Controlling weeds without chemicals is not only beneficial to the environment, it also saves time and money. Many natural weed killers are just as effective at eradicating unwanted plants as their chemical counterparts, without the cost or the toxicity. By releasing fewer chemicals into the soil, you can also grow healthier flowers and produce. Natural weed killers are non-toxic, work quickly, and are not harmful to your family or pets. Best of all, the ingredients for many natural weed killers can be found in your kitchen. Here’s a look at some ingredients deemed effective at killing weeds.
Many homemade natural weed killers contain salts, such as table salt or rock salt. When sprinkled over weeds, salt acts as a desiccant and leeches moisture from the plants. Use only a small amount to avoid damaging nearby non-weed plants.
2. Boiling Water
Boiling water is an instant weed killer that can be used on large areas. Simply heat a pot or kettle of tap water on the stove until the water boils. Immediately pour the boiling water onto the weeds and watch them turn brown and die straight away.
Vinegar is effective at killing the leaves on unwanted plants, but not the roots. Just spray the weeds with vinegar and wait. Both cider and white vinegar are equally effective at fighting off weeds, but the process will need to be repeated when the weeds grow back.
4. Corn Meal
While corn meal doesn’t kill existing weeds, it can be effective at preventing the return of weeds. Apply a thick layer of corn meal over the weeds to stop new seeds from growing into plants.
One simple way to kill weeds in your garden or lawn is with a stack of old newspapers. Cover the weeds with several layers of newspaper to block out any sunlight. The lack of light will eventually kill off the weeds and the newspaper will naturally decompose.
6. Soap Mixture
Regular dish detergent mixed with water can cause weeds to quickly wilt and die. Combine ¼ cup of dish soap to 1 gallon of warm water in a spray bottle. Saturate the weeds with the soap mixture. Repeat if any weeds come back later on.
To prevent weeds from returning, cover the area with mulch. Mulch is also effective at blocking sunlight, which the seeds need to grow. A thick layer of mulch also has other benefits, such as adding moisture and nutrients to the soil.
8. Citrus Oil
Citrus-based oils, such as those containing concentrates of orange and lemon, are most effective when used on dry soil. Pour the oil over the weeds to kill them. You may need several applications of the oil to destroy all the weeds.
If you’re dealing with troublesome weeds that continue to come back, fire may work to permanently destroy the plants. Portable gas torches are often used by gardeners to kill weeds. Just pass the flame around and over the weeds until they wilt. Do be careful with this method, however, and be sure that a phone, a fire extinguisher, and a smothering agent like a thick blanket is available. Don’t try to smoke out an area that’s too large too quickly, and always read the manual for your gas torch before use.