Last Updated on May 6, 2021
Having a garden or lawn means you are probably familiar with the serious need to control weeds. If you are very environmentally aware, you might also be wondering how to kill weeds without weed killer. Fortunately, there are many ways to establish weed control in your garden without a chemical herbicide or commercial product. This article will teach you how to use several different methods, none of which require specific weed killer chemicals.
5 Ways to Get Rid of Weeds Without Using Weed Killers
Method 1: Newspaper and Mulch
One way to get rid of weeds in your garden beds is by covering the ground with newspaper and then mulch. This combination of materials can smother the soil and block out sunlight preventing weeds from growing. It also prevents weed seeds from implanting. Newspaper and mulch are also porous, so your plants below will still get water and be able to sprout. Cover the ground right after planting for the best results.
- Start by wetting the soil in your garden bed or beds.
- Next, lay down thin sheets of newspaper, maybe three sheets thick, from edge to edge. Make sure to overlap the edges and cover the entire garden surface, so no weeds find their way in.
- Now it’s time to wet the newspaper and ground from above. If you don’t have access to mulch right away, this layer of the newspaper could be enough to keep weeds away. Additionally, the newspaper will disintegrate naturally, so there won’t be a need for cleanup later.
- Lastly, add a thin layer of mulch on top of the newspaper for a denser, more effective form of weed control.
Method 2: Salt, Liquid Dish Soap, and White Vinegar
This solution is a highly effective method that works as a natural herbicide and has long-lasting results. Use this option on a sunny, dry day that isn’t windy to achieve the best results possible. Also, only use white vinegar that has at least a 5% acetic acid level.
Beware, while this is a long-term, almost permanent solution that can last for years, salt will kill everything, so only apply this solution to the weeds directly. It is best for sidewalk cracks, patios, and rock features. The salt can also damage your soil and prohibit things from growing in it in the future, even grass, so be careful.
- Mix 1 gallon of white vinegar with one cup of Epsom or table salt and stir until dissolved.
- Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of liquid dish soap and gently stir again. The soap will help your weed killing solution stick to the weeds themselves and resist spreading to other plants or the surrounding grass.
- Add your solution to a spray bottle and spray it directly onto your weeds.
Method 3: Weeding by Hand
It may seem a bit obvious, but one of the best ways to kill weeds is by pulling them out by hand. When you pull out weeds, make sure to remove the entire root when possible. You may want to wear gloves and use a spade or other weeding tools to help with this process.
This option is best done when the weeds are young and before they get a chance to spread their seed, especially with dandelions.
Method 4: Corn Gluten Meal
This method helps prevent new weeds from growing. The corn gluten meal has an oily coating that stops weeds from forming roots. Use corn gluten with at least 60% protein, not cornmeal found in the grocery store or used for cooking. We recommend using this method at the end of winter or the start of spring before you plant flowers and vegetables. You also want to use this method when there is no rain expected for at least a few days.
- Sprinkle the corn gluten meal around your garden, taking care to avoid existing plants.
- Water the soil after applying the corn gluten meal and then let it dry for a week or two.
- Ideally, one or two applications a year should be enough to keep a wide variety of weeds away.
Method 5: Heat
Excessive heat can also be used as an effective form of weed killer. This method shrivels the plant itself and can cause some shock to the root but is not considered permanent.
If you have access to a gardening torch, you can try scorching weeds as soon as you notice them. Just make sure not to catch any nearby plants on fire in the process.
Boiling water also kills weeds when poured over the leaves and stem. Boiling water is also a convenient method that won’t require you to purchase any materials.
FAQs on Weed Killing
What Are the Reasons to Avoid Weed Killers?
There are several reasons you may choose to avoid weed killers.
First, weed killers contain toxic chemicals, especially store-bought commercial options. These chemicals can be harmful to your skin, eyes, and even lungs. They are also less safe for use around kids and pets.
Additionally, weed killers can also harm birds and bees in your area. Lastly, homemade options that don’t involve chemicals are generally less expensive.
Do Natural Weed Killing Options Work?
Natural weed killing options work quite well, and most people find they don’t need chemical herbicides to manage weeds in their lawn and garden. The best way often depends on how many weeds you have and the general condition of your garden. Overall, you should achieve excellent results without the need for chemicals if you use one of the methods listed above.
Weed Free In No Time
Now that you know how to kill weeds without weed killer and how many options are available, you can choose a method that would best benefit you and your garden the most.
Will you be using newspapers and mulch or corn gluten meal? Would you rather weed by hand, or will you be opting for the natural herbicide solution comprised of dish soap, salt, and white vinegar?
How will you rid your garden of weeds? Post a comment below to let us know what you think.