If you are a parent living in a house with any outdoor space, then you know the pain of trying to kill weeds without resorting to using any number of the dangerous chemicals and pesticides that make your lawn pretty, but are known to be carcinogenic -- or worse.
This summer, my husband and I finally broke down and hired a landscaping service that doesn't use harsh chemicals because it seemed so incredibly daunting. But not everyone has to resort to paying a landscaper. In fact, if you have the desire (or the time), killing weeds without chemicals is actually quite easy.
There are several low-cost, highly effective ways to rid yourselves of those annoying plants once and for all without being forced to compromise your family's health.
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1. Boiling Water: I once read a book in which one of the main characters killed a houseplant with boiling water. In the Lake of the Woods made this method creepy, but the fact is it is HIGHLY effective.
That's because weeds will burn if they are exposed to hot water, and while it won't solve the problem forever, it will end it for at least a little while. Just be careful not to accidentally get some of that hot water on yourself!
2. Vinegar: Yes, it's true what you have heard about vinegar. It can do EVERYTHING! The simple way to use it on weeds is to pour household vinegar into a spray bottle and spray those suckers down. The reason it works is the acetic acid, which burns the plant. This is especially true on sunnier days.
Good tips: Pickling vinegar is 9 percent acetic acid and especially strong. You can also make solutions by combining vinegar with Dawn dish soap to increase the effectiveness.
3. Pull Them: It's A LOT of work (emphasis on "a lot"), but if you have the time, pulling weeds is the most obvious non-chemical way to rid yourselves of those pesky buggers.
Some weeds are more difficult to pull, so either water the ground first or wait until after it rains and the ground is moister. You can also either dig them up with a shovel or use a putty knife to loosen the dirt to really get at the root. Expect it to take all day, though, especially if you have a big garden.
4. Rubbing Alcohol: It's not good for anyone, including garden invaders. If you mix 1 to 5 tablespoons of alcohol with 1 quart (4 cups) of water, you can use it in a spray bottle and it will dry those suckers right out. Just be careful to avoid the wanted plants that surround the weeds to avoid damage.
5. Salt: Salt will kill plants, period. It's dangerous if used in large quantities but can help in small batches.
To make it, you add rock or table salt to water until it dissolves with a roughly 3:1 ratio. If it doesn't work, you can up the salt content the next time. Adding dish soap and white vinegar to the spray bottle will also help. Make sure to spray only want you want to kill.
Others have suggested bleach, and, of course, there are a number of ways to begin your garden in order to avoid weed growth from the start. But these are specific to ridding yourself of the weeds once they've sprouted.
I'll be handing these over to our landscapers ASAP.
How do you naturally kill weeds?
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