It’s going to happen. Weeds are going to invade your lawn or garden and cause splotchy patches of grass that do not match the rest. Some weeds are flowering, like dandelions or clover, while other weeds are invasive types of grass.
When you notice that your lawn or garden is becoming invaded with weeds, you should kill them immediately to stop the spread. Neglecting to kill weeds as soon as they are first spotted can cause them to spread quickly, so it is important to kill them as soon as they are first spotted.
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 methods to kill or prevent weeds naturally.
1. Install Landscape Fabric at the Time of Planting
Weeds invade our garden because of seeds that have been blown from one yard to the next. When weed seeds land in our garden, they germinate in the soil and begin to sprout. But what if you could stop this from happening?
With landscape fabric, you can.
Laying down landscape fabric when you plant your garden is a natural way to prevent weeds from sprouting. Landscape fabric will allow air, sun, and water to penetrate the soil and feed your plants while keeping invasive seeds from landing in the soil and germinating.
To use landscape fabric in your garden, simply clean the area and remove all weeds or other grass that you don’t want in your garden. Plant your flowers or crops and then cover the remaining surface with landscape fabric, allowing an opening for your flowers or crop to sprout.
Once the landscape fabric has been secured in place, cover with mulch or other ground coverings to keep it neat and clean.
2. Pull Up By Hand
Pulling weeds up by hand uses no chemicals, materials, or solvents at all. It is a sure-fire method for knowing weeds are removed as you are physically removing them from the ground. There is no second-guessing if the weed killer you used will work when you pull weeds up by hand.
Pulling weeds up by hand is recommended when weeds are not abundant and easy to spot. To pull weeds up, you will need a good pair of gardening gloves and a gardening trowel. Use the gardening trowel to loosen the weeds up so that you can pull the weed with the root attached. It is crucial to pull out the root 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 mow with a good quality grass cutter. When trying to attain a well-maintained lawn, mowing too short can hurt the lawn. Fortunately, weeds grow faster and taller than weed-free grass, so mowing typically will not hurt the lawn.
When you see that weeds have sprouted up higher than your lawn, give it a good mow. You can set the blade on the lawnmower higher than you normally would so that you do not touch the grass while cutting down these weeds. This will kill the weeds before they go to seed.
If the weeds are close to walls or borders, you may want to use a weed eater of some description. Depending upon the size of your property, you should decide between the 3 options of gas, electric or cordless string trimmers for this task.
4. Burn Off with Weed Torch
Using a weed torch to kill weeds is known as flame weeding. Don’t worry. You won’t be setting your lawn on fire just to kill a few weeds. Instead of lighting the weed on fire and watching an inferno, the weeds are obliterated by heat and steam that blows from the torch.
The heat and the water combine in the torch to create intense steam. The steam is then projected through an opening and applied directly onto the weed. Once you apply the steam to the weeds, they instantly wilt, boiling the water inside the weed’s cells to kill it. This ensures that the weed will not come back.
Important: do not use a weed torch on poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac. Poisonous plants that are heated will expel their oils into the air causing your eyes, lungs, and body to itch and burn.
5. Sprinkle with Salt and Soil
Ordinary 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. If you don’t want to make a special trip to the store for rock salt, table salt works fine, too.
To kill weeds 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 weeds in hard-to-reach places, such as the edges between the lawn and the sidewalk or driveway.
Only apply a pinch of salt 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. The soil will not be able to grow anything, grass included, 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 and kill anything that is growing from the soil. This includes healthy plants and grass that you don’t want to kill.
6. Use Baking Soda 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 weeds with baking soda, you will sprinkle the weeds with about a handful of baking soda. You will do this for every section of weeds you are trying to kill. Baking soda is good to use on cracks in a sidewalk or driveway where weeds pop through.
7. Vodka and Soap Mix
This cocktail for weeds is one they will never want to drink again.
Mix one ounce of vodka with a few drops of liquid dish soap and 2 cups of water into a spray bottle. The alcohol in the vodka will break down the leaves of the weeds and cause them to dehydrate in the sunlight, so this method must be applied to weeds that are in full sun for the hottest part of the day.
Spray the weeds with the vodka and soap late in the morning or early in the afternoon on a sunny day. The alcohol will dehydrate the leaves of the weeds, 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.
8. 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 kill weeds with vinegar that you can check out for more information.
To kill weeds with vinegar, spray them between the base and midsection with an acidic white or apple cider vinegar. The acidity in the vinegar will kill the weeds 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 lawn.
For this reason, you will want to try to contain the vinegar to the area of the weed you are killing. Spraying surrounding areas with vinegar can harm the plans and lawn in your yard that you do not want to treat.
If using vinegar to kill weeds, watch for rain. If it rains soon after spraying the weeds with vinegar, you will likely need to treat the weeds again as the vinegar will have washed off from the weeds.
9. Smother with Newspaper and Cardboard
It may sound or look odd but covering weeds with newspaper for a few days will kill weeds. Newspapers will keep sunlight, air, and water from reaching the weeds. When the weeds 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 gardeners recommend wetting the newspaper because it will cause the newspaper to decompose. When the newspaper decomposes, it helps feed the soil underneath it, causing your lawn and other plants to become fertilized while starving and suffocating the weeds.
Weeds are a pesky invader that can show up in any lawn or garden without warning. Fortunately, there are many ways to kill these invaders without using harsh chemicals or buying expensive equipment.
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.
Once you have gotten rid of weeds in your lawn or garden, you will have a lawn or garden you can show off and be proud of.