There are many products available for killing weeds in your lawn, garden or flower beds. People who turn to natural or organic weed killers usually want to save money or protect the environment, or both. Be careful when using a homemade product: They are not always safe, and you need to consider what is growing nearby and what might be planted in the future.
Vinegar has been used by gardeners for years. White or cider vinegars are best, usually at 5-percent and 10-percent solutions for weeds up to two weeks old. Older weeds needed a higher concentration. In studies, vinegar at a higher concentration vinegar killed at least 85 percent of weeds. A typical bottle of vinegar is about a 5-percent solution.
The acetic acid in vinegar kills the leaves on a plant, but not the root. This is why it works best on young plants: They don't have enough root energy to grow back leaves. Reusing the lower concentration of vinegar will eventually kill older weeds when they deplete their energy reserves.
Boiling Water and Bleach
Boiling a pot of water and pouring it on weeds is effective, but it's often not as precise as other methods. Any plant with roots nearby can be killed. Boiling water is ideal for driveways and sidewalks.
You can also pour undiluted bleach into a spray bottle and spray the weed. Bleach will evaporate in about two days. New plants can then be planted. If you get bleach on a nearby plant while killing weeds, immediately wash the plant with water.
Salt will kill weeds but also will make the ground unusable for future plants. You can put a small pinch of salt at the bottom of the weed. Rainfall will eventually dilute the salt so you can plant there again, but the soil may be compromised and plants may never thrive there. It's best to use salt only on areas where you don't want any growth.
Rubbing alcohol poured on a weed will draw the water from it and dry it out. But nearby plants can be killed this way as well.
Corn meal doesn't kill plants, but does stop them from from developing. Corn gluten is the active ingredient that stops weed growth, though it will stop flowers and plants seeds from growing as well. This is an excellent way to clear space for an area where you will be planting adult plants. Use the corn meal twice a year--once in spring and once in fall--to kill germinating seeds. This should prevent any weed growth and clear an area for plantings.
You can also try smothering weeds with at least a 4-inch layer of newspaper. Weeds will wither from lack of sunlight.
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