Getting rid of weeds is always a problem for gardeners. Herbicides will do the trick, but many have chemicals you may not want to have around your home. Some commercial herbicides will even kill garden plants if they are too close to the weeds. More natural alternatives to these products exist that aren’t as harsh and unforgiving as manufactured herbicides. They are generally safe and easy to mix and apply.
Vinegar by itself can be sprayed directly onto growing weeds. According to research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, vinegar that has a concentration of 5 to 10 percent is effective at killing weeds within the first two weeks of growth.
Older weeds need a higher concentration of vinegar, about 20 percent or more. Vinegar for household use has a 5 percent concentration; more concentrated vinegar can be purchased from farm and feed stores and some nurseries.
Spray enough vinegar onto the weed to coat it completely.
Vinegar and Salt
Combining vinegar and salt kills growing weeds and is particularly useful if you want to kill weeds growing close to desirable plants. The vinegar solution will only kill plants it is sprayed on and won’t harm anything growing nearby. The recipe for this solution is 1 gallon of vinegar, 1 cup of salt and 4 tablespoons of liquid dish soap. The vinegar and salt will kill the weeds, and the soap helps the solution stick to the plants when sprayed, increasing its effectiveness.
Use a garden sprayer or a spray bottle to apply and spray the leaves and stems of all weeds.
Borax and Water
Borax is a laundry booster made from the naturally-occurring mineral boron. Information from the Iowa State University Extension indicates that a mixture of borax and water kills certain weeds such as ground ivy, (Glechoma hederacea), also known as creeping Charlie and creeping Jenny. This plant thrives in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 4 through 9.
To create a mixture for killing ground ivy and similar weeds, dissolve 10 ounces of borax in 4 ounces of water. Pour the resulting solution into 2 1/2 gallons of water and stir well. Apply to weeds with a garden sprayer. This amount is enough to treat 1,000 square feet of yard area.
Over-application of borax can cause soil toxicity, resulting in areas of soil where nothing will grow.