Exterior

NATURAL WEED KILLER?

Spring is in full force… birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, the grass is green (and growing fast as ever) and, unfortunately, weeds are popping up left and right – particularly where the bricks meet the driveway and the carport floor meets the asphalt…

Rather than going to the hardware store to buy weed killer, we opted to do a little research in hopes of finding a natural weed killer. After a bit of Google-ing, we found the most popular “natural weed killer” of choice was none other than vinegar. Vinegar is one of our cleaning bucket staples but we hadn’t thought about the possibilities of using it outdoors, much less as a weed killer. Apparently, the acetic acid in vinegar is what dries up and ultimately kills the weeds. Since vinegar is really cheap (only a buck or two per gallon), we figured we should give it a try.

Before we went spraying the entire perimeter of the house with vinegar, we decided to test the method where the carport and driveway come together. Here’s the before:

Before we show the after photo, here’s what we did: Obviously, we went out a bought a gallon of white vinegar. Next, we took an old Round-Up container, pulled off the lid, and rinsed it out thoroughly. Once that was done, we just filled up the container, pumped it up to the proper pressure, and went to town! It was really pretty easy. An old spray bottle would work just as fine.

Now, our results…

Okay. So this isn’t too impressive. There are several things that pop into my head as to what happened here: First, maybe there wasn’t enough sunlight (apparently this is a major factor in vinegar’s effectiveness). Second, maybe we didn’t use enough. The round-up container puts out a very fine mist; maybe we would have been better off just dumping some of our gallon container on the weeds. Third, maybe our climate is too humid for it to work well? Regardless, we’re going to keep testing more combinations and see what really works. We know it should work. It’s just a matter of finding what works for our weeds.

If you are planning on trying this remedy out for yourself, here are a few things to remember:

  • The acidic acid in the vinegar is the “killing agent”. This won’t work for pesky weeds in the flower bed because it will probably kill anything the vinegar comes in contact with. Therefore, vinegar is best used as a weed killer in concrete, between pavers, etc.
  • If used in direct sunlight, you’ll see the weeds start to brown an wither within just a few minutes. Larger weeds may take a day or so to fully die.
  • Yes, vinegar is really smelly. Give it a few minutes and rest assured, the smell will go away (especially on a hot day).

How about you?… Do you have any natural garden/outdoor remedies?

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    Ashley S
    May 23, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Dandelions are my biggest enemy. I used to go out every other day and rip those plants out. If I looked out my window and saw a yellow flower amid my green grass, I’d freak. I work at a place that has a bunch of buildings, and a lot of lawn between buildings. One day I was admiring the beautiful green grass here, when I noticed that there are a few weeds, and they totally blend right in. So I decided – as long as they aren’t overpowering my grass, and as long as I pluck the yellow heads off so they can’t spread more seeds, I’ll leave them be.
    Granted, I still tackle the weeds in my rock landscaping and in between driveway cracks, leaving the lawn weeds alone has done wonders for my sanity.

  • Reply
    Suzi
    May 23, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Say “Adieu” to the herbacious invaders by pouring boiling water on weeds to eliminate them. Boil some water in your kettle then pour it over the weeds. Be careful to ONLY get the weeds, not plants or grass.

    And, it’s non-toxic to your pets.

  • Reply
    erica p.
    May 23, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Great tip! I would love to find a natural weed killer that we can use on our lawn. Any suggestions? I know digging them out by hand is the best way to get rid of them for good, but what if you have a huge yard, or are just plain lazy? πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    Brooke Reviews
    May 23, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    I’ve heard that boiling water works on them as well. Although, that seems like more work, and electricity depending if you have an electric stove πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Jennah
    May 23, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    I’ve tried this several times, and also tried vinegar and salt and several other combinations. It sounds good in theory, but it never works. And whatever it does kill off, the weeds just come back (same with boiling water). I just pull what I can now and let the rest be.

  • Reply
    Kate
    May 23, 2011 at 10:21 pm

    Vinegar sounds like it would work so I’m surprised it doesn’t. You may have something with the humidity factor. There’s a lot of humidity in the southern east coast this time of year and that could have something to do with it, almost like the air dilutes the vinegar.

  • Reply
    Liz
    May 23, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    I live in Arizona and i’m anxious to try this out!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      May 23, 2011 at 11:23 pm

      Makes sense!

  • Reply
    Leslie @ NE Portland Bungalow
    May 23, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    I used [a generous amount of] vinegar on one spot and it didn’t grow back for 2 years!

    • Reply
      Ashley
      May 23, 2011 at 11:20 pm

      Oh goodness!

  • Reply
    Rebecca @ the lil house that could
    May 24, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Mike and I just picked up this organic weed killer… http://www.amazon.com/Burnout-Weed-Grass-Killer-Refill/dp/B0024EE5XS

    We haven’t tried it yet, but I will definitely let you know how it is!

  • Reply
    Kristiana
    May 24, 2011 at 9:56 am

    My mom always used boiling water. It works great and is free!!

  • Reply
    Elisa
    May 24, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Regular vinegar isn’t normally high enough in acetic acid to kill off most weeds – as Leslie noted you’ll need a LOT of vinegar to kill a small amount of weeds. πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      Leslie @ NE Portland Bungalow
      May 24, 2011 at 10:08 pm

      I wouldn’t say I thought it was a LOT, just wasn’t used sparingly. I just poured the vinegar on, rather than spraying. Worked great. I’ve tried it a few times since in the same manner. Works great.

  • Reply
    Erin @ The Impatient Gardener
    May 24, 2011 at 11:07 am

    I see that lots of people have suggested boiling water and that’s great. Also try the vinegar again. Sometimes it takes more than one application.

    Please, whatever you do, don’t resort to using Round-Up. The stuff is absolute poison and is extremely dangerous for the environment, pets and, most of all, people. Men and boys who hope to have children really shouldn’t even handle it and pregnant women certainly shouldn’t be near it.

  • Reply
    Melissa @ HOUSEography
    May 24, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Definitely going to try that on our driveway!

  • Reply
    Lauren Lelieur
    May 31, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    We just poured vinegar directly on some of our weeds and they are dead as doornails. Thanks for the tip!

  • Reply
    Weed Killer for Grass
    June 11, 2013 at 8:29 am

    I will surely try this in my parking area.

  • Reply
    The Gospel
    April 9, 2015 at 8:39 pm

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