The Spotlight: Homemade Weedkillers

Categories: Green Tips, Home Improvement

Green Living: Homemade Weedkillers

Weeds have been bugging humanity from the moment we planted our very first field. Anytime we want one thing to grow, a million little thorny weeds seem to show up instead.

While getting rid of these pests is a top priority, using harsh weedkillers doesn’t feel right, does it? We all want a beautiful garden, but not at the cost of the environment. So is it possible to be green while still keeping your garden the right kind of green?

Yes! Fighting weeds doesn’t have to be a toxic affair. Here are three, eco-friendly weed killing solutions.

1. Vinegar and Soap
White vinegar is wonderful. It cleans windows, is great for washing vegetables, makes laundry fresher, and – here’s the big one – it’s an effective weedkiller.

How does it work? When vinegar is sprayed onto a weed, it pulls water out of the plant and kills it. This makes it an effective weedkiller, but you can make vinegar even more potent by adding an ounce of liquid dish detergent to each gallon of vinegar. The soap helps in three ways: it makes the vinegar stick to the weeds, it breaks through the waxy surface of the weeds so the vinegar can do its job, and the oil in soap also helps kill weeds.

While vinegar is great, it is non-selective and will kill/damage any plant it’s sprayed on, so you have to be very careful. You should use a small spray bottle to control exactly where you’re spaying the vinegar. Also, if a weed has a tough root system, you may still need to pull it out by hand.

2. Boiling Water
While vinegar uses a chemical reaction to eliminate weeds, boiling water is much simpler: when poured on a plant, it cooks it and kills it. It’s a powerful and very inexpensive weedkiller – you just need water, a stove, and a kettle.

But just like vinegar, boiling water is indiscriminate and will kill any plant you pour it on. Because of this, it’s best to use boiling water in one of two ways. The first is to treat large areas of weeds where there are no good plants that you want to keep.

The second way to use boiling water is to treat weeds in the cracks of sidewalks and driveways. Since boiling water will naturally sink down into these cracks, it’s a fantastic way to remove stubborn, tough-to-reach weeds.

3. Smother
Our third method for getting rid of weeds relies on a simple fact: weeds need sunlight to live. So if they need the sun in order to stick around, block it out. Get a heavy duty tarp, black plastic sheeting, or even newspapers and lay them over the weeds (weigh down your cover so it doesn’t blow away). Now all you need to do is wait.

After a few days, the weeds will be dead. Of course, this method is a non-selective weedkiller, but it is a great way to kill of large beds of weeds in one go.