A weed is any plant that grows in the wrong place. Weeds rob gardens of space and nutrients and are eyesores in lawns and along sidewalks. Many commercial weed killers use harsh chemicals harmful to the environment and difficult to handle safely. Luckily it is fairly simple to mix up a homemade weed killer that is safe, effective and economical.
To make a batch of homemade weed killer, simply combine 1 qt. of white vinegar, 1/4 cup of table salt and 2 tsp. of mild dish washing liquid. Vinegar is the household name for acetic acid. When sprayed directly on plant growth, acetic acid works to remove the water from the plant leading to the death of the plant. Salt works in a similar manner, drawing the moisture from the leaves of the plant and causing it to dehydrate. Soap is added to the mixture to help aid in the absorption of the formula. The chemical compounds in liquid soap help dissolve the surface wax or protective coating on the leaves of the weeds.
To use the formula, place the combined ingredients in a spray bottle and apply directly to the weed foliage and to the surrounding soil. You may have to apply the treatment several times to achieve the desired result. Bear in mind this type of weed killer is non-specific and will kill any plant life it comes into contact with, so aim carefully. Also, remember this formula can kill beneficial microorganisms found in the soil, leaving the site unsuitable for planting for quite some time after treatment.
The only effectual remedy for some weeds is to never allow them to breathe. All plants must have light and air or they cannot survive. As an alternative to spraying weeds, growth can be prevented by laying down a thick layer of mulch or old newspapers around the base of desirable plants. Additionally, even the most troublesome weeds die eventually if you continually cut away the young leaves as they appear. The key here is persistence. Miss one opportunity and the weed will re-establish itself.
- Photo Credit Flower and Weeds image by Towards Ithaca from Fotolia.com
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