When to Replant Flower Bed After Using Natural Weed Killer


If I use a natural grass killer in my rock garden, i.e. vinegar, salt, boiling water, etc., will I be successful in reseeding with wild flowers after rinsing the ground thoroughly with water?


Hardiness Zone: 1

Chip from Colorado


Hi Chip,

I'm going to use your question to address my feelings on using ANY form of chemical weed control. Whether natural or synthetic, all weed killers contain chemicals that can alter, and damage (sometimes permanently) soil chemistry. This includes weed killers that contain vinegar, dish soap, and worst of all, salt.

And while I've posted homemade week killer recipes on this website in the past that contain all three of these ingredients, these are not recipes that I have personally created, or that I personally use. These are recipes that can easily be found in various well-respected garden books, on websites all over the Internet, and perhaps most surprisingly, several extension websites. Posting them here was my thrifty attempt to steer gardeners away from synthetic weed killers that are often misunderstood, and as a result, misused.


I realize that not all gardeners, or gardeners visiting this site, garden organically. That is just fine. I happen to fall on the organic side of the fence. That said, I can no longer recommend (in good conscience) the use of any chemical agents (homemade or otherwise) to get rid of weeds in any soil that will potentially host plants in the future. Getting rid of weeds growing in cracks in someone's driveway may be another story.


To answer your question: It may be fine for getting rid of weeds in-between cracks in a sidewalk, but otherwise, never use salt from your cupboard on any soil where you want plants to grow again anytime soon. My best advice would be to remove the weeds in your rock garden by hand-pulling, flaming, or with boiling water. If you use any one of these three methods, you can replant immediately with no problems.



About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at

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By melissa (Guest Post)
April 30, 20080 found this helpful

I feel that it would be okay. I used the same kind of thing for the slugs and ants I had last year.
I have a mix of flowers plus herbs and everything was fine. You could also pick up a ph soil tester for under $10.

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May 2, 20160 found this helpful


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April 30, 20080 found this helpful

Thank you!

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May 3, 20080 found this helpful

How much salt did you use? Soil holds salt and salt kills plants. There may be a problem.

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October 2, 20090 found this helpful

My words would be as Ellen's are. As a natural or organic gardener, I would NIX the salt unless you really DON'T want things planted in that area. I use the soap/water in spray bottle, vinegar where I don't want anything immediately.


One thing was to give an area of 'weeds' some miracle grow and in a couple weeks, the weeds/seedlings were large enough I could tell which to pull out!

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