Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Chemical Free Weedkillers: Do They Work?

If you have looked in your garden or flower beds, you have noticed the ever present weed. If you are like me, you just pull it up and keep going. However, there are some pretty persistent weeds out there that can be daunting to get rid of to say the least.

In some areas of the yard and garden you can use "natural" weedkillers such as vinegar, borax, salt, or baking soda. Or, you could go totally green and just continue to pull them. I have several of those persistent weeds in my beds and yard. Unfortunately, I may have to revert to chemically treating them to get them under control. But, not just yet! 

Borax as a weedkiller can be good and bad depending on the amount used and the area you are treating. There are many recipes for using borax as a weedkiller on the web but, you do need to keep in mind that less is more in this case. A University of Wisconsin researcher has noted that too much boron will kill all vegetation. Since the chemical does not degrade please use sparingly or nothing will grow in the affected area. 

Salt is another option. But, which salt? Table salt? Epsom salt? Rock salt? Salt is salt so you can use whichever type you prefer. You need to exercise caution when using salt. Fertilizer is a salt so if you have ever used too much fertilizer, you know that plants can "burn up". It will also get into your soil and can stay there for a very long time causing damage to distant plants. Salt can be used sparingly  in driveways and sidewalks.

Vinegar is probably the most popular item used for weed control. Vinegar like salt, removes the moisture from plants. So while leaves may dry up and die, the root may still be able to produce weeds. Vinegar is not selective so it will kill whatever it comes in contact with. As with the above listed items, vinegar should be used with caution. 

Most recipes call for the addition of soap. You will want to use regular dish soap. Jerry Baker recommends that you do not use an antibacterial dish soap. The addition of soap helps the liquid to stick to the leaves and lets you know where you have sprayed.

There are some natural weedkillers that are available through your local home improvement center or the web. The recipes available for the above listed items are endless. Remember what worked for that guy in Minnesota may not work for your garden in Georgia. I did find this article that addresses some other issues with natural weedkillers. 

If anyone has tried any of these items as a weedkiller please feel free to leave your results below. As always, I would love to hear from you!

No comments:

Post a Comment