Will Diesel Fuel Kill Weeds?

Last Updated on May 9, 2022 by Grow with Bovees

Diesel fuel is not only a cost-efficient way of fuelling your diesel driven vehicle but is an effective weed killer too.

In fact, diesel fuel offers several benefits compared to store-bought herbicides such as Roundup, and other chemical methods of killing weeds and unwanted growth in the soil in your lawn.

If you’re wondering if diesel sprayed will kill pests and weeds, the answer is yes, as long as you use the right methods for the task.

That said, let’s take how diesel fuel or gasoline kills weeds, other unwanted plant life, and plant material in your yard, driveway, and other areas, how much diesel and how to spray diesel fuel the right way including with a spray bottle.

Does Diesel Kill Weeds and Weed Seeds?

Spraying diesel fuel from your local gas station to eliminate weed nuisance is regarded as a very effective weed killer compared to other chemical and homemade methods like mixing water and vinegar, yet is a non-permanent solution.

Diesel fuel is both a weeds and unwanted grass eliminator and a toxin that can kill broadleaf weeds and even kill favorable grass.

But that’s not all, diesel being a dense liquid will also kill healthy and harmful pests in lawn and garden soil. So, when you apply diesel to your soil, it will also kill the microbes responsible for the healthy development of your lawn and garden.

Will Diesel Kill Weeds and Unwanted Grass Permanently?

Diesel fuel will effectively kill weeds and will kill grass and desirable plants but there’s a good chance it won’t kill weeds permanently, and here’s why!

Diesel will only kill weeds as long as it remains in contact with soil. Therefore, once the amount of diesel is reduced from the soil due to rain washing it away, it will stop working.

Chemical weed control products such as a bottle of Roundup have different effects on weeds and need just 30 minutes to be absorbed by the grassy weeds and other unwanted plants, after which the rain won’t wash it away, making it a better solution than spraying diesel to kill weeds in your entire lawn.

How Long Does Diesel Take to Kill Weeds?

Unlike homemade remedies like acidic vinegar and dishwashing liquid, using diesel to kill weeds and grass works quickly in roughly 48 hours after application, which is a similar timeframe as using a tool such as a flame weeder aka a propane powered garden torch.  

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You can probably speed up the process to a few hours with a combination of Roundup or another herbicide and diesel, which tend to work better mixed than on their own.

How to Kill Weeds and Even Flowers with Diesel Fuel?

Before getting started with using diesel fuel to kill weeds and good plants, you may want to use an essential tool such as a weed whacker to remove weeds and other unwanted forms of plant life around your gravel driveway, driveway cracks, and hard-to-reach areas of your property.

What Will You Need?

You will need a few supplies to use diesel fuel to eliminate weeds from your beautiful yard and for overall good lawn care.

  • Gasolene jug – you will need a gasoline can to transport and store diesel fuel in your tool shed or garage.
  • Spray bottle with a direct spray nozzle for a targetted thin coating – Most people make the mistake of using an ordinary spray bottle, but diesel fuel can deteriorate the quality of the sprays, so it’s recommended that you use a garden pump sprayer.
  • Funnel – Using a funnel will prevent spills and make it easier to pour the diesel fuel into the spray bottle.
  • Sand – Keep sand handy in case you accidentally spill diesel fuel in your lawn and garden.
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) – Given that you will be working with flammable fuel, you should always wear protective gear like gloves, boots, and eyewear.

Check Your Forecast Before You Clear Weeds

It’s important to check your weather forecast before you start spraying a couple of gallons of diesel in your yard. If there’s rain expected in the next 24 – 48 hours, then hold off on spraying fuel in your lawn.

Remember, it takes approximately 48 hours for diesel fuel to kill weeds, and rain will wash it away, which needless to say is a waste of time and effort.

Prepare the Spray

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary equipment and supplies, prepare the plastic spray bottle for the task. to prevent accidentally spilling diesel fuel on your lawn and garden.

If you do accidentally spill diesel or any other type of fuel on your healthy lawn, you will have to wait at least three to four weeks to plant anything new in the contaminated area.

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Spray Diesel to Kill Grass and Weeds

After loading your gasoline jug with diesel, get close to the weeds and target the spray nozzle towards the plants root system of the unwanted grass and weeds to ensure proper coverage and optimal effectiveness.

Do not over spray diesel fuel on your lawn on the plant leaves, because doing so will over saturate the soil, and kill the neighboring favorable plants.

Clean Up

Whether you’re spraying fuel or herbicides, it’s always a good practice to clean your spray bottle, direct spray nozzle and funnel thoroughly after each use. If there’s any leftover diesel, pour it back into the can through the funnel.

Safety Precautions When Killing Intrusive Weeds and Other Kinds of Weeds with Diesel Fuel

Exposure to diesel fuel can cause difficulty in breathing, vomiting, dizziness, rash, so seek medical attention in the event this happens.

Additionally, there are certain circumstances where you shouldn’t use diesel fuel such as if you have well water on your property because you will risk contaminating the water source into your home.

After the application of diesel fuel in your yard, you should remove your PPE kit and wear clean clothing.

5 Alternatives to Diesel Fuel to Kill Weeds in Your Yard

There have been several instances where people have been fined for dumping diesel fuel, so it’s better to be safe and use alternatives to using diesel to kill weeds in your yard.

One of the significant reasons dumping diesel fuel is illegal is can kill local wildlife, contaminate water sources, be harmful to drinking water, your breathing system, can affect the soil underneath, kill grass growing anywhere and is a fire hazard.

Adding to this, diesel fuel is highly flammable and can literally destroy your home if handled improperly. Instead of using diesel, there are several methods to eliminate weeds from your lawn and garden.

1. Non-selective Herbicides to Kill Weed Seeds

Non-selective herbicides such as glyphosate are a type of indiscriminate plant killer similar to diesel in that they will harm any plant they come in contact with, including your favorable plants.

They are best applied around patios, paths, gardens, and bare soil or to get rid of weeds in unwanted areas.

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When sprayed, non-selective herbicides infiltrate the plant’s leaves, eventually killing the roots. The affected plants begin wilting within 24 hours and are completely dead in as little as 3 days after application. Roundup is a good example of a non-selective herbicide that is much safer to use than diesel.

2. Selective Herbicides to Avoid Killing Useful Plants

A selective herbicide is a very good weed eliminator and is formulated to eliminate certain weeds without harming other plants in your lawn.

One of the downsides of selective herbicides is that more than one application may be needed to get rid of all the weeds.

Selective herbicides work by killing the metabolic processes of certain weeds. For example, Blindside selective herbicide can be used on many types of grasses including Kentucky Bluegrass and Bermudagrass, Bioadvanced herbicide to kill weeds such as dollar weed, dandelion, and clover, and Quinclorac herbicide for crabgrass and English daisy.  

3. Brush killer

Brush-killing herbicides contain several powerful weed eliminators, and can kill even the most resilient weeds in your lawn.

Take, for example, the Crossbow herbicide by Southern AG, which can kill most types of weeds and unwanted plants. Another good reason for using Southern AG Crossbow is that it kills weeds without harming your grass.

4. Organic weed killers

For an environmentally friendly option to kill weeds, organic weed killers are a great option. Organic herbicides basically function as non-selective herbicides, and will kill any plants they are sprayed on.

Avenger Organics is an effective organic weed killer that kills weeds in less than two hours. Furthermore, it dissipates quickly, and features emulsion technology, which allows you to see your spray target.

5. Hand weeding

Hand weeding using a hoe is a 100 percent organic way of removing weeds. You will, however, have to break a sweat during the task, but you can kill weeds within seconds.

Final Thoughts on Killing Weeds With Diesel

You can use diesel fuel to kill weeds within 48 hours on your lawn, but it’s risky business. Not only is diesel fuel flammable, but will also kill any plants it comes in contact with. Diesel can also contaminate water supplies, so it’s best to use a commercial weed killer.