Organic Weed Control Basics

By on March 04, 2011

Tricia getting rid of weeds with a flamer

Organic weed control does not just mean getting on your hands and knees to pull weeds.

We’ve got a whole slew of techniques to get rid of the weeds in your garden (without the R word).

Take a look at the variety of ways Tricia prevents and tackles weeds in our new video on weed control (and see which one she says is the most fun to use).

The world of mulch and films

All our natural mulches are biodegradable and will eventually break down into your soil.

One of our favorite mulches to spread on garden beds is Mega Mulch, made from sustainable and renewable coconut shells. It will block light from reaching weed seeds.

If you’d like a heavier mulch, try our Cocoa Mulch (pro: adds the aroma of chocolate to your garden, con: should not be used if you have dogs).

For a quick and easy weed blocker around the base of new trees, lay down a Coco Fiber Weed Mat (we have two sizes).

If you need an alternative to peat moss, for mulching or soil amendment, we carry CocoPeat. It’s made from renewable resources and by using it you will be preserving the remaining peat bogs.

Mulching films and cloth are also effective light blockers that suppress weeds. Tomatoes and strawberries do especially well when surrounded by our red mulching film (as shown in the video). Black weed fabric is another popular choice.

Soil solarization is done with clear plastic; that lets the sun’s rays in and cooks the weed seeds.


Want some entertainment while you zap weeds? Try one of our Red Dragon flamers with a propane tank to apply heat to the weed, and burst its cells. Used on farms, between rows of crops, it’s also effective in gravel areas, or for cracks in paved driveways and sidewalks. Keep a hose handy, just in case. Here’s the flamer Tricia uses in our video. She added a squeeze valve.

Organic herbicides to spray

If you’d like a spray alternative that will burn leaves of weeds, try one of our organic herbicides, such as Avenger, or WeedZap. All of these are “non-selective” herbicides which means they will harm any plant they contact, so make sure you spray only the weeds. And wear your protective gear.

The herbicides are effective on grassy and broadleafed weed plants, up to 6 inches tall. Spray enough to coat the weed well.

The active ingredients in the different products can include clove oil, vinegar, and d-limonene.

The most fun—pulling up weeds with the Fiskars UpRoot® Weeder

Watch Tricia making short work of weeds with this improved tool!

With a SIMPLE step-down & pull-back movement, the serrated, stainless steel tine grasps upstart plants and plucks them neatly from the soil, roots and all.

You don’t have to bend to use the tool, or even to toss the weed in a bucket for disposal. And the Arthritis Association gave this tool an “ease of use” commendation. The UpRoot® is a super tool for pulling up perennial weeds with tap roots (like dandelions) or clumps of perennial grasses.

For even more choices, check out our array of weeders and hoes. Use them to cut off annual grasses and broadleaf weeds as they sprout, or to dig out perennial broadleaf and grassy weeds.

We hope this inspires you to have some fun with getting rid of those weeds. There are so many ways to do that organically. No R_______ required!

  Comments (14)


Good information but I have one question.  Since most of the corn crops are GMO infected how can using the corn weed blocker be a good thing for an organic garden?

Posted by Gail on Mar. 05, 2011 at 3:06:15 PM


Non-GMO products are very important to us and our customers. Unfortunately due to the widespread use of GMO corn and the resulting crop contamination the manufacturer of Corn Weed Blocker cannot guarantee that the corn gluten meal is not derived from non-GMO corn.

Posted by Charlotte on Mar. 07, 2011 at 12:48:12 PM


Hi I am Maureen Ellis of Ellis Solutions Inc. in Purcellville Va.

We are a wellness solution company doing research on products that are safe for environment and body.  We are interested in ordering wholesale corn gluten and would like to know if you offer wholesale pricing and how to go about it.

Thanks and you take care now you hear?

Posted by Maureen Ellis on Mar. 14, 2011 at 8:55:44 AM


Thanks we do sell wholesale. Call toll free: (888) 784-1722 and ask for a wholesale quote. There’s a short application too.

Posted by Charlotte on Mar. 15, 2011 at 5:29:11 PM


[...] the base of the plant from weeds with red plastic mulching film or try the handy Tomato Crater that snaps around the plant to keep down weeds and protect from [...]

Posted by Grow tomatoes: Organic gardening tips | Organic Ga on Apr. 29, 2011 at 2:01:59 PM


which of your herbicides contains vinegar, and is the formula available. . . . I am in West Marin working on an organic herbicide specifically for star and distaff thistle. . .


Posted by katharine cook on Mar. 26, 2013 at 9:23:47 AM

Katharine, BurnOut II is the only herbicide that I know of with vinegar other than the special order 20 or 30 percent vinegar (55 gallon drums). Here are the links and

Posted by on Mar. 28, 2013 at 2:02:07 PM


I am plowing up six-foot strips of a 1/4 acre meadow in an effort to produce a wildflower meadow. If I use Weed Zap to kill the sprouting weeds, when can I broadcast my wildflower seed? Quack grass is the biggest problem weed.

Posted by William Castle on May. 14, 2013 at 7:02:44 AM

William, Weedzap is a contact herbicide, so it will not remain to affect the wildflower seed.  It is an essential oil mix and burns the vegetation sprayed.  The problem is the quack grass; you might consider planting buckwheat, red cowpeas, or the Summer Soil Builder Mix (or a combination of these) to overwhelm it.  The Weedzap will not kill the roots of such tenacious grasses.  If you cover crop now, and till in the resulting green waste in the late summer, you could broadcast your wildflower meadow in the fall when the growing conditions are more hospitable.

Posted by on May. 20, 2013 at 3:25:29 PM


I am battling oxalis in California.

I have a 2 foot high raised beds for vegetables that were new last year. I put down hardware cloth, weed cloth, cardboard and then 2 feet of new soil and compost.

The oxalis took over during the winter. I’ve pulled out the plants and as much of the roots as I can, it came up through the 2 feet of soil!

I’m thinking about pulling all the soil out and digging out and removing a layer of the pre-existing dirt below where the bed is.

Would putting down your sunbelt cloth and a thick layer of either wood chips or possibly the the coconut mega mulch. Perhaps a thick layer of newspaper too?

Then put the the soil back top. I’m not sure which mulch would be better in this application, I’d appreciate any advice! I can’t use cocoa husks because of toxicity to dogs.

I’ve read that a thick mulch on top acts as a barrier for oxalis, but I’m trying to prevent it from growing through the 2 feet of soil. Do you think burying the mulch under the soil would help or would it create a mess? How thick would I need to do the mulch? I was assuming it would eventually degrade, hopefully after defeating the dreaded oxalis. Also should I sprinkle a nitrogen source like the E&B compost maker you mention before putting the soil back to handle the nitrogen depletion or would that encourage the oxalis?

Can I use your sunbelt cloth as a physical barrier under the dirt also or is there something else I should use?

I’m also thinking of filtering the soil before putting it back in, how fine a screen would I need for the bulblets? Is this likely to prevent regrowth or am I dreaming. Replacing the soil would be expensive since about 30sq feet is infested, but I don’t want more of the dreaded weed next fall.

Anything you can suggest to maximize my potential for success would be great. This will be a big investment in time and materials, so I want to make sure I do everything I can.


Posted by Lee on Feb. 03, 2015 at 11:55:02 AM

Do you plan on using the bed the coming summer? If not you can try solarizing. It is using clear plastic over the bed that basically cooks the weeds.

If you still want to use the bed this summer you can go with using weed fabric or some other mulch to block the sun from the weeds. Any nitrogen will feed the weeds as well as the good plants. This is a tough situation. Good luck.

Posted by Suzanne at Peaceful Valley on Feb. 05, 2015 at 5:03:55 PM


Hi Suzanne,

The Oxalis grows from bulbs or bulblets, it is the fake clover/shamrocks with yellow flowers. they are are growing up from beneath 2 feet of soil in the raised beds, so I didn’t think solarizing would work there, It might work on the hill, although it is a pretty big area.

I do want to use the raised bed this summer if I can. But if solarizing would work thru that much dirt, it would be worth waiting another season to try and get rid of it all! It is truly a devil weed.

One additional question on solarizing. the Oxalis grows in the fall and mostly dies off in May, when it starts getting hot. Will solarizing fry the bulbs and make them non-viable or does it just work on plants?

If that would kill the bulbs I will find a way to wrap the hill in plastic! I don’t know how else I can get rid of them! I’ve tried pulling but tough to get them all, and the bulbs.

Posted by Lee on Feb. 05, 2015 at 9:02:14 PM


What approach would you use with nut sedge? I’ve tried sheet mulching (twice) and dug up the whole area pulling out every nut I could find - it still keeps coming back.

Posted by Hugh on Jun. 26, 2016 at 11:13:08 AM


Hugh, sorry to hear your woes of nut sedge. Have you tried solarizing? Do it in the summer when it is hot out, lay down some clear plastic, and basically you are cooking the plants and soil underneath.

Posted by suzanne on Jul. 01, 2016 at 3:32:03 PM

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