Homemade Weed Killer
Save money by making your own weed killer
Weeds can be a problem for many gardeners and I always recommend hand pulling weeds or smothering them when ever possible. But sometimes a weed killer is easier or more appropriate depending on the situation. As with all weed killers, homemade or otherwise, keep away from children.
Here is my favorite recipe to use for driveways, walkways, fence lines and any place away from precious garden plants.
- 1 gallon white distilled vinegar (5% acidity)
- 1 cup table salt
- 1 tablespoon soap, such as Dr. Bronner's
The vinegar is the main weed killer ingredient. The salt helps the vinegar to work even better and the soap helps the mixture cling to the leaves of the plant you are trying to kill. The longer the mixture stays on the leaves, the better it will kill it the first time.
Mix ingredients and put in a spray bottle, pump sprayer, or dedicated watering can with a fine aerator that does not leak. This mixture can also be mixed and stored for later use. Clearly mark the bottle as weed killer so as not to mix it up with straight vinegar or even fertilizer. Spray on the foliage of weeds on a hot sunny day for best results. Do not use when it is windy since over spray could affect other plants.
Some words of caution about using vinegar in the garden. Vinegar is a non-selective weed killer, meaning it will kill the leaves and possibly the roots of nearly all young plants with just one application. Since vinegar is an acid, if used too often, it can change the acidity of your soil, which can also affect the growth of plants. That is why I recommend this weed killer for areas away from the regular garden, such as a driveway, walkway, fence line, etc.
This mixture works best on a hot sunny day. Young weeds can be killed in less than 24 hours with just one application. More mature plants may need a second or third application. After the leaves die the first time, check the plant for new growth every few days and apply the mixture again as new growth emerges.
This mixture does not work well on weeds with fuzzy leaves or mature plants with long tap roots. It would be best to dig those weeds out.
When clearing large areas where using a liquid weed killer would save time, spray the specified area, allow it to sit overnight and the next day you can cover the area with clear plastic to finish killing the weeds using the Solarization method. You don't have to spray the area first, you can just use the plastic, but this way will get the job done a little quicker. To read more about killing weeds using Solarization, click here.
Boiling water can be poured on plants to kill them almost instantly. This method works best on driveways, walkways and any place you don't have to worry about surrounding plants.