- 1 litre (35 fl. oz) of boiling water (hot tap water will also work but not quite as well)
- 5 tsp. vinegar
- 6 tsp. salt (regular table salt)
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. dishwasher (machine) detergent (powder is better than liquid, but liquid will work ok)
Mix all together. Take care with hot water!
Natural Weed Killers are simple substances with a direct and obvious action. They destroy plant life for a short period. They are substances encountered naturally but in small quantities. Their presence is well-known and normally not harmful. But when applied in larger doses the results are usually obvious in a very short time. As always, these methods need due caution so please wear protective eye/hand/body protection.
This weed killer acts at the point they are used. After treatment their damaging effect is dissipated. Vinegar is made of Acetic Acid along with other weak organic acids. It has become a popular 'cottage garden' alternative for those who dislike modern herbicides. This mixture works by disrupting membranes and causing leakage of plant cells. The damage to plants appears rapidly and even quicker on hot days. The acid is not around long enough to have any lasting effect on earthworms, soil invertebrates or organic matter breakdown. The good news is that it won't cause any lasting or apparent harm to pets or children.
This mixture can kill: Canadian Thistle, Clover, Dandelion, Foxtail, Ivy Leaf, Milkweed, Pigweed, Poison Hemlock, Ragweed, Quackgrass, Bluegrass, plus mosses, liverworts and more. However it is not selective and harms all the plants it touches so take care!
Excess salt poisons the soil. Many important organisms: bacteria, fungi, earthworms; will be killed by salinity. It will eventually wash out, even so I would not use it on land intended for cultivating plants. For some gardeners it is an option to consider with drives and gravel areas where plants are not intended to grow and where run off can be contained. NB: Remember, salt is not biodegradable, so overuse use will eventually be detrimental to surrounding areas.
By Joycie from Maitland, NSW, Australia