Avenger weed control

Has anyone tried Avenger, a citrus oil based weed killer? Supposed to be "organic" although I don't know if the chemistry is considered organic or not. I don't use Roundup at all but am battling invasive stuff, mainly a nasty Campanula. I thought I'd give this stuff a try before I have to dig and screen a big patch of soil. I did purchase a ready-to-use bottle to try but I know that I can buy the concentrate and tailor the strength to the ferocity of the weed.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

I have not tried this but the reviews look promising.

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

I've had some luck spraying straight vinegar on some weeds, but you have to be careful where it goes as I've had it kill grass where I accidently sprayed some. I don't know how it would do on a tough invasive, though it couldn't hurt since it's definitely organic. . .That is if you haven't already tried it.

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

My current favorite method of killing a patch of weeds is to smother them with something: clear plastic (water, seal down the edges and bake 'em) or scrap cardboard, or even a tarp weighted down. If they are already tall, I scalp them down with the mulching mower first. I have heard of using wet newspaper 4-sheets thick, but whenever I want to try it the wind always gusts up too much for newspaper.

I was considering using vinegar, ordering a more concentrated form via mail order rather than the 3% commonly found in stores. Do you think the solarization thing would work in a shady area? I did try the Avenger and it did work on snuffing out any of the growing leaves pretty well although I do see new leaves popping up. It did kill off all of the leaves rather quickly too. Perhaps a few sprayings of the Avenger will knock the plants back a bit and then try the vinegar to knock them back even further. Digging is my last resort since these thugs are growing in yucky clay which will be a pain to dig and sift.

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

5% vinegar is the strongest concentration legal in Colorado. What CSU told the Master Gardeners class was that 5% wasn't strong enough to be effective. AND the stuff that is strong enough to be effective is so caustic that you need a professional ventilator mask and impermeable chem suit to apply it. The 5% might seem to be working, but it won't kill the roots. Also, my alkaline soil has a lot of "free lime" in it, which means it fizzes like baking soda when you spray it with vinegar - entertaining, but it doesn't actually change the pH.

The clear plastic probably wouldn't work in shade. Tough weeds will puncture through black landscaping plastic - and the soil can't breath. Landscaping fabric with mulch over it works better, but not if you end up cutting holes through it to plant.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

vinegar & salt makes a mild hydrochloric acid,a bleach & vegetable oil mix or straight bleach will ,just don't tell anybody (pollution laws,ya know) And don't get the bleach on anything or anywhere you don't want it.If you use a hand sprayer say goodbye to the head (cheap things)

pollen - thanks for the info on vinegar. From what I had read, it's easier to find stronger concentrations in the south than up here but it doesn't sound promising after all. Sounds strange to have fizzing soil.
juhur7 - never thought to mix the vinegar and salt. I do have to be careful with what I use since the wetlands and creek run behind our property.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

You might try this, if your looking to increase the acidity of the vinegar and you were thinking about citrate weed killer.You can add a couple of vitamin c pills to the vinegar there 12% or so anyway. Remember to that the residual of vinegar with a few sprinkles of salt will burn skin and eat wood.(as a matter of fact so will soda but that's somthing other).So for now.....

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

Depends on your soil, but I can't use anything with salt in it - including manure. My soil is borderline high in salts already, and any more would cause problems for sensitive plants. I'm not sure "Bleach" counts as organic - I'd use "Roundup" instead, if the problem is that bad. I think that they both may react with metals in the soil - only a problem if your soil is already iron deficient.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

Here is general information on organically killing weeds. http://www.toronto.ca/health/pesticides/pdf/gardening_weeds.pdf

Susan - thanks for that link.
pollen - have tried Roundup and even poison ivy killer on the Campanula - no luck.
juhur - hadn't even thought of increasing the acetic acid component in vinegar. Wondering though if spraying the vinegar would even affect the roots on this menace. Sigh... seems like I might have to dig after all.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

I'm not sure how much of it you have but most organic method is to dig it.

We have bindweed in the area. The former owner of the property let it go to weeds. Bindweed was a problem. Tried all kinds of organic ways to get rid of it. We finally started cutting it to the ground and then dab stump killer on remaining stem to kill the root system. I think we are going to start using the corn fertilizer to try to keep more of the seeds that drift in from the neighbors from germinating. It's an option for the campanula. It's just not organic.

Sigh... I created my own problem when my dad gave me some "pretty" plants years ago when I first started my garden. I do pull all the flower stems before they even open to reduce any seed from starting new plants. The main "invaded" space is about 10 ft square with a couple of other "satellite" patches elsewhere. I'll have to consider the stump killer though I really hate to.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

If you dig it up be sure to throw it in the trash and not the compost pile.

This message was edited Jun 8, 2012 7:48 AM

Ah - thanks for the reminder, Susan. I'll have to treat it like I do pulled poison ivy seedlings.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Campanula as in bellflower? what color? what kind?-if applicable

Campanula rapunculoides. Terribly invasive. Almost impossible to eradicate. You really don't want this plant. Spreads via fine underground roots. It laughs at Roundup and even my desperate applications of poison ivy killer. Comes back after repeated sessions with my Bernzomatic.

Shawnee Mission, KS(Zone 6a)

After reading up on it, you might want to also use a Pre emergent to knock out the seeds.

I do pull all of the flowers before they can go to seed.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I FORGOT A GOOD ONE! Have you ever tried cooking spray? The aerosol in the canola oil. today I sprayed some found that out when my sister wanted to shine the leaves of a banana plant.Knocked that baby right over.!

You see,, it takes me a while

LOL! Have to admit I haven't checked on that patch since the second spraying because it's been too hot to do much outside but I can see green leaves from afar. I dread going down to look at the patch because I'm sure that I'll be doomed to digging and sifting soil when there's a break in the heat. Ugh.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

So you have used like "PAM" cooking spray? it usually takes four or five days to notice for sure.

No - haven't tried the Pam but I can. Will be interesting!

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I was reading the warning label about it can be harmful or fatal if inhaled? If that is i am wondering how safe it is to cook with? Hundreds of thousands of people use that everyday makes me wonder anyway.
I am trying some generic from the FD ,then I will mix a little canola oil(used in our kitchen anyway) with a little Vinegar.
See if it will if shook together and aerated real well if it has the same effect.One of those "out loud" contemplated ideas I am having here(lol)?
Couple of weeds I sprayed today with the Pam began to curl at sundown,maybe it has a temperature pro active effect?
I believe it smothers them though.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

The warning on the aerosol is because of the propellant, not because of the canola oil. The propellant disappears after you spray so what ends up on the plant or in your frying pan is just the canola oil which won't hurt you. Many aerosols also put warnings on like that to prevent people from abusing them by inhaling them on purpose trying to get high (or at least to prevent them from being able to sue the people that made the product if they try to use it that way anyway). So as long as you're just cooking with it or spraying it on plants you shouldn't need to worry.

As far as temperature--sun beating down on an oil covered leaf will damage it faster than if you spray it on a cloudy day--this is why you have to be careful about using oil-based insecticides during the summer because the oil can end up burning the leaves when the sun hits it. In this case if you're trying to kill weeds that won't be a problem of course. The caveat with using oil on the weeds is that just like vinegar, boiling water, etc you will kill the top growth but it won't kill the roots, so if it's a perennial weed especially one with a taproot it can regrow from the roots next year

Have never been fond of the flavor of canola oil. I've read that it goes rancid quickly and a lot of the bottles on store shelves are already kinda old (for canola). I have a Misto sprayer so I can load it up with any oil I like. It uses pressurized air (you pump the apparatus) so no propellants.
I think the Avenger works in much the same way as oil (at least what I've seen so far) - killing the top growth but leaving the roots, at least on perennial thugs. It's supposed to work better on annual weeds.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

I sprayed that on a volunteer mulberry they are everywhere,that is the most difficult invader I have.It curled last night and unfurled today like it hadn't been touched.So day 2 is a zero!!I will see after 5 or so days.

Hmm - you'd think that once the leaves curled up that they would at least have the decency to fall off. We get mulberries as well as cottonwood - ugh - but I usually get them pulled before they get too big. Now that cooler weather is coming, I might venture closer to my thug patch to see what's come back.

Warrenton, VA

Organic weed control? Get ye a gallon of apple cider vinegar (the international markets sell sell their own brand for CHEAP), and go out on a day promising to be HOT. Pour straight from the bottle, all over the offensive weed. Forget worrying about strength. Get the SUN to be more than strong enough to cook whatever you coated in the vinegar.
Works well. I do this for the stuff that grows between my sidewalk pavers. Pour in the morning, cooked in the afternoon. Onward!

Gracye - nice to know that maybe vinegar strength doesn't matter after all. Does it work on perennial thugs or only annual weeds? My group of thugs happens to be in the shade. Maybe heat alone would suffice? But of course, we now have a week of much cooler weather after record-breaking temps for 6 weeks. :)

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

Same happened here,cooled down and it has rained for three days,I am not going to complain about the rain no matter what. The thing is though sprayed weeds bounced right back ,Maybe next week hen the heat returns I can try again.
After three days the spray was working, it looks a week of hot dry weather was what was needed ,I should of remembered sooner! We have had that a plenty!!

Warrenton, VA

CindyMzone5 - no clue. I just tried this a month ago, on grass and assorted weeds between those pavers, and it did the trick. I try the least offensive thing first, and regular vinegar seems to be just that. Best of luck to you in your adventure!

Sierra Foothills, CA(Zone 8a)

Oh, great! I think I will try the vinegar on the star thistle.

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

Well, if it is a dense patch of weeds, I still say:

Scalp it with the mower. Water it if it is baked dry (you want the weeds to try and regrow). Cover it with a tarp. Bury edges of tarp. You may have to also weigh it down, I usually don't unless there is a hole in it. Leave it until it stops re-sprouting and all sprouts are dead. 2 weeks to 2 months depending on weed and weather.

Move the tarp to the next patch when the first patch is done. Store tarp in winter when weeds are dormant, start again in spring when weeds break dormancy.

Try other methods on strays that aren't under the tarp.

RE: BINDWEED - The kind we have here in Colorado has seeds that can lay dormant in the soil for 30 - THIRTY!! YEARS. If you manage to kill it off in an area, you do not want to till it and bring more seeds up to the surface. I killed a large patch with heavy duty landscape FABRIC cover with 4" of rock. Adjacent to this, The neighbor tried to do the same thing with landscape PLASTIC and the bindweed came right through it (I think the rock made little punctures).

I'll never completely get rid of the bindweed because the drainage area above my property has bindweed and it keeps washing down.

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

RE: Corn Gluten - I would like some info from someone who has used this successfully?

So far - I decided that you need to apply it before some precipitation so it will soak in and the weeds will try and germinate. I applied it at the right time of year except that it was dry - it seemed like it broke down in the sun and something(s) may have eaten it, too. Several weeks later it rained and the weeds sprouted as usual.

I have heard that it takes several applications and several years for it to build up to an effective level. My Aunt put it on her veggie garden this year and I am afraid it will come back to haunt her next year - if the weeds won't sprout, neither will the carrots.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I've used corn gluten successfully. Here's what I can tell you about it:

--It does need to be watered in after application (either by you or by Mother Nature). But too much water can wash it out, so if you're expecting a week of downpours I'd probably wait until after that before you apply it

--It needs to be reapplied periodically during weed sprouting season since it does wash out over time

--Reapplication is because it washes out, not because you're building up a concentration of it in the soil. So your aunt's veggie garden will be fine next year as long as she doesn't use it while she's trying to sprout her carrot seeds. Using it this year won't make a difference in how things sprout next year. It worked fine for me the very first year I used it and it's worked similarly in subsequent years, but for example this year our rains came really late and I got lazy about reapplying, and wound up with a bunch of weeds that sprouted during some of the late rains when the corn gluten had already washed out

--Make sure you apply enough--if you just sprinkle a little around it's not going to be as effective. If you bought a pkg of it that was intended for weed control it'll have instructions on it about reapplication and coverage, but if you got it from some other source you can probably google for some instructions

--It won't work on perennial weeds that are coming back from the roots, so if you apply & reapply as you ought to and you still get a lot of weeds, they may be perennial ones. But the good news is the corn gluten would prevent any new seedlings of those perennial weeds from coming up so if you pull the originals or kill them in some other way you should over time be able to get rid of them

Dallas, TX

Don't know if anyone is still watching this thread, but I'll put in my 2 cents anyway.

Let me preface this by saying that I'm trying to eradicate all the nasties of an otherwise naked area. Thus I don't have to worry about accidentally spraying plants that I want to keep.

I have tried Avenger. Some but not total success.

Have tried 20% vinegar (ok to do where I live) with some success.

Have tried a product called BlackJack 21 that has 21% vinegar, molasses, and a few other ingredients. Again, some success.

The problem with getting any of the aforementioned products is that you will pay a lot for shipping and handling as they come in heavy containers. Don't let that stop you, it's just a warning.

Have not used either, but there is a difference between Corn Gluten and Corn Gluten Meal. You can find info about it on DirtDoctor.com. The Dirt Doctor is Howard Garrett and he is our local (and more) organic guru. He has a call-in radio show on Sunday mornings. I know it's on AM radio and think it's also podcast as I've heard people call in from many states.

Howard is where I learned about all of the above. He no longer recommends the 20% vinegar but last I heard was that he thought 10% would work. He also uses Apple Cider vinegar, not for weed control, but when watering his gardens. He says that the plants love it.

BTW, I didn't think that Round-Up was organic. Or maybe someone was suggesting it as a last resort.

If anyone is still reading this thread, hope this helps.

I listen to H. Garrett podcasts and that's where I heard about Avenger. I have used RU in the past as last resort but haven't used it in a couple of years. Trying to go more earth-friendly although I may have to learn to live with the Campanula since I don't think I'll be replacing dirt any time soon.

Dallas, TX

If memory serves, and it might be a little off kilter, when I used Avenger it seemed ok. But then it rained a day or 2 later, and then I got lazy, I mean busy, so a second round of Avenger was more like starting all over again. It's definitely not cheap and I'm trying to clear the parkway (area between sidewalk and street). Has a lot of nutsedge. Don't seem to have much nut sedge in my backyard. That's where I'm battling the dreaded bindweed! If I ever get my timing right, I'm going to try using corn gluten meal, if that's the right one.

I was flipping thru a book on weeds the other day. It basically was saying to kill them with kindness. The assumption is that if you build up the health of the soil, the weeds won't be able to survive. I kinda follow the logic, but not sure if I want to try it! So good luck to us all.

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