Organic Weed Killer
Effective Organic Weed Killer Recipes
If you’re committed to organic gardening but don’t have time to pull weeds by hand, an organic weed killer can save your plants. You may be tempted to let weeds grow, but they can choke out useful plants and keep coming back. You don’t need to use chemical herbicides on your garden, however. There are many organic weeding methods and organic weed killers available to keep your garden weed free.
The most common liquid organic weed killer is vinegar. Vinegar has been used for centuries to cleaning, cooking, and many other activities, but it can also be an effective herbicide because it is acidic. The acetic acid in the vinegar breaks down plant cells, killing the top growth but not the roots. If using vinegar, you will have to reapply and keep killing the top growth. If you keep at it, weeds can die in a few weeks. However, not all vinegars are equally effective. The household vinegar sold in most grocery stores has a concentration of 5% acid, which may work on young weeds. More mature plants need a greater concentration of around 15%. You can distill vinegar at home or buy more concentrated vinegars at organic gardening stores or health food stores. Spray the concentrated vinegar onto weeds and wait. Top growth should die in a couple of hours. Pull up the roots if you can or just reapply. If you want to be 100% organic, make sure the vinegar you use is organic.
Organic Weed Killer Recipes
There are also some organic weed killer recipes you can make at home that mix vinegar with other substances, such as dish soap. Dish soap acts as a mild pesticide, and can help the vinegar spread onto more leaf surface. Mix a half cup of dish soap, two cups vinegar, and one cup water in a spray bottle for this weed killer. You can also add four ounces of lemon juice concentrate to one quart of vinegar to make an organic weed killer spray. The lemon juice also contains acetic acid, and the combination of the two acidic compounds can kill weeds. Since acidic weed killers kill the plant by rapidly changing the PH levels of the plant, bleach can also be used as a weed killer if mixed in a weak solution. Like acid, bleach changes PH levels, only to the other extreme because bleach is alkaline, or a base. When bleach oxidizes, it leaves a residue of common table salt, or sodium chloride, which further inhibits weed growth. The salt also dissipates quickly with rain or watering, and the soil should be ready to plant again after 48 hours or so. To make a bleach weed killer, mix equal parts bleach and water in a spray bottle and spray plants. If you don’t have any of these items on hand, you can also kill weeds quickly by pouring boiling water over them. This method is especially useful for weeds growing out of cracks in concrete.
Scythe is an organic contact herbicide that uses organic acids derived from plants to kill weeds much like vinegar. Scythe comes in concentrated form, and should be mixed with water and sprayed on plants. This product kills grass, weeds, and any other plants it comes in contact with, so make sure you don’t spray plants you want to keep. Other organic contact herbicides include EcoSMART Weed & Grass Killer, Herbicidal Soap, and Nature’s Wisdom Natural Weed Control. Cockadoodle DOO Organic Lawn & Garden Products also makes an organic weed control product out of corn gluten which kills pre-emergent weeds, or weeds that haven’t sprouted yet. This product is not liquid, but can be spread over lawns in a rotary spreader or by hand in gardens.