Many commercial weed killers are filled with noxious ingredients that are not safe for people, pets, or the environment. Here is a list of 11 non toxic options for weeds.
1. Master the Art of Weed Pulling
I know it’s no fun, and some weeds are a challenge to pull. Consider weeding after a big rainstorm, even weeds with large taproots can be pulled without much effort.
Laying landscape fabric will only stop weeds for a period of time, it will eventually breakdown and the weeds will come. Although less environmentally friendly, plastic will keep weeds out until it tears. I’d rather see this used than chemicals.
3. Smother Them with Mulch
Place a thick layer of mulch (4-6 inches) around your trees, shrubs, planting beds and individual plants. This holds in the moisture (less watering) and cuts out the sunlight to the area, so weeds don’t grow.
4. Pour Boiling Water on Them
Pouring a small amount of boiling water will shrivel even the toughest weeds in a day. Consider reusing your canning water, or even water from cooking pasta or other foods.
5. Pour Vinegar on Them
Dilute vinegar half and half with water and pour or spray on your weeds on a hot day, they’ll be wilted within hours. For stubborn or more mature weeds, apply the vinegar without diluting. If you have a large area of weeds, consider buying a new handheld or backpack type sprayer and filling with your vinegar solution of choice.
Recipe 1: Acetic vinegar is a great homemade weed killer, simply mix 4 ounces of lemon juice with a quart of white or cider vinegar, pour into spray bottle and you’re all set.
Recipe 2: Add 4 Cups of white vinegar and ¼ cup salt mix and pour into your sprayer. Don’t spray on your lawn. This is used carefully around plants or liberally in areas that are weed only.
Recipe 3: Mix 50% soap and 50% water. When sprayed on weeds the soap coats the leaves and suffocates them. Please use an environmentally friendly soap.
6. Salt Them
Consider stocking up on rock salt at the end of winter. Sprinkle it on rock paths and any rock areas to prevent weeds from coming up in the spring. Salt can also stop anything from growing in the area it was sprinkled, so be careful where you apply this. Also be careful with this on concrete areas as salt can damage the surface.
Mix 1 cup of rock salt to 1 gallon of water. Stir till salt is dissolved. Spray on weeds. The salt prevents the plants from being able to absorb moisture and they will brown and die within a few days. See picture at end of article.
1 Gallon Vinegar
2 C. Epsom Salt
1/4 C. Dawn Dish Soap (Original Blue)
Add all ingredients to sprayer. Spray in morning on hot day by dinner, plants are looking brown and wilted.
Thanks Celeste for sharing this recipe!
7. Crowd Them Out
Plant groundcovers, flowers or other crops that will out compete weeds for sun, water and soil nutrients.
8. Scorch Them
If you have a large area of weeds, kill them with heat. Place a large square of heavy duty clear plastic over the area, hold down edges with landscape pins or bricks. This method takes a few weeks, but I’ve used this method in the past with great success.
9. Corn Gluten Meal
Corn meal isn’t a weed killer, but can prevent weeds from sprouting. Buying this an animal feed store is your least expensive option. People with corn allergies should not use this method. I am hesitant about this method as I am not sure if this is available in a non GMO formula.
10. Offer Them Some Alcohol
Alcohol draws moisture from weeds. Mix one Tablespoon of rubbing alcohol to every cup of water in your spray bottle.
11. Accept Them
One man’s weed is another man’s food. Years ago I had a neighbor whose entire lawn was full of “weeds” such as dandelion, chickweed and clover. Rather than fight the weeds, she chose to embrace the nutritional value of these plants and harvest them for salads, juices and honey.