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Hi, Can anyone tell me if there is an organic weedkiller?  I have a bird feeder which is stood in gravel and the seeds sprout faster than I can weed them out.  I use the organic slug pellets but have been unable to find any weedkiller in the garden centres.  I don't want to harm the birds by using ordinary weedkiller but neither do I want the grass growing  between the gravel, so I would very much  appreciate any help.

Hi Lavenderlass,

You could also try a weed control flame gun. I find this really useful in controlling weeds in gravel. Very quick and easy to use.

hogweed

And you could start to get the high energy no mess bird seed. Doesn't sprout.

I was going to suggest the same as hogweed. I buy the no mess seed all the time and the birds can throw it around as much as they please.

 

Welshonion
Organic weedkiller is not possible. Even vinegar is not organic, it is acetic acid.

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nutcutlet

The other thing to remember is that organic doesn't necessarily mean harmless or wildlife friendly. 

Many thanks to everyone your replies were very helpful.  Will look for the high energy no mess bird seed but must admit I thought organic would be a safe option if there was such a thing.  Again many thanks.

WillDB

The chance of properly applied glyphosate harming the birds is probably zero, but I would be leery of weedkillers like 'Pathclear' which would probably be more useful in preventing new weeds appearing (they are residual weedkillers). Simplest approach would be putting the feeder on some slabs, or on the lawn.

Unfortunately I don't have a lawn.  I decided to get rid of it while I was working (perhaps not the best of ideas) but can't face replacing the gravel now, but I do try not to use weedkillers if I can get away with it.  Bird seed grass seems to have a rapid germination, faster then the birds can eat it.

Clarington

I tried the high energy no mess seed: it still produced a wonderful germination rate under the feeders. I used the flame thrower approach for weed control when simply getting down there and pulling them up wont suffice.

The latest reports on glyphosphate are pointing towards it being a cause of cancers. Personally I steer clear of all weed killers, buy no mess seed ...there are various brands out there and am sure you could find an organic source. Under the bird feeder was one of the few areas I didn't have weeds and still don't. I do have two wild ducks that have taken up residence under the feeder and clear any fallen seed at the rate of knots. Maybe you could consider getting a couple

I get the occasional pheasant too, much to my cat's horror. I don't think seed stands a chance of germinating with the ducks around and should imagine that chickens would be similar. There is the minor problem of what goes in must come out but a quick hose around and towards the trees at the back and a hopeful wish that duck manure is as good for the soil as chicken 

WillDB

Even if glyphosate did cause cancer (and it possibly does if given to lab mice in huge doses), it is not going to harm you or the birds. The issue (if there is one) would be regularly breathing the spray or drinking it, or when it is sprayed onto crops which are then eaten

Even so, I suspect the cancer causing potential would be less than eating, say, burnt toast or bacon, or consuming alcohol, or being near an open fire - which are sources of known carcinogens.

(Apologies, this is a moot point in any case since glyphosate is not the best weedkiller for continually appearing seedlings...

hogweed

I use a good quality no mess bird food (Chapelwood) and get no seedlings. Some of the cheaper mixes although purporting to be no mess, do seed to an extent.

Singing Gardener

And according to Wikipedia:

Acetic acid, systematically named ethanoic acid, is an organic compound with the chemical formula CH???COOH.

From what I remember of my chemistry an organic compound is any molecule which contains carbon so it would include a lot of things. I suspect "organic" gardening means something completely different.

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Many thanks for all the replies, I've thoroughly enjoyed reading them.  Love the idea of ducks or hens but only having a small garden and as there are urban foxes round here don't think it would work.  I'm thinking along the lines of the weed control flame thrower.

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