Last Updated on April 14, 2022 by Grow with Bovees
Weeds are going to invade your lawn or garden beds and create areas of your yard that are not good to look at! Some weeds are flowering, like dandelions or clover, while others are invasive types of grass.
Naturally, when you notice that your lawn or garden is becoming invaded by these unwanted plants, you want to kill them immediately to stop the spread. Neglecting weed control as soon as they are spotted can cause quick spreading.
Weed control is an important part of garden maintenance, and learning how to kill weeds naturally is an environmentally friendly way to go about eliminating them.
Be Aware of Chemicals
Many weed killers have harsh chemicals that may not be safe for animals or children to come in contact with. Harsh chemicals can make pets or children sick or itchy if it is ingested or comes in contact with the skin.
To avoid the risk of your pets or children having a reaction from weed killer, try one of these 9 pet safe weed killing methods to kill or prevent weeds naturally or choose a gentler herbicide.
Chemical weed killers often harm precious nearby plants, if not careful. Avoid this by using safe homemade weed killer recipes or other natural ways to kill weeds.
1. Install Weed Barrier Fabric to Stop Weed Seeds
Pesky weeds begin to grow in our garden around your plants because of seeds that have been blown from one yard to the next.
When these seeds land in our garden, they germinate in the soil and begin to sprout. But what if you could prevent weed seeds from landing in your garden, thus preventing weed growth all together?
With ground covers such as landscape fabric, you can.
Laying down landscape fabric when you plant your garden in spring is one of the many natural ways to prevent new weeds from sprouting.
Landscape fabric will allow air, sun, and water to penetrate the soil and feed other plants while keeping invasive seeds from landing in the soil and germinating.
How To Use It
Simply clean the area and remove all weeds that you don’t want in your garden. Plant your new plants, flowers or crops and then cover the remaining surface with landscape fabric, allowing an opening for your flowers or vegetable crop to sprout grass and weed-free.
Once the landscape fabric has been secured in place, cover with mulch or other ground coverings to keep it neat and clean.
2. Pull Weeds Up By Hand
Doing the work by hand uses no chemicals at all.
It is a sure-fire method for knowing the pesky plants are removed from the ground. There is no second-guessing if the weed killer you used will work when you are pulling them up by hand.
Pulling weeds from gardens manually is recommended when they aren’t abundant and easy to spot. You will need a good pair of gardening gloves and a gardening trowel or a weed removal tool.
Follow the instructions that come with the puller if you have one, or use the gardening trowel to loosen the weeds up so that you can pull the plant with the roots attached.
It is crucial to pull out the roots of the weed so that the weed will not return again.
3. Cut With Mower or Weed Eater
Sometimes the best remedy for killing weeds is a good mowing with a good quality lawn mower. When trying to achieve a well-maintained turf, mowing too short can hurt it.
Fortunately, weeds grow faster and taller than weed-free turf, so mowing typically will not hurt the lawn.
When you see that weeds have sprouted higher than your turf, give it a good mow. You can set the blade on the mower higher than you normally would so that you do not touch the grasses while cutting down these weeds.
This will eradicate them before they go to seed. If the invaders are close to walls or borders, you may want to use the best lightweight weed eater you can find.
Depending upon the size of your property, you should decide between the 3 options of gas or electric or battery string trimmers for this task, and of course, always make sure that you are using the best string trimmer line for your particular model.
4. Burn Off With Weed Torch
Using a weed torch to eradicate a plant that is not welcome, is known as flame weeding. Don’t worry. You won’t be setting your yard on fire just to get rid of a few weeds.
Instead of lighting the weed on fire and watching an inferno, they are obliterated by heat and steam that blows from the torch.
The heat and the water combine in the torch to create intense steam. It is then projected through an opening and applied directly onto the weed.
Once you apply the steam to them, they instantly wilt, boiling the water inside their cells, killing it. This ensures that the weed will not come back.
Don’t burn poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac. Poisonous plants that are heated will expel oils into the air, possibly causing irritation to your eyes, lungs, and body.
Another effective way to burn weeds, is to cover them with boiling water, this works particularly well for driveway or walkway weeds. Boiling water is cheap and easily attainable.
5. Sprinkle With Salt and Soil
Common table salt can be found in most homes, but it is often not considered as a weed killer. You would be surprised how sprinkling a little salt on weeds can go a long way.
For this method, you can use either table salt or rock salt.
When killing these pesky plants with salt and soil, you will want to take a pinch and apply it to the base of each weed that you want to kill.
This method is great when there are invaders in hard-to-reach places, such as the edges between the turf and the sidewalk or driveway.
Only apply a pinch of this condiment to the areas you want to treat and then let the salt perform its magic. The salt will mix with the soil and turn the soil uninhabitable which then kills weeds.
The soil will not be able to grow anything for months.
This is why it is important to only use a pinch of salt at the base of each weed you want to kill as the salt will combine with the soil, affecting the weed roots and kill anything that is growing from the soil.
This includes healthy plants and grass that you don’t want to kill.
Many gardeners steer clear of this method, as it can poison the soil for a long time afterwards, inhibiting other plants growth.
6. Use Baking Soda for Killing Weeds in Cracks
Baking soda works the same way as salt. The sodium in the salt causes the soil to become uninhabitable. Unlike salt, baking soda can be applied in bigger quantities because it does not contain as much sodium as salt.
To kill invaders with baking soda, you will sprinkle them with about a handful of baking soda. You will do this for every section of plants you are trying to kill. Baking soda is good to use on cracks in a sidewalk or driveway where weeds pop through.
Another great condiment to us for getting rid of weeds is corn gluten meal, when spread around mature plants, corn gluten meal can prevent the germination of weed seeds.
7. Vodka and Dish Soap Mix
This natural cocktail of vodka and liquid dish detergent is one a weed will never want to drink again.
Mix one ounce of vodka with a few drops of liquid dish soap and 2 cups (0.47 l) of tap water into a spray bottle. The alcohol in the vodka will break down the leaves of the invaders and cause them to dehydrate in the sunlight, so this method must be applied in full sun during the hottest part of the day.
Spray the invaders with the vodka and dish soap mixture late in the morning or early in the afternoon on a sunny day.
The alcohol will dehydrate the leaves, and they will begin to wilt after a short period of time.
Do not use this method if the weeds are in the shade as it requires a substantial amount of full sunlight to be successful.
If you were to replace the vodka with vinegar and add some salt, you would have a perfectly good diy herbicidal soap, which is also effective to use on common weeds.
8. White Vinegar Mixture (Short Guide, See Our In-Depth Article)
This is a snapshot of how to use a vinegar mixture to kill weeds. We have a more in-depth article with everything you need to know about how to get rid of weeds with white vinegar that you can check out for more information.
To kill unwanted shrubs with household vinegar, spray them between the base and midsection with an acidic white or apple cider vinegar.
The acetic acid — the active ingredient — found in the vinegar will kill them in just a few days. The acidity of the vinegar can also change the pH levels in the soil surrounding the weeds, which can affect the surrounding plants and turf.
For this reason, you will want to try to contain the vinegar to the area of the invader you are killing. Spraying surrounding areas with vinegar can harm the plants and grassy bits in your yard that you do not want to treat.
You can use a soil testing kit to check the soil pH after applying treatment.
If using vinegar for weed control, watch for rain. If it rains soon after applying the vinegar, you will likely need to treat the pesky shrubs again as the vinegar will have washed off from the their leaves.
9. Smother Weeds With Newspaper and Cardboard
It may sound or look odd, but covering weeds with a thick layer of newspaper for a few days will kill them. Old newspapers will keep sunlight, air, nutrients and moisture from reaching them.
When they are starved and suffocated, they will die. Which is the result you want.
To do this, you will need at least four sheets of newspaper for each area of weeds you are killing. Once you have placed your newspaper, you will need to weigh it down. Weighing down the newspaper will keep them in place and prevent them from blowing away.
You can weigh the newspaper down in one of two ways: wet it or cover it with mulch.
Some home gardeners recommend adding moisture — whether it be by rain or irrigation — to the newspaper because it will cause the newspaper to decompose.
When the newspaper decomposes, it helps feed the soil underneath it, causing your turf and other plants to become fertilized while starving and suffocating the weeds.
10. Use a Grass Whip
Using a manual grass whip is a great way to cut down tall grass and high weeds. You will get a great body work out as well as quietly reducing the weed population in your garden.
11. Use Organic Weed and Feed
Put down weed and feed at the right time of year to keep your turf in tip-top condition. Just be sure to use the organic variety.
Weeds are a pesky invader that can show up in any turf or gardens without warning. Fortunately, there are many environmentally friendly and natural ways to kill weeds without using harsh chemicals or buying expensive equipment.
Even if you are using the best lawn care products, some chemicals will find their way into your soil.
Most of the tools you need for the job can already be found in your home; it is just a matter of knowing when, where, and how to apply them for them to be successful.
Whether you choose to use boiling water, acetic acid, mulch, natural herbicide or any of the methods mentioned above, you can always have a clear conscience with regard to the surrounding environment and, once you know how to kill weeds naturally in your garden, you will have a turf or garden you can show off and be proud of.