By Janelle Sorensen
Sunday, June 21, 2009It’s summer time and the weeds are growing like, um, weeds. Instead of reaching for a toxic chemical that could be harmful to your family or pets, try one of these easy natural ways to kill weeds quick.
1. Use mulch to smother weeds. Covering garden soil with a mulch blocks weeds. Use two or three inches of shredded bark, wood chips, straw, cocoa bean hulls, gravel or rocks. The mulches will also keep moisture in the soil so you'll have to water less frequently.
2. Douse weeds with boiling water. Weeds, like humans, will burn if exposed to boiling water. This method also kills weed seeds.
3. Soap weeds to death. Mix 5 tablespoons of liquid soap (such as dishwashing liquid) in one quart (4 cups) of water in a spray bottle. Coat the weeds with the soapy water. Works best on hot days.
4. Pickle weeds with vinegar. Pour household vinegar into a spray bottle and evenly coat weeds with it. U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists recently confirmed this in tests. Vinegar is really five percent acetic acid in water, and it burns the plant, especially on sunny days. For extra strength weed killer, look for pickling vinegar, which is nine percent acetic acid. Don't get the vinegar on your garden plants, as it can kill them too.
5. Give weeds a stiff drink of alcohol. Mix one to five tablespoons of alcohol – depending on how stubborn the weeds are – with one quart (4 cups) of water in a spray bottle. Shower weeds with the spray. Don't let the alcohol get on garden plants as it may damage their leaves.
6. Don't let 'em sprout! Use corn meal gluten as a pre-emergent herbicide and fertilizer. Corn meal gluten prevents weeds from growing, then breaks down to provide nitrogen to your plants or lawn. Use it on lawns or established perennial beds, as it won't kill already growing plants. That does mean, of course, that it won't work on already existing weeds.