With the warmth of summer our flowers, fruits, and veggies are in full bloom but so are the weeds. Want to get rid of these pesky buggers? Instead of turning to toxic weed killers for the solution try one of these 13 natural weed killers. They are safe to use and most can be concocted with simple household products.
1.Boiling water: Probably the oldest trick in the book. This simple but effective solution is tried and true, safe for your other plants, has no chemicals, and is extremely cost efficient. Simply pour the boiling water straight onto the weed. Give it an extra punch by adding a pinch of salt to your boiling water to quickly raise the temperature or add in some vinegar and lemon juice. Just be careful when carrying it out to your garden.
2. Add a pinch of Salt: Another price effective trick is to add a pinch of regular table salt to the base of each weed. It will kill the weed and dilute away after a couple of rainfalls. The downside to this trick is that it makes the soil uninhabitable for a couple of months. So make sure to use it sparingly and only where absolutely necessary. Keep away from your grass and other plants.
3.Vinegar: Vinegar destroys the leaves and stocks of a weed, quickly bringing it to an end. You can apply this weed killer with a spray bottle, brush, or pump sprayer. Like many other weed killers, vinegar does not differentiate between weeds and plants. To prevent contamination and the destruction of the plants you’ll want to keep apply it early in the morning when the wind is low. The killing power of vinegar is triggered by the sun so this application would be most successful on a sunny day.
4. Sprinkle Cornmeal: Cornmeal is, apparently, birth control for plant seeds. It doesn’t kill weeds technically but rather prevents them from growing altogether by stopping the seed from germinating. Be careful though, it will also prevent other plants from seeding. Use this technique until your plants are established and you have finished planting seeds. This technique is best used as an after treatment. Just sprinkle the cornmeal in your garden and voila.
5. Mulching it up: Mulching your yard is a great weed deterrent (check out our previous blog Much on Mulch). It not only prevents weeds but has many benefits such as soil temperature regulation, moisture retention, it adds nutrients back into your soil as it decomposes, and it looks beautiful. Cover your planting area in mulch about three inches (be sure to leave open rings around your plants to allow for watering). It will prevent weed seeds from reaching the soil and sunlight from reaching the seeds already existing in the soil.
6. Newspaper: Newspaper works much in the same way as the mulching. In fact, many people use them in a combination. Laying a thick layer of old newspaper will block the sun and stop the seeds of weeds from sprouting. Wet the soil thoroughly, lay down your newspaper, wet again, and then place your mulch over the top for a prettier finished look. This technique encourages earthworms to make your garden their home and hey, you get to recycle. YAY!
7. Herbicidal Soap: Speaking of mixtures, DIY herbicidal soap is a great weed killer. Most people have all these products readily available at home and it really packs a punch. Mix together in equal parts salt, vinegar, and dish soap. Put this mixture in a spray bottle and release your arsenal on the offending weedy culprits. Be careful though, like the vinegar, this mixture is unkind to all plants it touches so spray gingerly.
8. Weed Torch: Go Rambo on your weeds with this natural destroyer of weeds. The weed torch works probably just as you imagine it would. It heats the water in the cells of the plant. When the water steams the cells explode and the plant will die. Charring the weed isn’t necessary, just wilting them will do the trick. It’ll take some practice to wield this weapon of choice but it is undeniably effective. WARNING: Do not use on poison ivy or other poisonous plants as it can release poison oils into the air and into your lungs. Believe me; you don’t want that to happen.
9. Water Weeder: Another handy tool to use is the Water Weeder. Just like the boiling water trick this tool’s rapid jolt of water to the plant ends it immediately. You can easily pluck the offending plant right out after spraying it. Even better, the water filled hole will drain and settle leaving your lawn looking smooth just minutes after treatment. Safe for the rest of your garden, easy to use, and fast this is my favorite tool. You can even use it to make quick seed holes during the planting season.
Photo via Lee Valley Tools
10.Good Old Fashion Pulling: There is nothing like hand to hand combat.
There are so many natural, harmless, and cost effective ways to get rid of weeds that it seems silly to spend a fortune on poisonous weed killer. Next time try one of these natural techniques and save those pretty pennies for plants instead.