Weeds in Lawns

the lawn in our new house is full of all kinds of weeds. In the UK I would have used Weedol or something similar.
Is there anything available in France to do the job of killing the weeds and their roots and not the lawn. Hand weeding is not a practicable option!

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I’m not sure how many weed killer products are still available to be honest. The laws here are very strict, even the councils here in Dordogne don’t use any at all. There is a big push to just manage them as naturally as you can (ie keeping them cut back and keeping it healthy!). We have weeds in the lawn, everyone does. The French are FAR less bothered about their lawns being ‘perfect’ than the Brits!

Basically it’s pelargonic acid or homebrew (vinegar/salt etc.).

It will burn through foliage quickly enough but doesn’t kill the roots.

One of the best ways to get weeds under control is just to mow frequently. Choose a high cut so you allow the grass to strengthen, but keep doing it - you’ll find the grass gradually takes over from the weeds. These days, having weeds in your lawn is “a good thing” - you attract bees, hover flies, butterflies and the like.


Nobody has told my weeds that. :frowning:

Yes, and don’t collect the cuttings.

Although you may need to for a bit if you’ve lots of dandelions as they just seed themselves around. And be careful not to have small mounds of cuttings as that just kills the grass underneath.

Nor mine! Its rained recently and made it easier to pull up the worst weeds. I do an area each time I go outside because they smother the grass which will struggle to return. It is soon going to be too hot and too dry for any growth. We seem to have more weeds this year than ever. Although I try to cut when there are no seeds, I’m pretty sure it’s caused by mowing the weeds and leaving the cuttings that then seed themselves when you’re not looking.

Back in UK… We had a lawn with more plantains/dandelions/whatever than grass… kept mowing, mowing, mowing.

One year we had a flood, almost into the house… but just missed by inches… and the water/lake just sat… for a while.

great news… the plaintains rotted… hurrah…

Gone are the days when you could spray potent weedkillers. Just mow regularly, so don’t get build up of cuttings.

Trying to get a weed free lawn is a bit of a Sisyphean task. If you want to play crown green bowls then worth it, but otherwise if all you want is an even green soft covering does it matter what the species are? And a variety of species will cope better with scorching summer so don’t have a brown baked biscuit outside your door (or a huge water bill).


I am sure we have had weed n feed here in France, although i must admit i have brought it over from the UK on odd occasions.

lots of interesting replies, i don’t want a totally weed free lawn…i would just like more grass than daisies etc! Seems that nobody has really got a solution to my problem.

So what do local french people do now…i can’t imagine they are happy to grow fields of weeds, they have beautiful gardens. Good husbandry will keep them down but how do you get that position ?
It just underlines how powerful the French farmers are, they can still buy products, but us poor consumers can’t even buy small quantities

My neigbours all have probably 5 - 8,000 m2 each and they all keep them so beautifully mowed so they look lovely. When you get up close though there is probably at least 40% of other species than grass! There are a lot of products to patch up lawns and I must say the areas that I did now have much lower rates of weeds as the grass is lovely and thick. Perhaps that is the way they do it, spend the time / money on the grass rather than artificially getting rid of the weeds. I might try that next spring, get any huge obvious weeds out and scatter lots of seed down!

I would love to hear anyones great ideas though - I’ve pretty much given up but would love a less weedy lawn!

I was never a perfect lawn person - so I’m not the best advice but as above mow regularly the grass will be stronger generally.

This years wet - the last two have been “drought” with hosepipe bans in most of France for the entire summer (and a bit of Spring/Autumn) - the daisies and dandelion things love drought so you’ll probably find the “weeds” are at their worst if your area was a drought area. I’ve a lovely lawn of daisies and dandelions - the grass is fighting back this year with rain - and its just a green thing to walk and sit on.

If you can bothered … I can’t … there are those odd tools to remove dandelions and long rooted weeds - they work very well if you have patience and its not that physical - just ball achingly dull.

If you want grass you feed and mow (mulching mower best) . If you want wild flowers you don’t feed and cut only a couple of times a year. If. You want a weedy scraggly patch you mow intermittently, don’t feed and leave long cuttings with seeds lying around.

Farmers are (supposedly) trained to use toxic chemicals safely and responsibly, and that plus the economic imperative means they have lobbied to keep some exemptions.

I like daisies and when you mow it’s all green again. Keep it natural I can’t breath and have vertigo and headaches sometimes due to the “products” farmers use around my property.

Thanks…we live on edge of small bustling town in modern Breton house not in deepest rural countryside (couldn’t do the isolation, need of town), surrounded by proud gardens so I need win weed war…

Best regards
John Strudwick

Well then, go and ask your neighbours what they do!

My neighbour has a beautiful garden with very few weeds in sight. There is only one way that she has achieved that, hard work. Until a few years ago she used Roundup in a few places but she has given up chemicals altogether. Her garden looks lovely but if she were to stop putting the time in it would revert to being infested by weeds very quickly. There are no short cuts.

I inherited large grassed garden half of which was inhabited by gnarled pear and plum trees at 4 metre intervals in rows.

The grass and perennial weeds had grown thigh high, and over much of the surface had been trampled down to create a thick flattened-down and matted tangle of rotting stems, ivy and wind-blown fruit-tree debris that resisted pulling up by hand. The whole plot had not been tended for three years since the last occupant fled the melancholy scene.

Surprisingly, after scratching and slashing at the matted morass for a week or so, we were able to wrestle the motor mower over it, cutting down to about 4 cm, and with weekly mow-overs, the grass sprang back, and after six months of regular weekly mows a verdant pelouse established itself with absolutely no suppressants of any kind. It is admired by local neighbours, and looks great. It grows clover, daisies, dandelions and other pretty floral ground-covering perennials. The secret is to see them flower, admire their natural beauty, then “off with their heads” with a close weekly mow. I never (well hardly ever) collect the cuttings.

The grass is fresh, strong, fragrant and soft under-foot. Our chickens have a “free claw” and range freely throughout the garden except the potager which is wired off. Free-ranging hens do wonders for a pelouse by pecking, scratching, nibbling and excreting. They also find places to lay eggs, and shady spots for a good gossip.

Key to a nice lawn: IMO mow grass weekly as long as it grows and enjoy the friendship of grass-friendly co-habitants, don’t ever use the word weed about the lawn!