Home Remedies for Weed Control

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One person’s weed is another man’s beautiful ‘flower’ – but this is not always the case. From dandelions to thistles, weeds can rob the plants you do want of vital soil, nutrients, water and sunlight. When you’ve found unwanted growth in your yard or garden, it’s time to call upon the help of home remedies for weed control.

What is a Weed?

A weed is simply a plant growing outside that someone or you do not want. These plants have a knack for thriving in the right environment and can become quite tricky to fully remove. Dandelions, foxtail, common mallow, crabgrass, quackgrass, white clover, dodder, and oxalis are common weeds [1].

Weed Home Remedies

If you’re finding too many dandelions invading your backyard, consider some of the following home remedies for weed control before resorting to chemical means of eradication:

a) Newspaper:

A cheap and effective method to killing unwanted weeds and grass is to use newspapers – an eco-friendly gardening approach because newspapers eventually decompose in the soil. After mowing the growth low, slightly wet the area. Spread overlapping layers of newspapers (the black and white kind) over the site until a stack of eight to 10 sheets is created. Wet the paper again to keep in place or weigh down with a layer of mulch or heavy rocks placed at the corners. Since the air supply is cut off, unwanted plants and grass die.

b) Vinegar:

The acetic acid found in white vinegar zeroes in on the cell membranes of plants, which can dry up and kill weeds and unwanted grass. This remedy is most effective when used during a hot summer day. Pour the vinegar directly on the weeds or put in a spray bottle to apply. For stubborn plants, reapply after a few days have passed.

c) Vinegar and Salt:

Enhance the power of your weed-killing solution by mixing one quart of household vinegar, ¼ cup of salt, and two teaspoons of dish liquid soap. Transfer to a spray bottle and attack unwanted plants in your yard.

d) Bleach:

Add a mixture of household bleach and water to a spray bottle, and apply directly to weeds. Keep children and pets away from the treated area for at least two days – giving the bleach time to evaporate.

e) Rubbing Alcohol:

Kill weeds by applying rubbing alcohol at the roots, which will dry out the unwanted plants. Be careful not to affect nearby plants with this remedy.

f) Hot Pepper Sauce:

A gardener’s trick to try is spraying on diluted hot pepper sauce onto the weeds.

g) Baking Soda:

To keep weeds out of the cracks of your cement walkways, paved patios, and driveways – sprinkle handfuls of baking soda onto the concrete and sweep into the cracks. The added sodium will help keep away dandelions and other weeds.

h) Borax:

Sprinkle Borax into the places where you’ve seen weeds gathering in your yard to kill the unwanted growth before they have a chance to root. Be careful when using Borax because it can kill nearby plants that you want to thrive.

i) Scraps of Carpet:

Carpet scraps can come in handy when you’re trying to enjoy a weed-free environment. Position a couple of carpet scraps upside down. Cover with bark mulch or straw to create a path to your garden that is free of weeds. Smaller scraps can act as mulch around your vegetable garden.

j) Vodka [2]:

Quickly attack weeds by mixing one ounce of vodka with a couple of drops of liquid soap. Add the ingredients to two cups of water in a spray bottle. When you see a weed, spray the leaves with the remedy until the liquid runs off. Use this mix on a sunny day on weeds growing in the direct sunlight. The alcohol breaks down the waxy protective covering on the weeds, and makes them vulnerable to dehydration in the sunlight. This remedy will not work in the shade. Apply at midday.

k) WD-40:

Fight the spread of prickly weeds, such as bull and Russian thistle, by spraying on WD-40. They will wither and die.

l) Shower Curtain:

To block weeds in a mulch bed, place an old shower curtain under the mulching material (bark chips or gravel) to prevent weeds from breaking through to the surface.

m) Soda Bottle:

To target the weeds you want to remove in your yard (and save surrounding plants), cut a 2-liter soda bottle in half and place the top part over the weed you wish to spray. Direct your spraying wand through the regular opening of the top of the bottle and release. Pick up the bottle and move onto the next weed.

n) Boiling Water:

To get rid of unwanted weeds and grass, pour boiling water over small patches. This approach works especially well when treating the cracks in driveways and paths, or in between bricks.

o) Black Garbage Bag:

To prevent sunlight and air from reaching the roots of unwanted plants, spread a heavy, dark-colored plastic over the area. This will eventually kill the weeds or grass. The plastic absorbs moisture and traps it, which ‘chokes’ the life out of the plant roots. If you don’t have any black plastic for the garden, a black garbage bag will act the same. To keep the plastic in position, use heavy rocks placed at the corners. It will take a few weeks to completely kill of the weeds or grass.

p) Your Hands:

Sometimes, you just need to use your hands and pull to remove weeds without using any chemicals. To make the task easier, get a hold of a gardening knife or long-handled hoe.

q) Salt:

Salt has the power to kill weeds and unwanted grass in an instant. Apply a handful of table salt to unwanted growth. You can also use salt as a preventive measure – pouring into the cracks of your driveway and paved paths. Reapply salt after a rainfall.

r) Long-Handled Hoe or Shovel:

While you can pull a bunch of dandelions, they can sometimes resurface if you don’t get to the root of the problem. Typical garden tools, such as a long-handled hoe or shovel can dig out the entire weed because it has a chance to deeply root.

s) Lawnmower:

To remove dandelion weeds from your yard, use your lawnmower to eliminate flower tops and prevent seeding. It is suggested to mow your lawn often. Keeping your grass a little longer than usual will actually help block the sunlight that dandelions need to grow.

t) Grass Clippings:

When you leave grass clipping on the lawn, you can keep weeds from taking root. The clippings act in the same manner as mulch.

Resources

[1]

[2] Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things by Reader’s Digest; pg. 371.

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