If you're a homeowner with any amount of yard space, you know how difficult it can be to control weeds. It's easy to become so fed up with these lawn invaders that you think you must resort to chemicals. However, while most of these products are effective, they're also dangerous to the people and pets in your household. They're capable of causing health problems ranging from cancer to neurological disorders to asthma. Fortunately, there are harmless alternatives available that are just as effective. Here are five natural ways to kill weeds and keep chemicals out of your yard and home:
You've likely heard that vinegar can de-lime faucets and whiten laundry, but did you know it can also kill stubborn weeds? Vinegar contains acetic acid, a natural substance that burns plants' foliage, making it dry up and die. Best of all, it's inexpensive and easy to use. Simply pour undiluted white vinegar or pickling vinegar into a spray bottle and apply it to weeds. Be careful to avoid desired plants as vinegar doesn't discriminate.
Boiling water is great for sanitizing things, and it can also sanitize your yard of weeds. It kills the weeds by essentially cooking them while they're still in the ground. Just bring some water to a boil, carry it outside and dump it over the offending weeds. Use care to avoid spilling any on yourself or non-weed plants.
Soap Them Up
Weeds and soap don't mix. To deal with pesky invasive plants, add four tablespoons of liquid dish detergent to a quart of water and spray it over the weeds' leaves. Because it's a surfactant, the soap dissolved the natural waxy barrier on the leaves that holds in moisture. On a hot, sunny day, this will make the weed fatally dehydrate.
Isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol, makes an excellent weed killer. Mix about three tablespoons into one quart of water in a spray bottle and douse weeds with it. The alcohol will dry out the leaves, depriving the roots of light and killing the plant. For weeds with thick, waxy leaves, like thistle, you may need to use several applications.
If you live in an area that sees icy winters, you may be familiar with the havoc road salt can wreak on your grass. You can use this same principle to your advantage, because salt will also kill the plants you don't want. In a spray bottle, create a mixture of three parts water to one part table salt and spray it on the weeds. To give it a little more kick, you can also add vinegar and a drop of dish detergent to the mix.
If your lawn and garden are being taken over by weeds, you aren't stuck with using hazardous and expensive chemicals to get rid of them. The next time you want to reclaim your yard from their grasp, try one of these natural methods instead. The information for this article was provided by the professionals at Western Turf Farms Ltd., who provide sod in Vancouver.