It’s that weeding time of year again. Questions about homemade remedies have come up on several of my social media outlets and in comments on my posts. Sounds like blog fodder to me. So.
Here’s my experience–with the caveat that this is not intended as The One True Way advice, just what’s worked for me. There are plenty of blogs that analyze organic/home herbicides in detail. (Spoiler alert: most gardening blogs point out that homemade remedies are NOT as effective as glyphosate or horticultural herbicides. Which is nothing but the truth.)
I use them anyway. My yard is small (roughly 50×100 ft) and I don’t like t use persistent chemicals where I can avoid them because (1) I often change my mind about what I want to plant where, and (2) I forget what I’ve sprayed.
For a mostly-effective easy *temporary* herbicide, I use straight vinegar + a tiny squeeze of dish soap to help the acid penetrate waxy leaf surfaces. No measuring, no cooking, just pour, shake & go. Last year I invested in a commercial product I call “vinegar on steroids” It is even more effective but it is mega-expensive & I wear my glasses + protective clothes (aka old jeans & shoes) when I spray it because it is *very* acidic.
Pouring boiling water over plants is another simple quick kill. I see it recommended especially for patios and walkways. I also see a lot of recipes with salt added. Here’s the thing: salt adds nothing to the effectiveness in small quantities, and in larger ones it’s a VERY bad idea on soil, concrete or brick. NaCl builds up to toxic levels shockingly fast, and unlike vinegar, it persists. High risk of permanent damage. Victorious armies did not salt the earth of their enemies as a favor.
Also, long-term, bricks & concrete don’t appreciate the temperature stress of being boiled. ALSO-also, you have to carry around boiling water. I’m as likely to boil myself as anything else. Noooooo, thanks.
So I spray between my patio bricks with vinegar instead. It does bleach unsealed brick. I have old bricks. I do not care.
Want to be a home recipe multi-tasker? Adding 1-2 c. epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) to each gallon of vinegar makes the spray a mild fertilizer, and 1/4 c soap (which is a LOT) makes the spray lethal to any soft insects in the area too.
I do recommend whatever you spray, invest in a cheap 1 or 2 gal sprayer and use it for nothing but Killer Chemicals.
DISCLAIMERS: None of these will kill deep-rooted or established runner-rooted weeds with only one application. Not even the commercial acids are as effective as glyphosate etc. The sunnier the day and the warmer it is, however, the more effective the spray.
Have a look at the results.
And that’s that. 😀