Top 10 Natural Weed Killers for Your Garden
Do you have a lot of unwanted weeds in your garden? You can try to pull them out, but some of the roots are very deep and it’s a struggle to pull them out completely. When we buy and apply commercial weed killers, called also herbicides, the chemicals react with plants, killing some or all of them, depending on the chemical formula. These weed killers contain harmful chemicals and substances that can cause damage not only to plants, but also to humans and wildlife. Some weed killers if applied near water sources can cause water pollution. When applied in large quantities, the chemicals can even cause poisoning whose symptoms are headaches, nausea, rashes, dizziness and much more.
Due to all these risks, many people choose to use homemade natural weed killers as an alternative, and you can use common household products that are effective and cheap too. It might take a bit longer to kill the weed, but this is a safe option to your family, pets and the environment.
1. Boiling Water – this is the easiest solution but is also very effective. Just pour boiling water on the weeds to destroy them. For more established weeds you will probably need to repeat it several times over several days.
2. Vinegar – You can use apple cider vinegar (ACV) or white vinegar for this purpose. The high acidity of the vinegar helps to kill weeds. You can dilute the vinegar by adding water or use the concentrated form, depending on the results you have. Start with a 50% diluted mix (1 part of vinegar to 1 part of water) and then increase or decrease the concentration according to the results you have. If the weed is more established, you will probably need to spray it several times to kill it. Some suggest adding a little bit of dish soap (or you can use natural Castile soap) to the mixture to help the solution to better adhere to the weeds. You can find in my previous article more wonderful household uses for vinegar.
3. Salt – using salt will make the soil unsuitable for future plant growth so this method is more suitable for areas where you don’t want to grow anything for the long term, for example in pavement areas or gravel paths. You can fill your spray bottle with warm or hot water and add to it about ½ cup of salt. Mix well and spray. Another method is to use dry salt: sprinkle the weeds with a good amount of salt, and then hose them.
4. Bleach – The stronger the bleach, the faster it will kill the weed. During the hottest part of the day, spray undiluted bleach directly over the weeds and let it work. Large quantities of bleach residue can harm the soil and prevent not only weeds but other plants from growing.
5. Baking soda – Apply a good amount of baking soda over the tops of weeds growing in driveways and sidewalks and hose them. You may need to reapply this treatment several times. It is best to apply baking soda when the weeds are actively growing, often in spring or fall. It also works during the summer, but more slowly. Baking soda is also a home remedy, and you can find more information in my article 6 uses for baking soda as a kitchen medicine.
6. Rubbing Alcohol – You can buy rubbing alcohol in many pharmacies. It sucks the moisture from the leaves thus killing them. Fill your spray bottle with water and several tablespoons of rubbing alcohol and spray the weeds.
7. Corn Gluten Meal – this natural herbicide, which is available at most garden centers, was developed by the agronomist and horticulturist Dr. Nick Christians from Iowa State University… This substance is described as a pre-emergent lawn herbicide. Which means that it kills the weeds before they grow to adult size. The weed seeds actually germinate, but the corn gluten meal prevents the growth of the roots and they quickly die of dehydration. The problem is that a research shows that to achieve a good result there is a need for applying at least 20 pounds of corn gluten meal per 1,000 square feet at exactly the right time in the spring just before the weed seeds germinate. Also it was found that this substance doesn’t inhibit weeds that already have root systems, and actually it even enhances their growth due to the nitrogen content of the product.
8. Newspaper – Covering the ground with several layers of newspaper is suitable for low growing weeds. It is biodegradable and prevents the sunlight from reaching to the weeds, thus eventually killing them. Also new weeds will not be able to grow due to the lack of sunlight. You can cover the newspaper with mulch to prevent weeds from coming up in the first place.
9. Ground Covers Plants – Ground cover plants are useful in the garden for covering bare patches of soil. They are good for low maintenance garden and will not only brighten up the area but will also suppress weeds. These ground cover plants compete with the weeds for nutrients, sunlight and water so if you maintain a healthy and thick ground covers, it will help you to suppress weed growth.
10. If you can’t beat them, eat them – many weeds are edible such as dandelion leaves or stinging nettle (boil them first to remove the stinging). You can add dandelion leaves to salads or cook them or use them for herbal infusion to cleanse your body. If you have any doubt whether the weed is edible or not, don’t take any chance and don’t eat it, as some can be poisonous when ingested.
Many weeds have medicinal uses so don’t underestimate their power. If you are interested in herbs and herbal remedies, you can find more useful information in my e-book the Herbal Remedies Guide. This e-book will teach you how to treat common ailments using herbs: