herbicide to boot, because everything dropped dead, and nothing grew on that plot that year. I left that plot alone and the next year very few plants thrived on that soil.

We're talking two different issues here. The original post was whether it was OK to compost or donate. The other issue is whether it's ok to use landfill compost. For the first, original question, it depends on what chemicals were used. Which we weren't told.

For the 2nd issue, I guess it's a matter of how desperate you are. Supposedly, even the heavy duty herbicides will break down, but it may take a few years. This year, with covid shutdowns, I was desperate enough to use the landfill compost. It's a mixed bag. Some stuff is growing well, others not so well.
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