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To get rid of dandelions, spray straight vinegar into the center of each plant and in about two weeks they will all be dead and gone. Any that haven't disappeared will be dead and can be dug/pulled out. (There shouldn't be any). This really worked for me and they have never grown back in the area I treated. ONLY in the center of the plant, not on the grass.
Source: The Vinegar Book
By katesnanna from Brisbane, Australia
You can mix up a homemade weed killer solution using salt and vinegar. This page contains a salt and vinegar weed killer recipe.
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
What is the best nontoxic weed killer to use and what ingredients are needed?
Hardiness Zone: 6a
By Laurie from Jackson, MI
Try using boiling water, or equal parts of bleach and water. Do not use on anything you do not want to kill, in the lawn or garden. I just used bleach and water in my rock gardens, and saw results in a day.
Vinegar or Boiling Water: Regular household Vinegar can be used or you can buy a stronger vinegar at a plant nursery. Heating the vinegar up works even better! Put the vinegar in a garden-sprayer & spray on the weeds, or pour it directly on to the soil to kill the roots.
Vinegar is more permanent & will keep most things from growing long-term, while boiling water, of course is only temporary, but it works for areas where you may want to later grow things, like weeding flower or vegetable gardens or where you may want to plant foliage or bushes at a later date.
* To boil water outside, you can use a propane camping stove, but don't leave it unattended! Not even for a second, because a child or someone's pet could get burned!
Do the environment a favor & please don't use bleach, it IS toxic!
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Use a mixture of vinegar and water, 1/2 and 1/2, to kill weeds. But be careful, its something like Roundup and will kill grass or any other shrubs. Use it on weeds in blocks, patios, etc. Just spray and walk away. NO chemicals - how much greener can you get?
By Jody from Brick, NJ
I have read this before too and I love the idea it is safe/green! I have a Jack Russell who loves to dig up worms and moles. I also like using rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle to zap flies. It kills them. I also spray it around my doors to deter spiders..yuck. (06/16/2010)
I am going to try this, as my weeds are taking over and I hate the chemicals. (06/16/2010)
I am looking for a weed killer for garden moss.
Try the Moss and Algae Killer (its cost is about $13.00-$14.00), if you don't know where to find it, look it up on Google, or ask your local Wal-mart, Kmart, etc. Hope this helps! (03/20/2010)
We have a lot of weeds growing in the street and we wold like to know some none chemical ways to kill the weeds. Our water comes from the aquifer.
Carol from Hobbs, NM
Pour boiling water over the weeds. It takes a few days for them to die, but it does work.
I just read that distilled white vinegar kills weeds and leaves the grass around it intact.
Janet in Twin Falls, ID (11/30/2000)
First cut the weeds with a mower or weed wacker, then cover the area with black plastic for a few days when it is hot. That will help kill off what is growing there. When weeds are dead, dig up the soil and replant. If you don't want anything to grow there and if you have bark, mulch, or gravel around you can cover the plastic with that and leave in place.
Weeds will only be able to grow above the plastic making them much easier to pull. Another way is to cover the area with newspaper (2 sheets thick) and cover that with bark or mulch. Cut holes with a knife where you want to plant or just leave it covered with bark, mulch, or gravel. For spot weed killing, baking soda also works well. Sprinkle a little on top of the weed. The weeds turn black and die within a few days. Safer's has a nontoxic weed killer available in garden stores.
Susan - The Editor
I put down black plastic about 20 years ago and made holes to plant flowers and bushes. Recently we removed some problem plants and pulled up some of the plastic. The soil under it had mold mixed with the soil about 8 inches deep. I won't use it again. (04/04/2006)
Recipes using common salt poisons the soil for years and helps more dangerous chemicals move into the groundwater. Roundup kills even the roots, doesn't poison the land, and actually breaks down on the surface into natural, harmless organics. One of the few times where cheap or natural is never better. Salt has been used to ruin farmland during war since biblical days. (05/02/2006)
By The Greenster
Always get a healthy lawn and you will not have weeds. Fertilize with a good fertilizer 3 times a year. Remember that the fall fertilization is the most important one. You also have to know what kind of grass you have to know what fertilizer to use. Then search online for the info. It takes lot of water for the grass to grow fast. Good luck. (03/26/2009)
I live in Colorado and we are trying to xeriscape our backyard to cut down on water usage. I have several beds in progress with perennials and hand pull the weeds there, but I have laid down bark mulch as ground cover on the remaining yard areas.
I have used Round-up (gasp!) in the past to control weeds, but hate the chemical idea so am looking for something natural to spray on the yard area that won't seep into soil and hurt plants in my beds.
By mkelly1 from Canon City, CO
Use either type of vinegar. The stronger kinds they sell at plant nurseries, or you can heat up regular vinegar on the stove to almost boiling. If you use vinegar, nothing will grow there for many years. The vinegar can be put into a plant sprayer. For a natural weeder, if you want to re-plant the area in the near future, use boiling water! Believe it or not, it sounds simple, but it works! (08/24/2009)
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
We use borax to kill weeds and grass on our brick patio. Works great even on nutgrass and doesn't seem to spread it's effect to the grass off the patio and lasts for months. You can water it in and it won't bother your animals, we have cats and dogs who haven't gotten sick by us using borax yet. (10/28/2007)
By piki viki
To the folks who have the bamboo dilemma, you've definitely got a tenacious plant you're dealing with. Bamboo, as you've come to know it a super tough resilient plant that is tougher than a Timex watch, because of its incredibly expansive root system. When you chop bamboo down to the ground and dig it up to a depth of 1 ft. and even twice as wide as the plant was on the surface, you've only slowed it down.
What you did is scratch the surface. The plant has so much more stored energy in its root system which will allow it to pop up again in a matter of weeks. When it does pop back up and reaches sunlight, it's storing even more energy and growing it's root system. The only effective way to kill bamboo is to exhaust the hell out of it by digging and digging and digging until the root system has had enough. No sunlight, no energy, but it will take repeated "timely" attempts to finally win the battle. I've done it myself so trust me, if you're more stubborn than the bamboo, you'll win. Good luck. (01/26/2008)
By Rob H.
What ever happened to good old fashioned pulling them out? Would love to do that, but extensive arthritis prevents that. Thanks to all the natural weedkiller remedies. (02/21/2008)
Will vinegar also kill any flowers that you may accidentally get an overspray on?
Editor's Note: Yes, it could. So make sure to rinse them off if you get some on them. (05/19/2008)
I have heard that Listerine kills weeds. So if you are able to snag some through rebates or whatever, then try it. (06/03/2008)
My neighbor has weeds that are so high that they are starting to cover my fence. I have two big dogs and don't want them sick.