Weeds compete with lawns and garden plants for space, light, water and soil nutrients. Not only do they look bad and have the ability to take over quickly, they’re also the perfect hosts for disease and insects. Before you know it, one weed can turn into many little thieves robbing your plants of their health. Luckily, gardening experts at Treehugger have just the solution to kill weeds without ruining the garden.
The experts explained that the most effective method is to physically dig them out, but this can be very time-consuming.
They said: “The most environmentally friendly way to get rid of weeds is to pull them up, dig out the roots, let them dry in the sun, and then add them to a compost or mulch pile.
“However, that method can also take quite a bit of time, so if you’re looking for a quicker way to effectively get rid of weeds, one of these homemade herbicides might be the way to go.”
The “simplest” homemade herbicide to prepare is boiling water.
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The experts said: “The application of direct heat to the foliage of weeds will cause the plants to immediately wilt, and repeated applications will kill any leaves that may resprout from the roots.
“A flame-weeder tool is available from home and garden stores, which allows you to apply flame and heat directly to the weeds without catching the whole neighbourhood on fire.”
However, it is important to note that dried weeds and grasses can easily catch fire during flame weeding, so be very cautious.
Spraying white vinegar on weed leaves will cause the weeds to die off, making room in the garden for more desirable plants, according to the gardening pros.
The experts explained: “The white vinegar sold in grocery stores is about five percent acetic acid, which is usually strong enough for most weeds, although a more industrial strength version is available in many garden supply stores.
“The vinegar can be applied by spraying full-strength onto the leaves of the weeds, being careful to minimise any overspray on garden plants and nearby soil.
“Repeated applications may be necessary, and the addition of a little liquid dish detergent may improve the effectiveness of this homemade herbicide.”
For those opting to use industrial strength vinegar, they need to be cautious as it can be harmful to the eyes and burn skin.
Dousing the weeds in salt is also very “effective”.
Although, as salt can have a detrimental effect on the soil, it’s important to only apply it directly to the leaves of the weeds and not soak the soil, especially in garden beds with other, more desirable, plants.
To make the salt spray, dissolve one part salt in eight parts hot water and add a small amount of liquid dish soap, which helps the mixture adhere to the leaf surfaces.
Then pour the solution into a spray bottle. To apply, spray the leaves of the weeds, making sure to cover or tie back any nearby plants you don’t want to kill.