Commercial weed and feed preparations combine fertilizer and weed killers that affect crabgrass and broadleaf weeds. When you sprinkle or spray these preparations in your yard, they fertilize your grass and landscaping plants and kill undesirable plants. Many people do not want to use these commercial preparations because they are worried about the health and environmental affects. Fortunately, it is possible to prevent and control weeds and fertilize your home lawn, landscaping and vegetable gardens without using these products.
Boron on Your Lawn
Boron is required for healthy plant growth. While too much can damage all plants, some weeds, like creeping charlie, are more sensitive to boron than grass is. As a result, you can use a Borax soap solution on your lawn to kill weeds while providing a required nutrient for your grass. To apply boron, purchase a soap with Borax in it. For every 1,000 square feet of lawn that you want to treat, dissolve 10 oz. of the soap in a small amount of warm water. Add this solution to a bucket to which you have added 2 1/2 gallons of water. Stir the solution well and use a garden sprayer to distribute the solution evenly over the lawn. Too much of the solution will damage the grass. Spray your grass once in the spring for up to two years. Borax accumulates in the soil so if you apply it too frequently, it will kill your grass.
In areas where you don't have grass, layering mulch is an ideal weed and feed solution. It prevents weeds from growing, and as it decomposes, it provides nutrients to the nearby plants. If you have deciduous trees in your yard, in the fall rake the leaves into piles near the areas you want to mulch. Spread the leaves around the base of trees and shrubs, and then spread them evenly over your planting beds. You can also purchase mulch from a garden center in bags and spread the contents in layers several inches thick. Spreading mulch on your lawn will kill it, but you can get the benefits of mulch on your lawn by leaving the clippings on the ground when you mow
A cover crop, such as clover, also serves as an excellent homemade weed and feed solution, particularly for vegetable gardens. Plant your cover crop late in the fall after putting your garden to bed for the season. Purchase cover crop seeds from your local nursery or plant center and sprinkle them over the entire garden area at the recommended concentration. The cover crop will grow during the winter, preventing weeds from getting started in the spring. Before planting your garden in the spring, till the cover crop into ground, where it will decompose and add nutrients to your garden soil.