A trip down the aisles of any garden supply store will reveal a wide variety of commercial grass and weed killers. Effective as they may be, many chemical herbicides have long-lasting undesirable effects. A number of the chemical ingredients in these products are highly toxic to people, wildlife and the environment. Alternatively, safer and less expensive home remedies for weed control are as close as your household pantry.
The cheapest weedkiller in your kitchen is regular tap water brought to a boil. Plain boiling water kills unwanted weeds and grass on contact, leaving no residual harmful elements in the soil. To save water, reuse the water left over from cooking or washing. Be careful pouring boiling water, as it can easily cause burns.
Vinegar has a wide range of uses in both home and garden. As an herbicide, a spray of full-strength vinegar will kill weeds and grasses aboveground but will have no effect on the roots of most plants. Vinegar containing a higher concentration of its active ingredient, acetic acid, can be purchased in garden supply stores.
Regular salt works as a weed and grass killer by depriving plants of moisture, a necessary component of plant life. A liberal sprinkling of salt on weeds and unwanted grass will kill them in short order. It is worth noting, however, that an abundance of salt in the soil will prevent anything else from growing successfully in the area. Homeowners might choose this option to kill weeds that pop up in driveways and walkways, but be aware that the salt may travel throughout the soil, eventually affecting nearby vegetation.
Liquid detergent kills weeds and unwanted grass in two ways. The soap destroys surface oil and wax that protects the plant's leaves. Once the protective coating is damaged, other ingredients in the soap can go to work poisoning undesirable plants.
Corn gluten works as a pre-emergent weedkiller, meaning it stops the growth of weeds before they get to the surface. Gluten is widely used in the agricultural industry as an alternative to chemical herbicides. Most people probably don't have corn gluten in their cupboards, but cornmeal can provide similar results, although it will be less effective.
These homemade solutions have varying degrees of effectiveness in killing unwanted grasses and weeds. They are relatively low cost and don't endanger people or pets. Although these substances are safer than chemical applications, they are not selective in their effect on vegetation. Apply them only to undesirable grass and weeds, taking steps to protect surrounding plants and flowers.
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