You don’t have to pour hazardous chemicals onto your yard or garden to kill weeds. Using natural weed killers means the weeds, not you, get poisoned! Here are some ideas of how to rid your yard of weeds without the health risks associated with synthetic weed killers.
Pour about 1/4 teaspoon of table salt at the base of the weed(s). This is enough to kill the weed, but the amount is small enough that water will dilute it sufficiently rather than carrying it to plants you want to keep. This is also effective for gravel driveways. You can sprinkle more copious amounts here, as long as the driveway is not situated so that salty run-off would kill wanted plants.
2. Plastic bags
This is a great way to use (or re-use) black plastic bags. Lay the bags over the weeds and weight them down with rocks, heavy sticks, bricks, etc. After about two weeks, remove the plastic to reveal nearly bare earth.
3. Boiling water
Easy and cheap, pouring boiling water onto weeds is effective. It is so effective, in fact, that you need to be careful not to get the boiling water on any plants you want to keep, including grass.
White or cider vinegar can be used directly on weeds, poured over the leaves and into the ground. You can also put it in a spray bottle and add 1/4 teaspoon of essential oil of clove and/or cinnamon per quart. The clove/cinnamon vinegar solution is especially effective against poison ivy.
Whether using vinegar plain or with the oils, you will need to re-apply it every week to ten days for awhile. Vinegar kills only the weed’s aerial parts, and repeated applications are needed to exhaust the weed’s resources so that the root gives out and dies, too.
Like the plastic bags mentioned above, newspaper can be laid over weeds and weighted down. Use a full “section” of newspaper so that it is thick. This deprives the weeds of light and air, and the newspaper is biodegradable.
Vodka works as a weed killer. Mix about 3 tablespoons of it with 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. Spray the leaves well with this solution, and the alcohol will dry out the leaves.
This can be found in the laundry section of your local store, and is a kind of salt. Mix 5 teaspoons of borax with 1 quart of water and use as a spray.
8. Manual removal
While this is hard work, simply removing weeds by pulling them out is very effective. You can also use manual removal in combination with some of the above solutions.
If you are dealing with poison ivy, suit up appropriately and cover your hands, eyes, mouth, and nose before attempting removal, and thoroughly launder your clothes afterward. If you have poison ivy growing up a tree, use a sharp saw (such as a bow saw) to cut the hairy stem in half. From the cut upward, the vine will die.
Remember, do not compost weeds or they will find their way back into your garden.