Weeds, even the name sounds like a nuisance. Every yard, flower bed, and lawn has them. And to be honest, they’re not all bad! My opinion of weeds, particularly dandelions, has changed since I saw them for sale at The Fresh Market a few months ago. Who knew I could have been harvesting fresh dandelion greens from my own yard?
Weeds are simply plants that we don’t want growing in a certain spot, and some, if left to their own devices, can quickly take over a space. In our yard and walkways, we struggle to control crabgrass and some form of Bermuda grass that loves our garden paths. I don’t worry too much about these things in the lawn itself. If it’s green and mows like grass, we pretty much let it live. But in other places, such as walkways, the driveway, and flower beds, I like to control what could potentially take over.
Weed killers and Gardens
The main reason I sought out my own form of weed killer is because of my love of backyard gardening. I’m hesitant to spray or put something on the ground that has a list of ingredients I cannot pronounce. This is the same rule of thumb for what seems good to eat. The classic blue and white bottled weed killer at the hardware store is adding who knows what to my property, and if it gets on me during application, I’m a little freaked out.
Several years ago, I tested a DIY weed killer recipe my dad gave me as well as plain boiling water. Both methods worked well, and you can see my full results here. If you’ve seen the article, then you know that boiling water did an amazing job of killing weeds. However, carrying the kettle in and out of the house and waiting for it to boil in between wasn’t the most time effective method. By tweaking the DIY weed killer recipe, I was able to make up a large batch, and hit all of the weeds in one session. Win!
As a note, I do not use this DIY weed killer, or any other, in my raised garden beds. If there’s a weed in the garden, I pull it by hand. I do use this on my garden paths, and I have had no ill effects from using it there.
DIY Weed Killer Ingredients
For this recipe, I used a lot of the common ingredients for DIY weed killers: vinegar of some kind, salt, and soap. The soap helps to cut through any oils the plant’s leaves may have as protection, and the salt and vinegar do their jobs of drying out the plants and killing them. There are variations and substitutions that can be made, and I’ll list those below. For the recipe, you’ll need:
1 gallon white vinegar (You could use another type of vinegar, but white is the cheapest and easiest to buy in large quantities)
2 cups Epsom salt (I like the garden variety found in local garden centers, but I have a friend who used iodized salt… I’m not sure about the long term effects of this.)
1/4 cup Dish soap (Dr. Bronner’s castile soap can also be used for a more natural option.)
To make the DIY weed killer, combine the ingredients in the order listed in a large garden sprayer.
Replace the lid on the sprayer, and gently swirl around the ingredients. You don’t want to shake it so vigorously that the soap foams too much.
Pump up your sprayer, and wet the weeds with your DIY weed killer solution. You should be able to see a difference within 8 hours of spraying the DIY weed killer.
Ideally, a sunny day (or at least a dry one) is perfect for applying DIY weed killer. This will ensure that your solution can soak down and do it’s job. So if rain is in the forecast for later in the day, I would wait to apply your DIY weed killer until the weather has cleared up and the ground has dried.
Check out my video below of exactly how easy it is to make and use this DIY weed killer!