So when I saw a post today called Pet Friendly Weed Killers by Lori Thomas on AllPetNews.com, I had to check it out and see if I could learn anything new. I did.
The article states that SUGAR can be used as a pet-safe weed control. Since I had never heard that sugar can control weeds, I did a little more research to see if I could track down a reputable source for that statement.
Here are some excerpts form a study carried out at Charles Sturt University in Australia in 2005:
By Margrit Beemster, December 2005.
Sugar has the potential to control annual weeds according to recent research trials conducted by researchers from Charles Sturt University. The researchers, ecologists Dr Suzanne Prober, Dr Ian Lunt and Dr Kevin Thiele, have applied sugar to trial plots for a project funded by the NSW Environmental Trust on how to restore understorey species in endangered Grassy White Box Woodlands.
The researchers have found that sugar provides a good, short-term non-chemical and ecologically friendly method of weed control. "It appears sugar is a tool we can use to help change a system back to one dominated by native species rather than weeds,” says Dr Suzanne Prober who has been working to conserve and restore grassy white box woodlands for the past 15 years. Nearly all of the woodland belt, from southern Queensland to north-east Victoria is now used for agricultural purposes, principally wheat and sheep.
So why does the sugar work? Because it is one of the fastest ways of reducing soil nitrate levels. Dr Prober’s compared soil nutrients in undisturbed woodlands and disturbed, degraded sites. She found the most striking difference between the two was in nitrate levels, which were extremely low in undisturbed remnants and high in degraded remnants.
“It seems that many of our weed problems are due to high nutrient levels”, says Dr Prober. “There is an enormous amount of information on how to increase soil nitrogen to improve crop growth, but very little on doing the reverse. However there has been some research done overseas where sugar was used to tie up nitrogen levels for a short time.”
The researchers, who spread half a kilogram of refined white sugar to each square metre of soil every three months, found this inhibited weed growth of most annual weeds giving the native plants the opportunity to become well-established. However more research is required to work out the optimum rate of application. “We realise that the sugar levels we used in our trials would not be economic to use over broad scales”, said Dr Prober, “but at the moment we don’t know if we would get similar results if we used less sugar or if we used cheaper alternatives such as molasses or sawdust”.
So how does sugar reduce soil nutrients? “When sugar is spread on the soil, it feeds soil micro-organisms, which then absorb lots of soil nutrients as they grow,” explains Dr Ian Lunt from CSU’s Institute for Land, Water and Society. “The micro-organisms then hold these nutrients so the weeds can’t gobble them up. In effect we are ‘starving’ the weed species that require lots of nutrients to grow.” The lack of nutrients stopped the weeds from growing large, allowing the native plants, which can grow well in low nutrient levels, to grow bigger and faster. click here to read rest of article.
any method that adds fewer toxic chemicals to the ground certainly sounds like a sweet one to me!