Weed & Grass Killer
2.5 gal. Ready-to-use

(42 customer reviews)
  • No harsh synthetic chemicals
  • Kills weeds to the root
  • Visible results in 3 hours
  • Safe for people, pets and planet when used as directed
  • Kills broadleaf, crabgrass, dandelion, clover, ivy and chickweed
  • Made with safe ingredients you can find in your kitchen
  • Proven Bee Safe® when used as directed

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Earth’s Ally is a non-selective, ready-to-use Weed & Grass Killer. Powered by sea salt, the Earth’s Ally formula quickly kills common weeds to the root and offers a safer alternative to harsh synthetic chemicals like glyphosate, when used as directed. Earth’s Ally kills common weeds, including broadleaf, crabgrass, dandelion, clover, ivy, chickweed and many more. It is less effective on weeds with woody stems, such as some ivies. When used as directed, Earth’s Ally weed killer delivers visible results in 3 hours and has been proven to kill weeds to the root, so you won’t end up treating the same weed repeatedly.

How To Video

Made with Safe Ingredients

  • Active Ingredients: Sodium Chloride (10.00%)
  • Inert Ingredients: Water, Vinegar, Soap (90.00%)
  • View the labels and SDS sheets here

Directions for Use

sunshine, shake, and saturate icons

For best results, use Earth’s Ally on a dry, sunny day. Shake the bottle to thoroughly mix the ingredients and saturate the weeds you want to eliminate using the stream setting, not mist. Apply generously to both the leaves and base of the weed so the sea salt makes its way to the root. Do not use during rainfall or when weeds are wet. Avoid overspray on desirable plants.

Available Sizes

  • 24 fl. oz. ready-to-use
  • 1 gal. ready-to-use
  • 2.5 gal. ready-to-use

42 reviews for Weed & Grass Killer
2.5 gal. Ready-to-use

Based on 42 reviews
Showing 12 of 42 reviews (4 star). See all 42 reviews
  1. DIYinUT

    I was honestly a little skeptical about this product, but I was wrong. This stuff works great! The ingredients are are salt, water, vinegar, and soap. when Spraying this it does have a vinegar smell, and not a chemical smell like other herbicides. I feel safe using this stuff closer to our vegetable garden and areas our kids play in as I've tended to avoid killing weeds and pull them instead. you see results from the spray in a couple of hours, but it's just the plant starting to wilt. but you definitely see results within the next day. All in all this is a great product.

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  2. mouse

    This product has been highly recommended to me by fellow gardeners who are concerned about the environment as I am. Hence this product is rated safe for pets (which I have), people (such as young grandsons which I have) and bees (which is great!). Also it grows healthier plants which delights me! As the product just arrived in the middle of rainy days here in central North Carolina, I will be using this on the next warm sunny day. Since Earth's Ally is a natural weed killer with no harsh chemicals, it is being spread along my driveway and around the flower beds. I am grateful for this product. Thank you to this manufacturer for such a great Weed and Grass Killer!

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  3. Doddco

    In today's environmental conscience atmosphere, Earth's Ally has created a weed and grass killer that is what people are looking for. I like the fact that the ingredients are safe for my pet, me, and area surrounding the places it is used. I REALLY like the fact that it works! I sprayed some weeds at 11 AM on a sunny day per the instructions. When I went back three hours later, one of the weeds was completely dead and shriveled up. Another weed was turning brown and I gave it another dose of the weed killer. Because the herbicide is non-selective, I have to be careful what the spray hits. This product will kill any plant that it hits. But the beautiful thing about this product is I don't have worry about me or anyone else, including pets, being endangered. When I initially read the ingredients, I said "I can make this myself". But then I thought about it and realized that (a) I don't know the correct formula, and (b) If I could do it myself, why haven't I? The answer is that Earth's Ally can do it a whole lot better than I. It's a great product!

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  4. BrynnT

    Earth's Ally Weed and Grass Killer. Product has all non-chemical ingredients - salt, water, vinegar, soap. I followed the directions and sprayed the weeds on a sunny day. I followed up by spraying the weeds again on the same day. Waited 2 days and checked the results. Some weeds were killed, others were non-affected (same type of weed). If you are looking for a non-chemical product, this will take multiple spraying attempts to get the weeds killed. I will stick with chemical weed killers which I only need to spray once..

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  5. GroundControll

    A weed killer that contains no harsh chemicals that could harm you or the environment? Skeptical as I was I decided to give it a try on some of my persistent weed areas and I was delightfully surprised! My weeds withered and died in just a few days! Says it contains primarily salt and soap which is enough to kill the heartiest weeds! I used it on the cracks in my driveway and on my deck. Worked great!

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  6. Dave

    I live in south Florida. Weeds in my yard are a constant problem, and the weeds down here are very resistant to weed killers. This one works on some, not on others. This product will kill soft stem weeds and grasses. However, most weeds down here are hard stem and are not going to be affected by this product. I would recommend this to homeowners in the northern areas. As you can see by my pictures, there are some weeds that have had absolutely no adverse affects and others that it killed quickly.

    (0) (0)
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By Angelo Randaci, Earth’s Ally Horticulturist

More about the author: Angelo's passion for plants has led him to explore many areas of horticulture over the last three decades including: design, grounds management, research, technical training and nursery management. Read more about Angelo's experience and credentials or ask him a question, here.

Personal stewardship is an innate human duty. New technologies, research, and understanding have allowed us to make better choices as stewards of our lands. We are the custodians, the caretakers. We oversee the work of nature by watching, studying, exploring, and learning.

One way to become mindful of how we treat our planet is by making incremental improvements. And we will become better stewards by transforming our gardening practices, by switching to more environmentally friendly methods both inside and outside our homes. It begins by taking small steps. Here are 5 small changes we can make to help the planet. 

1. Commit to Less Lawn

Every year, American homeowners consume nearly 3 trillion gallons of water, 200 million gallons of gas (from mowing), and 70 million pounds of assorted pesticides to have a well-maintained lawn. All of those have a heavy environmental impact, but the devastating impact of these practices does not stop there. Lawns provide virtually no habitat for pollinators or other animals vital to our ecosystem. Pesticides and synthetic fertilizers applied to our lawns enter our rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans through runoff into our sewer systems.

Ways To Reduce Personal Impact

Look for places in your yard you can easily change to create a more diverse and sustainable landscape. These changes can begin with attention to conserving water and protecting wildlife. One way would be to dedicate an area of your lawn to growing a mixture of wildflowers, annuals, and native plants or allowing wildflowers to remain in your lawn.

Overhead view of a grass lawn with flowering weeds scattered throughout.

If you are a bit too hesitant to begin big garden projects, simply begin by going for a more naturalized look. Plant low-growing turf species that require little or no mowing. Check with your local extension service to see which no-mow plants work best in your area. There are also commercially available no-mow lawn mixes which include creeping bunch-forming fescues that maintain a low profile.

Consider transforming lawn areas into attractive, functional outdoor living spaces as an extension of your home. Add a patio, deck, or fire pit for entertaining. Surround your new living space with beautiful plantings, incorporating a potpourri of different elements of color and appeal.

2. Collect Rainwater

Have you ever noticed how much your plants green-up after a good rain? It’s because our atmosphere contains 78 percent nitrogen. Rain distributes nitrogen from the atmosphere to the soil where microorganisms convert the nitrogen to a usable form for plant growth. Rainwater is a sustainable, healthy source of water for all your garden plants, both inside and out. Consider joining the movement of gardeners harvesting rainwater.

Compelling Reasons to Harvest Rainwater 

Municipal water contains salts as well as treatment chemicals and pharmaceuticals. These salts and chemicals that accumulate over time are stressful to your plants. Plants that are stressed are more prone to disease and pest damage. Houseplants are especially affected because these harmful residues (especially fluorides) become even more concentrated when plants are grown in containers.

The pH of your water source can also affect plant growth. The pH of rainwater is usually anywhere from 5.6 to 7 which is better for your plants than city water, which is often more alkaline. Collecting rainwater will also provide you with a supplemental (and free) supply of water during periods when water is scarce.

One of the easiest and most affordable ways to collect rainwater is by using a rain barrel. Your roof collects a lot of water during even moderate rainstorms. A 500 square foot roof can fill a 50-gallon rain barrel in about one hour from 1/8 inch of rain. Rain barrels are easy to install. Simply position your rain barrel below the downspout of your gutter system.

Rain barrels usually come equipped with a spigot or hose for easy water collecting and an overflow valve in case your barrel fills to the top. You can also connect the hose to a drip irrigation for your garden. Place a screen over the top to filter debris build-up. Keep your gutters and downspouts clean and free of debris. You may need to rinse the barrel periodically to remove sediment. If you live in areas where freezing occurs, be sure to empty your rain barrel beforehand. You can store seasonal rains for use during dry periods. Be sure to check with your local laws regarding the use of rain barrels.

3. Stop Using Synthetic Chemical Weed Killers: Only Use Bee Safe Weed Killers

Synthetic weed killers are destructive both inside and outside your home. Harmful chemicals can travel through storm drains into streams, lakes, and the water table. Granular weed killers are easily brought into the home environment via shoes, pets, and clothing. These chemicals are especially toxic to young children and pets.

Synthetic chemicals are not good for the soil either. Residue from these chemicals are persistent in the soil and can kill beneficial fungi and other organisms that are vital to soil health. There is also an increasing issue of weeds becoming resistant to synthetic weed killers. 

Only Use Bee Safe Weed Killers

Keeping pollinators is vital to our existence. Some weed killers are known to be harmful to bees and other pollinators.  Here are tips on how to control weeds without killing bees:

Plants such as clover and dandelions are extremely attractive to bees and other pollinators either in your lawn or landscaped areas. Spray weeds before they begin flowering and attracting bees. You can also do your mowing before spraying weeds in your lawn to eliminate flowers attractive to bees. This will reduce the chance of bees landing on flowers and coming in contact with the spray.

Do your spraying during the early hours before bees become active or late in the evening when bees are finished for the day.

Pull weeds manually. There are a number of different tools available to the home gardener that will make pulling weeds easier. Do your manual weeding after a rain while the soil is soft and pliable. Pull weeds before they go to seed.

Provide a protective covering for your soil with mulch, groundcovers, cover crops, and perennials. Mulch your plants to protect soil, reduce runoff, suppress weeds, add organic matter to your soil, and conserve water. Groundcovers provide a living mulch. Once established, many groundcovers provide the same benefits as mulch while adding beauty and interest to the garden. Plant cover crops during off season periods to compete with weeds while improving soil structure by adding organic matter as well as nutrients to the soil. Incorporate robust, fast growing perennials with large canopies to crowd out weeds.

Avoid bare areas in your garden. Bare spots are competition-free and thus the best places for weed seeds to germinate. Re-plant bare spots before weeds can find a home there. Build your soil with plenty of organic matter or plant in raised beds. Weeds are much easier to pull in good garden soil.

Kill weeds using a Bee Safe® product such as Earth's Ally Weed & Grass Killer.

4. Compost Kitchen Scraps

Repurpose food scraps to cut down on the massive amounts of food waste rotting in landfills. As they decompose, they release greenhouse gases into our atmosphere such as methane. Methane is a major contributor to global warming. Food waste can easily be recycled into compost adding valuable organic material to renew and rejuvenate depleted soils.

If you have space on your property, either purchase a composting bin for your food waste, or construct a simple enclosure to hold your waste out of wire, wood, or cinder blocks. If space is limited, a compost tumbler is another option. They are available in compact sizes for small spaces such as condos or apartment balconies.

The composting cycle consists of vegetable and fruit scraps (no animal or dairy waste) or food scraps mixed with other natural materials such as leaves, grass clippings, and weeds. Over time, moisture and heat break down these materials. Turn your pile periodically to introduce air which will keep your mixture from odors. If you have a compost tumbler, simply rotate the drum to mix materials and increase air. The result is nutritionally rich compost for use anywhere in your garden.

Composting Tips

You can use your blender to speed up decomposition of food scraps and reduce bulk.

Find a pail with a tight-fitting lid and keep it on your countertop. Once filled, you can empty the contents to your outdoor bin or tumbler. Make sure it is washable and has a handle for easy transport outdoors.

If you cannot compost at home, freeze your scraps in a biodegradable trash bag until trash pickup day or for transport to your collection site.

Check with your municipality. Many offer pickup services in residential areas and even offer bins to collect food waste. This food waste, once processed into compost, can be put to good use in places such as community gardens, schools, and city landscape services to beautify our communities.

5. Create an Environment for Pollinators

Pollinators are vital to our survival. About 75% of the more than 1,300 types of plants grown around the world grow in abundance because of bees, butterflies, moths, birds, bats wasps, flies, and beetles. Over half the of all fats and oils produced worldwide comes from crops pollinated by one or more of these pollinators. Their importance cannot be overstated. Overall, pollinators perform an essential role in the reproduction of 90% of the world’s flowering plants.

We can do our part by helping pollinators in our own backyards.

Plant more flowers. Create garden spaces with an attractive array of plants. Choose varieties that produce abundant nectar and pollen. Add plants that include a diversity of seasonal blooming plants. Interplant long blooming perennials with annuals, herbs, and wildflowers. Create a backdrop of flowering shrubs and trees to complete the design. Even if you have limited space, you can plant containers with some of your favorite flowers.

Provide a Water Source for Pollinators

Pollinators will seek out water, especially during hot summer days. Add a decorative fountain, bird feeder or birdbath to your design. Pollinators will have a water source and you can enjoy watching your new garden visitors. Add pebbles or stones to an area of your water source to serve as a perch or landing strip for them to drink.

Buy Organic Foods and Products

Organic foods are not only better for you, but they support healthy pollinator communities as well. This will help cut down on the demand for crops grown with synthetic pesticides.

We’d love to hear how Earth’s Ally is helping you care for the planet! Share your experience and stay connected with the #EarthsAlly community on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for access to our latest blog posts, giveaways and exclusive promotions.

quotation mark right Bee Safe Weed Killer & Easy Ways to Make Your Garden More Eco-Friendly
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Earth’s Ally has committed to donating 5% of profits to Pollinator Partnership (P2), the world’s largest 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to protecting the health of pollinators, critical to food and ecosystems, through conservation, education and research.

Pollinators such as bees, birds and bats play a vital role in food supply, with three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants and approximately 35% of the world’s food crops dependent on pollinators to reproduce. A steady decline in the health of pollinator populations has been attributed to climate change, loss of habitat, pests and pathogens, and the misuse of chemical pesticides that are toxic to bees.

"You can have a positive impact on pollinators right from your backyard,” said Kelly Rourke, Executive Director of the Pollinator Partnership.“ Creating a habitat for bees to forage and making environmentally responsible choices to protect them is vital to improving the health of pollinators. Choosing pesticides that are non-toxic to bees is one simple choice with a big impact.”

Earth's Ally Weed & Grass Killer, 3-in-1 Plant Spray, Insect Control and Disease Control products have been scrutinized and test­ed by independent laboratories to ensure all formulas are bee safe.

“By using Earth’s Ally products, you can do your part to safeguard pollinators and know you’re using a formula that is a better choice for your family and pets, too,” said Scott Allshouse, CEO and President of Earth’s Ally. “We’re excited to partner with P2 to educate consumers about the importance of bee conservation through the Bee Smart® School Garden Kit and National Pollinator Week initiatives. We look forward to expanding our partnership with P2 as our company grows.”

National Pollinator Week is an annual event celebrated internationally in support of pollinator health. It is held on the last full week in June each year. The Bee Smart® School Garden Kit provides teachers nationwide with curriculum, activities and materials to educate students in grades 3-6 about pollinator conservation in a fun and engaging way. For teachers interested in receiving a kit sponsored by Earth’s Ally, visit earthsally.com/bees.

quotation mark right Earth’s Ally Commits 5% of Profits to Pollinator Conservation
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By Angelo Randaci, Earth’s Ally Horticulturist

More about the author: Angelo's passion for plants has led him to explore many areas of horticulture over the last three decades including: design, grounds management, research, technical training and nursery management. Read more about Angelo's experience and credentials or ask him a question, here.

Milkweeds have served both humans and animals throughout our history in many remarkable ways. Native Americans used milkweed plants as a food and medicine once properly prepared. They also made twine and rope from the course, stringy stems. Even the white, silky fluff attached to the seeds had practical uses. The fluff has great insulating properties and was used by Americans to stuff mattresses and pillows as well as to line clothing, blankets, and footwear.

Milkweeds Attract Pollinators in Great Numbers

There are more than 100 different species of native milkweeds found in North and Central America which serve as shelter, nesting habitat, and as a food source for numerous animal species. Over 450 species of insects rely on milkweed plants as a food source, including different species of butterflies and bees. Bees and butterflies, including the monarch butterfly, flock to the nectar of milkweed blooms. All milkweed species serve as critical hosts for monarch butterflies. Milkweed is an exclusive food for monarch caterpillars and a host plant for the tussock moth and ladybugs. You will often see different species of butterflies and bees feeding on milkweed plants at the same time.

Besides attracting multitudes of pollinators, milkweeds will unify diverse gardens with beautiful native plants. There are milkweed species that are native to most regions of the USA. They are classic American wildflowers that deserve a place in all American gardens.

What Does Milkweed Look Like?

Milkweeds are wonderful additions to the garden. Because they can be found in almost any habitat whether dry, wet, or standard garden soil, the milkweed group offers a vibrant spectrum of different colors and forms to fit most any garden situation wherever you live. The showy clusters of flowers are a magnet for butterflies and pollinators.

Three main species of native milkweeds, found throughout most of the US are mentioned here: Common Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed, and Butterfly Weeds. Each of them has attractive pod-like fruits and display white fluffy hairs (also called floss, pappus, coma or silk) attached to each seed to facilitate their wind dispersal. They will thrive in a wide range of garden and meadow habitats from the eastern seaboard to the Rocky Mountains, including parts of Canada.

Fragrant blossoms of common milkweed attract multitudes of pollinators.

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) – USDA hardiness zones 3-10b

Common milkweed is a widespread species found throughout most of the eastern United States as well as southern Canada from New Brunswick to Saskatchewan. It grows to 5 feet tall and doesn’t need staking. Although frequently found growing along fence rows, roadsides, in fields, prairies and pastures, it shines in the garden with its impressive flowering show. Sweetly scented flowers from June to August are borne in 2-5 umbels clustered at the top of the plant. Flowers range in colors from greenish pink to rosy pink, to purplish pink. The pods are another ornamental feature. The green pods are about 4 inches long, turning brown at maturity.

Seed pods are an attractive ornamental feature.

These perennials spread through rhizomes and often appear to travel through the garden. These are easily controlled although allowing them to move through the garden will help create a pollinator heaven.

Swamp Milkweed in the perennial border in combination with false sunflowers.

Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) - USDA zones 3-10b. Swamp milkweed is also found growing throughout most of the US but the only one that grows in moist, wetland areas in full sun. Delicately scented flowers appear on 3–5-foot plants in shades of light pink, reddish violet or occasionally white. Besides planting along edges of ponds and streams, swamp milkweed is ideal for sunny borders, cottage gardens, wet meadows, and rain gardens. Three popular varieties of swamp milkweed include ‘Ice Ballet’ a white flowered form as well as two pink selections, ‘Soulmate’ and ‘Cinderella’.

Butterfly weed’s short, compact growing habit make it ideal for the front or middle of the garden.

Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) – USDA zones 3-9. Butterfly weed, unlike swamp milkweed, is commonly found in dry open habitats and is common in prairies and grasslands of the Midwest and Great Plains. It is found growing in gardens from Maine to South Dakota and southwest to Florida. Unlike other species of milkweed butterfly weed does not contain the characteristic thick milky sap but has a watery translucent sap instead. This hardy perennial is often planted in garden borders for its reliable bright orange or yellow flowers for up to two months during the summer. Growing only to 2 feet, it makes a wonderful plant for the front or middle of the border. The erect seedpods create a unique display in autumn.

Butterfly weed upright seed pods.

How to Grow Milkweed in Your Home Garden

Growing: You can either purchase plants or start them from seeds. Purchasing plants will give you a flowering plant much sooner but if a quantity of plants is needed, sowing seeds is the way to go. Seeds require a cold period to break dormancy. Remove seeds from the fluff, place in a damp paper towel and into a plastic bag. Label and date the baggie and place in the refrigerator for 30 days. Remove and sow in containers of your choice until large enough to plant into the garden.

Research which milkweeds are native to your area. Native plant nurseries are the best sources of information. Visit your local native plant nursery if you have one nearby, or purchase plants for your area through the mail. Depending on your hardiness zone, planting non-native milkweed can disrupt the migration patterns of pollinators. When this happens, it can negatively impact pollination in different regions, having the opposite intended effect.

Purchasing rooted plants will give you a blooming plant much sooner than if you start milkweeds from seeds. Seedlings will not bloom until the third season of growth. Also, many species of milkweed seeds need to go through a cold period before they will germinate.

Planting: Young plants have delicate root systems that do not like to be disturbed. Plant carefully at the same depth that your plant came in the pot in a well-draining soil. Keep your plants watered until they become established but do not keep the soil saturated. Avoid competition from other plants while your milkweed is in early stages of growth.

Managing your plants: Most milkweed species form colonies by spreading via rhizomes and seeds.If growing in a meadow or wildflower situation, they will spread naturally, but care must be taken if growing in a small garden area. This is especially true if planting common milkweed. You can keep it from spreading by removing the seed pods before they open and disperse their seeds. To manage the rhizomatous habit, plant in a raised bed or in a container sunken in the ground.

Staking: Milkweeds grow on sturdy stems, so no staking is necessary.

Watering: While swamp milkweed varieties require a moist environment or regular watering, common milkweeds and butterfly weeds prefer a dry environment and will not need water once established.

Fertilizing: Milkweeds perform well poor soils and do not require fertilization.

Mulching: You may mulch milkweeds for weed control but avoid adding too much mulch to milkweeds that prefer dry soil.

Trimming & Pruning: You do not need to prune or trim your plants.

Dividing & Transplanting: Not recommended. All Milkweed, and swamp milkweed in particular, develop a deep tap-root, and do not like to be disturbed once established.

Milkweed Pests & Diseases

While the sticky white sap exuded from milkweeds contain toxic chemicals to deter many insect pests, certain insects are immune to the toxins and will even thrive on milkweed plants. Depending on where you live, milkweeds attract a variety of unwanted pests such as aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, thrips, milkweed beetles and milkweed bugs.

Aphids infesting butterfly milkweed plant.

Milkweed bugs, and milkweed beetles are usually not a problem unless they reach large numbers on your plants. The easiest way to control them is to prepare a container of soapy water and either tap the plants over the soapy container to remove bugs or put on gloves and run your hand along the stems to remove the bugs over your container of soapy water.

Milkweed bug on green milkweed flower

Be sure to identify the pest before taking any action. You can collect pest samples or take pictures of them to your local extension office for identification. Choose Bee Safe® pesticides; avoid synthetic pesticides that cause harm to beneficial insects as well as monarchs, their caterpillars, and other pollinators. Follow label instructions and precautions. Aphids, whiteflies, spider mites, and thrips are easily controlled by Earth’s Ally 3- in-1 or Earth’s Ally Insect Control safely and effectively.

Toxicity: is Milkweed Poisonous?

Toxicity: The milky sap contains toxins which are toxic to animals and humans if consumed in large quantities. Animals and people usually avoid them because of the extremely bitter taste. Wash hands and wear gardening gloves if handling because the milky sap may irritate eyes and skin.

We’d love to hear how Earth’s Ally is helping you grow healthy pollinator gardens. Share your experience with our bee safe formulas and stay connected with the #EarthsAlly community on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for access to our latest blog posts, giveaways and exclusive promotions.

quotation mark right The Magical Milkweed Plant
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By Angelo Randaci, Earth’s Ally Horticulturist

More about the author: Angelo's passion for plants has led him to explore many areas of horticulture over the last three decades including: design, grounds management, research, technical training and nursery management. Read more about Angelo's experience and credentials or ask him a question, here.

Why You Should Build a Bee House

You might be surprised to learn that of the 20,000 known species of bees in the world, only about 2% of them are bumblebees and honeybees. The rest are solitary bees. Native solitary bees differ from honeybees in that they live alone, though they often nest close to one another. Rather than living in a community where social bees work together to raise young, the female solitary bee does all the work of the nesting process alone. 

Native solitary bees are responsible for the pollination of an estimated 80% of flowering plants around the world. They are declining due to threats from climate change, loss of habitat, pests, and pathogens, and the misuse of chemical pesticides that are toxic to bees. As a matter of fact, more than 40% of insect pollinators, mostly native bees, are highly threatened.

We can help these remarkable, underappreciated pollinators by providing a suitable environment for them. One of the best ways is to create a pollinator-friendly garden as well as provide a nesting habitat right in our own backyard.

What is a Bee House?

A bee house is a structure, sometimes called a bee or bug hotel, that serves as a nesting site for native solitary bees. Bee houses will not only help increase declining pollinator populations, but they will also increase crop yields of our garden plants and even give us prettier flowers. Here is a plan to make a simple bee house out of wood.

DIY Bee House Materials

  • 4 pieces of wood. Be sure to use untreated wood. Mine are about 5x5 inches square but they do not need to be a certain size.
  • 1 piece of wood to use as a mounting plate for your bee house. Mine is about 10x10 inches.
  • Roofing material. I used a roofing shingle, cut to shape. 
  • Screws and tacks for the walls and roof. 
  • Wire or string for the mounting plate. 
  • Hammer, screwdriver, drill to make pilot holes. 
  • Paper straws for the tubing. I used paper straws because I won’t need to clean them out at the end of the season. I can just remove the straws, discard them, and replace with new ones.

A note for parents: for another kid-friendly version of the bee house, we also love how 2 Paws Designs used an upcycled plastic bottle and paper grocery bags.


Step 1

Cut 4 sections of wood for the walls. Attach the sections of wood together using the screws.  Join the 4 walls so one end overlaps the other.  I pre-drilled pilot holes for each screw first to make it easier to screw the pieces together.

Step 2

Attach the walls to the mounting plate.

You can trace the outline of your walls on the mounting plate as a guide before screwing into position.

Step 3

Attach the roof using small tacks or screws.  You can paint the bee house if desired or let it weather naturally. I painted a yellow edge on mine to help attract pollinators.

Step 4

Cut the paper straw tubing. Fill the entire space for a snug fit.

Step 5

Drill 2 holes in the mounting plate to attach the wire.

How Do you Attract Bees to a Bee House?

Place your bee house against a solid object in a wind-protected area without vegetation blocking the entrance. The front of the house should face south or southeast to provide the most sun and warmth during morning hours. Many bees search for pollen and nectar within 300 feet of the bee house, so try and place your bee house near pollinating plants. 


Nesting materials will need to be cleaned out on an annual basis each year or discarded. Keep an eye out for emerging bees in the spring. The tubes which have been sealed after egg laying will now be open.  Once they have emerged, you can clean out the tubes or replace them.   

Nesting Materials

Solitary bees will make nests in hollow stalks or holes in soil, sand, clay, or mortar. Natural nesting plant materials include asters, bee balm, reeds, honeysuckle, Joe-Pye weed, raspberries, blackberries, sumac, or any plant with a hollow stem. The bee house can include a mixture of tubes in different sizes using different materials. While solitary bees make nests in hollow stalks of reeds and twigs, your bee house can be made from any materials that provide shelter and protection. These include wood, recycled plastic bottles, coffee cans, or even bundled cardboard tubes, as well as paper straws.

 Mason bees nesting in bamboo canes in spring. The entrance is sealed after eggs are laid. 

Additional Tips and Pollinator Garden Notes

Plant a diversity of pollen and nectar sources native to your area that bloom throughout your growing season.  This will increase habitat for native bees. Include native plants and native pollinators. Many native bee species need to provide their young with pollen from native plants, so including natives will increase the diversity of native bee species. 

Provide a source of clean water and mud, which is used as a nesting material by some bee species. You can also provide nesting habitat for native bees by leaving fall debris in your garden beds and waiting for spring to do your garden cleanup. Solitary bees and other beneficial insects often spend winter months protected among garden debris. Some species of butterflies and moths will spend the winter in the layer of dead plant material as well. 

In your garden, avoid using conventional pesticides and consider Bee Safe® alternatives, like Earth’s Ally. Always read pesticide labels and use formulas that are proven safe and effective. Limit applications to early morning or evening hours when bees are not actively foraging.  

We’d love to hear how Earth’s Ally is helping you grow healthy pollinator gardens. Share your experience with our bee safe formulas and stay connected with the #EarthsAlly community on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for access to our latest blog posts, giveaways and exclusive promotions.

quotation mark right How to Build a DIY Bee House
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By Angelo Randaci, Earth’s Ally Horticulturist

More about the author: Angelo's passion for plants has led him to explore many areas of horticulture over the last three decades including: design, grounds management, research, technical training and nursery management. Read more about Angelo's experience and credentials or ask him a question, here.

Celebrate Pollinator Week with a Pollinator Garden

Pollinator Week, celebrated the third full week each June, was initiated in 2007 and is managed by Pollinator Partnership. This is an important time to raise awareness for bees and other pollinators and spread the word about what we can do to protect them.

Did you know that three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants and about 35% of the world’s food production is dependent on pollinators? One way you can celebrate Pollinator Week and support pollinator health in your own community is to plant a pollinator garden.

What is a Pollinator Garden?

A pollinator garden is designed to attract butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, moths, and a wide range of pollinating insects. A pollinator garden should include a broad array of flowers to attract a diversity of pollinators. Attracting bees, butterflies, and birds will bring movement and a sense of serenity to the garden.

How To Attract Bees to Your Garden With a Bee Friendly Design

A great garden often begins with a great plan and the first step in creating greatness begins with creating healthy fertile soil.  The soil should drain well and contain plenty of organic matter. You can grow most plants in this type of soil.  

What Do Bees Like?

  • In general, bees tend to be attracted to purples, yellows and whites. Red flowers attract more hummingbirds and butterflies.
  • Bumble bees forage on members of the pea family. Lupines and beans are popular with bumble bee species.
  • Pollinators are especially attracted to plants they are used to, so choose native plants from your region.
  • Plant open single flowers. Their design is more user friendly to pollinators; geraniums, poppies, daisies and other daisy-type flowers. The single flowers provide easier access than double flowers.
  • Bees require water during foraging and collecting nectar, so create some type of water source. Fill a bird bath or other container with clean water and add stones just above the water level to serve as a landing strip.

For a constant supply of food for the pollinators, include nectar-rich plants that bloom from early spring until late fall. An assortment of long blooming and seasonal nectar plants provide food to attracted pollinators. Along with early spring, long blooming plants, and late season choices you can add a sprinkle of your favorite annuals to top off your design.

Bee Friendly Plants

Here are a few tips and some of the best pollinator plants to carry the garden from Spring to Fall.

  • Spring: For a delightful spring display, add early blooming bulbs. Purchase in the fall and work them throughout your garden for a stunning spring display. Crocus, bluebells, daffodils and grape hyacinths will attract early season pollinators. Columbines (Aquilegia canadensis) and foxgloves (Digitalis sp.) are biennials that will bloom in early spring and self-seed throughout the garden. If you have space for trees, plant trees such as apples, crab apples, serviceberry tree (Amelanchier spp.) and cherries.
  • Long-Blooming Plants: Sprinkle groupings of the following perennials to add long blooming color and insect food sources. Coneflowers (Echinacea sp.), Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia sp.), Tickseed (Coreopsis sp.), Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia), Yarrow, Gaillardia, and Catmint (Nepeta sp.)
  • Late-Season Plants: The late blooming plants will extend the blooming season up until frost. Top late summer pollen plants include Asters, Goldenrods, Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana), Sneezeweed (Helenium sp.), Sedums, Joe Pye Weed, Ironweed, Blazing Star, Russian Sage, Asters, Mums (single flowered), Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) and Lavender.
  • Annuals and Herbs: Add bee-friendly annuals such as cosmos, dahlias (single flowered), ageratums, alyssum, milkweeds (Asclepias, annual and perennial species), and sunflowers. Favorite herbs of bees include anise, bee balm, borage, catnip, chives, hyssop, rosemary, valerian and mints.

All the plants on the above list will provide a bee banquet for your pollinator garden. Always check to see what plants will grow in your area.

A Few Tips & Tricks For Your Organic Garden

  • If you have limited in space, then plant pollinator plants in containers. Containers are versatile, moveable and changeable throughout the season.
  • Inter-mix bee friendly flowers with different flower/petal shapes and types. The reason to use different shaped flower parts is to provide pollen sources for insects with varying mouthpart types. Grow tubular-shaped flowers like foxglove, honeysuckle, penstemons and snapdragons.
  • Allow wildflowers such as clover, daisies and dandelions to populate your lawn providing additional nectar sources.
  • If you have an existing garden, simply add nectar plants to your annual or perennial border. Many of your plants may already be insect friendly plants.
  • Plant a variety of flowering plants around and in your vegetable garden to promote pollination of your veggies.
  • Add shrubs to provide flowering backdrop to your pollinator-friendly garden. Shrubs to attract pollinators include: Viburnums, Weigelia, Lilac, Sumersweet (Clethra alnifolia), Oak Leaf Hydrangea and Cotoneaster.
  • Many insects, butterflies and moths get most of their nectar from the thousands of flowers produced by trees. Here are a few good choices; Lindens, Hawthorns and Crape Myrtles. Besides being a food source, trees provide essential habitat. Leaves and resin from trees provide nesting material and wood cavities are used as shelters.

Use Organic Principles

When creating a habitat for pollinators to forage and thrive, avoid application of chemical pesticides that are toxic to the environment, to your family and to the pollinators. Sticky traps and organic controls are effective alternatives.

It is essential to check the ingredient list on all garden products. Beware of toxic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicide ingredients such as rotenone, pyrethrins, spinosad, diatomaceous earth, copper sulfate, and insecticidal soaps and oils. Moderately toxic ingredients include boric acid, neem, ryania, sulphur and copper. Review the “Environmental Hazards” section of the label to see if the product is toxic to bees.

If possible, wait until after blooming season to apply pesticides and only apply the products to affected plants. If you need to control pests, spray within 2 hours of sunrise or sunset to minimize risk to bees.

At Earth's Ally, we are committed to protecting our pollinators. We offer a complete lineup of Bee Safe® gardening products that have been scrutinized and tested by independent laboratories to ensure they are both effective and safe for People, Pets & Planet.

When we developed Earth’s Ally Insect Control and 3-in-1 Plant Spray, we tested extensively to ensure there was not harm to the bee population. Both are formulated with essential oils to knockdown soft-bodied insects. The OMRI Listed® formulas leave behind no harmful residues and can be used up until the day of harvest.

We’d love to hear how Earth’s Ally is helping you grow healthy pollinator gardens. Share your experience with our bee safe formulas and stay connected with the #EarthsAlly community on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for access to our latest blog posts, giveaways and exclusive promotions.

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By Angelo Randaci, Earth’s Ally Horticulturist

More about the author: Angelo's passion for plants has led him to explore many areas of horticulture over the last three decades including: design, grounds management, research, technical training and nursery management. Read more about Angelo's experience and credentials or ask him a question, here.

Expansive lawns were fashionable in the suburbs years ago. Perfectly manicured lawns groomed with amazing precision, and hedgerows pruned to perfection surrounded the city perimeter in the suburbs. Those meandering lawns were often adorned by annual and perennial flower beds. Hidden at the back of the property, tucked away behind the garage is where you could find the vegetable and herb gardens. The gardening techniques of the day focused mostly on chemical usage that ended up doing more harm than good. Racheal Carson, in her book Silent Spring, was one of the first conservationists to point out the destructive spiral we created with all the layers of chemical care poisoning our environment. Times have changed and much of the chemical usage has been curbed or even banned. All these years later you can have your green lawn without negative environmental impact.

Turfgrass management has gone through encouraging changes over the years. We now have a rising number of environmentally conscious companies using products that will positively impact the environment. Growing your lawn organically focuses on the overall health of your outdoor environment without causing harm to people, pets, and wildlife. Individual changes may sound insignificant against the backdrop of the climate crisis we face today but any change each of us makes to change the environment positively is one tiny but important step forward. If everyone changes their chemical gardening habits, we will see a change in the environmental impact. 

An effective organic lawn protocol will use cultural control methods to avoid stress before it begins to create an environment for disease or insect problems. Just as preventative medicine is vital for our health, prevention and care are the keys to growing strong, healthy lawns using organic fertilizers and amendments that function as soil conditioners. These products contain microorganisms beneficial to the soil structure while also adding organic matter to the soil. 

What Are Cultural Control Practices in Gardening?

Cultural controls are methods used to modify the lawn environment to reduce the need for chemicals and avoid plant stress. Since plants under stress are more prone to disease outbreaks, good cultural practices are key to reducing disease.
Test your soil for pH and nutrient levels. A soil test provides an estimate of your plant-available nutrients and will tell you whether you need to adjust the pH. 

A buildup of thatch and compacted soils are common problems in existing lawns. Thatch is a combination of dead and living plant matter that accumulates at the base of your grass where the stems meet the soil. This can occur as a result of organic matter building up more quickly than the older organic matter can break down. Dethatching and aerating are useful steps for preparing the soil to accept soil amendments. A dethatching machine or dethatching rake removes this layer allowing water and soil amendments to penetrate to plant roots. A thatch layer of ½ inch is acceptable but if the thatch layer becomes too thick (1 inch or more) it can prevent air, water, and nutrients from reaching roots. It may also promote lawn diseases and insect infestations.

While dethatching removes the top-most layer of dead grass, aerating involves perforating the soil with small holes or removing plugs to aerate the soil.

This will also help water and fertilizer to penetrate the root layer. Aerating is especially beneficial to alleviate soil compaction in areas that receive heavy foot traffic. Follow recommendations from experts in your area on organic lawn care. They can help you work out a plan for either revitalizing or renovating your lawn.

Top-dress your lawn by spreading and raking in a thin layer of soil or compost 1/8 to 1/2 inches over your lawn. This will help improve drainage, reduce thatch, and add nutrients to the soil. Top dress after dethatching or aerating for greater penetration.

Using a mulching mower to return grass clippings to the lawn is valuable as well. The clippings decompose quickly adding nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and micronutrients back into the soil. Keep mower blades sharp. Dull blades leave a jagged edge on grass tips which invites pests and disease. A fresh cut will help the grass to heal faster reducing stress. Do not remove more than one-third of the grass height at a time. 

How to Identify and Control Lawn Disease

The first step to solving a disease is to identify what is causing the problem. Fungal diseases occur during times of stress. The type and amount of fungal damage will vary depending on where you live. Warm-season grasses are stressed during abnormally cool temperatures, whereas cool-season grasses are most stressed during warmer than normal conditions. The following list of diseases, symptoms, signs, and controls will help you identify your turf disease. Search online for pictures to help you identify the problem. Take pictures of your turf to your local extension office for help.

All lawn diseases mentioned here can be treated using Earth’s Ally Disease Control for Lawns. It’s a new generation of disease control formulated from food-grade citric acid. The formula leaves no harmful residue on turf. Earth’s Ally can be safely applied year-round and has been independently tested and proven safe for bees. The bottle connects directly to garden hoses and the concentrated formula automatically mixes with water and treats up to 5,000 sq. ft.

Brown Patch (Rhizoctonia spp.)

Brown patch can infect all species of warm- and cool-season turfgrasses. The list includes tall fescue, St. Augustine grass, bentgrasses, centipedegrass, bermudagrass, and ryegrass. The problem occurs mostly during high daytime humidity and nighttime temperatures around 65 degrees. Favorable conditions for disease development can occur from late April through October. Prolonged wet soil and leaves along with high levels of nitrogen help spread the disease. 

Symptoms and Signs: Look for blighted leaf blades appearing in circular brown or straw-colored patches. Webbing may be visible during early morning hours. 

Rust (Puccinia spp.)

Zoysia, perennial ryegrass, and Kentucky bluegrass are primarily affected by this disease. The problem mostly occurs during late summer and early fall but can occur during the spring months as well. Shady areas with stagnant air movement are prime areas for this disease to thrive.

Symptoms and signs: From a distance, this disease appears as irregular light-green or yellow patches, but if you look closely, you will see orange-yellow spores on the grass blades. 

Dollar Spot (Sclerotinia homoeocarpa)

Dollar spot can attack all species of both warm- and cool-season turfgrasses. Dry soil conditions along with low nitrogen levels promote dollar spot. 

Symptoms and Signs: Symptoms include small circular straw-colored sections and may resemble Brown patch. Leaf-blades may display straw-colored lesions along one edge of the blade. White fungus may be evident during early morning hours. 

Anthracnose (Colletotrichum cereale)

Anthracnose is a disease that can affect all turf species but is most often found on bentgrass and Kentucky bluegrass. The disease often develops because of stress during the heat of summer. It is often found on golf courses where the turf is intensely managed. 

Symptoms and Signs: Grass blades turn a tan-yellowish color in irregular patches. Basal rot from anthracnose is normally seen in late autumn to early spring.

Summer Patch (Magnaporthiopsis poae)

Summer patch is a root and crown disease of annual bluegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and fine fescues. The main causes are summer heat stress and/or drought conditions. Creeping bentgrass, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescues are highly resistant. 

Symptoms and Signs: Small 2–4-inch diameter patches are often noticed first but as the disease progresses, the patches become progressively larger and may be anywhere from two inches to three feet in diameter. Patches can appear in different shapes and sizes together in an area in the form of rings, crescents, or spots. The fungus colonizes on the surface of the roots during spring through fall but signs of disease do not become visible until the turf is subjected to summer heat stress conditions. arly spring.

Powdery Mildew (Blumeria graminis)

Powdery mildew is almost always found in shaded turf areas. Kentucky bluegrass is most susceptible to this disease. It generally appears in late summer and fall and is rarely fatal.

Symptoms and Signs: Gray to white spore masses appear on the upper surface of the leaves. The turf area infected will eventually develop a gray cast. Although leaves may turn yellow, the plants usually survive. 

Abiotic Disorders

Abiotic disorders are those caused by non-living agents. These include environmental conditions such as the ones listed below. 

Irrigation: Uneven irrigation from a broken sprinkler head will create a brown patch on the lawn. If your lawn is irrigated, check sprinkler heads often to make sure they are spaced so they don’t miss any areas and are in working order.

Animal Urine: Animal urine (especially dogs) will also cause brown patches in your lawn. This occurs most often during periods of high temperatures and drought conditions. Typical damage appears as a brown spot with a darker green outer ring. If you do not own a pet, observe areas of your lawn where others walk their dogs, especially along sidewalks.

Fertilizer Damage: Uneven application of fertilizer may cause streaks of dark green grass next to missed areas which will remain light green. Be careful not to spill fertilizer on your lawn when filling your applicator as this will also cause brown patches from fertilizer burn. 

Heat and Drought Stress: Turfgrass contains approximately 80 percent water. Lack of water along with high temperatures may cause your lawn to exhibit browning. Some species may go completely dormant. Most often your lawn will recover when it receives adequate moisture either from rain or irrigation. A sign of overly dry turf is when footprints or mower tire tracks do not recover quickly by bouncing back. 

Shade: Most varieties of turf will be thin in shaded areas, especially near trees. Replace thin turf with shade-loving groundcovers with pathways to reduce foot traffic damage. 

Chemicals, Gas, and Oil Damage: Turf can be damaged by household chemicals and petroleum products. Do not clean tools or other items with caustic chemicals such as paint thinners, bleach products, etc. on your turf. Do not fill mowers with gas or oil where they can spill on your lawn. Check mowing equipment for oil and gas leaks. 

Ice Damage: I have seen damage from people dumping ice buckets on the turf after entertaining events during the summer months. The damage often appears in the shape of the container used to hold the ice. 

Organic Lawn Pest Control

If you have pests in your turf, first you'll want to identify the pest. You'll want to make sure that the problem is caused by insects before taking any action. Brown spots and dead areas have many causes such as over or under watering, diseases, incorrect application of fertilizer, chemical spills, and animal urine to name a few. Avoid chemical pesticides. Only a small number of insects are harmful to your lawn. Over 90 percent of insects in your lawn are beneficial and help control insect pests. Adding chemical pesticides may kill beneficial insects and worms that help keep your lawn healthy. Explore other options such as essential oil blends which will have repellant properties, or Bacillus species to control grubs and Azadirachtin for cutworms. One way to discover if you have an insect problem is by performing a drench test.

To perform a drench test:

⦁ Measure out an area of about one square yard
⦁ Mix 3-4 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid in two gallons of water and evenly apply to your measured area
⦁ In about 10 minutes or so you should see the pest rising to the surface
⦁ Collect the pest for identification

We’d love to hear how Earth’s Ally is helping you care for your lawn! Share your experience and stay connected with the #EarthsAlly community on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for access to our latest blog posts, giveaways and exclusive promotions.

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