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Fixit: Can instant tea kill weeds?

  • Article by: KAREN YOUSO
  • Star Tribune
  • June 16, 2008 - 4:50 PM

Q Is it true that instant tea can kill weeds? If so, how does it work?

A If it's very hot tea, it can work, but it's more likely because of the water's heat than the tea, said Mary Meyer, a professor at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

Boiling water will kill a lot of plants, she said, wanted and unwanted alike. It's a good organic, but very short-term, solution.

Meyer said it's possible that tea, in very high concentrations, may have some allelopathic properties. That means it has naturally occurring chemicals that prohibit growth of other plants. A common example is the juglone produced by black walnut trees that's fatal to other plants. Tomatoes, for example, can't grow within a certain distance of black walnut trees.

This is a new and growing field of study, Meyer said. Maybe allelopathic components will be found in tea that could be developed for weed control.

Storm repair you can do

Some hail damage doesn't require an insurance claim or contractor's attention.

Wood siding: Dents in smooth wood siding can be spot-primed, filled with an exterior spackle and sanded smooth. Prime a larger area than just the small damaged spots to provide a more uniform appearance in the finish coat. Before priming, make sure any loose or peeling paint has been sanded or scraped away.

Vinyl siding: Badly damaged or cracked panels of vinyl siding will need to be replaced. If you don't have a match or don't want to pay a professional matching service, consider painting. Vinyl siding can be painted with acrylic house paint as long as it's the same or a lighter color than the original. Painting the siding darker could result in warping.

Aluminum siding: A special patching compound can be used to fill dents in smooth steel or aluminum siding. Sand the patches smooth, feather the edges and then repaint using high-quality acrylic paint.

Source: Hirshfield's.com

Send your questions to Fixit in care of the Star Tribune, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488, or call 612-673-7032, or e-mail fixit@startribune.com. Past columns are available at www. startribune.com/fixit. Sorry, Fixit cannot supply individual replies. Fixit appears daily in Source except on Friday.

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