I’m sure at this point in the season, you’re already in midst of a time-honored summer tradition: fighting to keep your lawn free of pesky weeds. We all have our own ways of eradicating them, from herbicides to manual weeding tools, but there’s no such thing as too many options in my opinion! :-)
In today’s blog post, I hope to arm you with all of the knowledge, know-how, and tips you need to kill weeds and keep your lawn in tip-top shape throughout the summer season. In addition to sharing the recipe for my super simple and effective homemade weed killer spray (with just 3 ingredients!), you’ll also learn more about how and why weeds grow so you can outsmart and outflank them before they become a problem!
So let’s get started, shall we?
Why Do Weeds Love Grass?
When it comes to our lawns, many of us see weeds as a nuisance at best, and at worst, a mortal enemy that must be vanquished at all costs. But in reality, it’s precisely because of our penchant for short, tidy grass that garden weeds become an issue in the first place!
A well-kept lawn provides an almost ideal environment for many types of weeds. Short grass provides easy access to the soil for germinating weed seeds, and they can get plenty of sunshine because they won’t be competing with or covered up by other plants.
The Wide World Of Weeds
The term “weed” doesn’t apply to any one plant, but rather a variety of plants that are widely considered invasive, problematic, or otherwise undesirable. Here are just some of the plants that may pop up in your yard as weeds:
- Wild violet
- Wild onions
- Wild garlic
- Broadleaf Plantain
- Garlic mustard
What’s The Best Way To Get Rid Of Weeds?
When it comes to weed control, many people swear by good old fashioned elbow grease (AKA manually removing them from the ground.) This is actually one of the more effective methods in terms of getting rid of weeds and preventing them from coming back, as long as you can remove the weed roots and all. But as you know, that’s often much easier said than done!
Herbicides are another popular option for killing weeds, and home improvement and gardening stores offer a variety of commercial weed killers that are easy to use and apply. However, many of these products are toxic (like roundup) and can pose a threat humans and pets when used incorrectly, making them a less attractive option for those who enjoy going barefoot on their grass.
But luckily, there’s a third option that combines the convenience of commercial sprays with the non-toxic and safe approach of manual weeding. You can make your own non-toxic homemade weed killer spray by following the simple instructions below!
How To Make Homemade Natural Weed Killer
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 2 Tbsp table salt
- 1 tsp dish soap
Step 1: Add the vinegar, salt, and dish soap to a 16-ounce spray bottle. Replace the sprayer top and shake gently to mix.
Step 2: Spray onto weeds as soon as you notice them. For best results spray the weeds on a warm sunny day. And Be careful of overspray to avoid singeing any grass around the weed.
How It Works
The acetic acid in household vinegar works helps fight weeds in two ways. First, it burns the weeds on contact, and second, it lowers the pH of the surrounding soil, making it harder for the weed to survive the encounter.
The addition of dishwashing soap (like Dawn) thickens the formula, which helps it adhere to weeds. Vinegar itself is quite thin, and on its own, might drip right off or evaporate before it has time to do enough damage.
And finally, a few tablespoons of table salt gives this week killer a bit more oomph. Salt is highly effective, especially on a sunny day, at drawing out moisture, and when combined with vinegar, helps to burn and dry out weeds, reducing the chances that it can reestablish itself.
With these powerful yet widely available ingredients, the result is a DIY weed killer that’s:
- Cheap to make
- Easy to use
- Fast-acting, and…
- Non-toxic to humans and pets! :-)
Other Natural & Effective Weed Killers
Weeds need sunshine and air to grow, which you can use to your advantage when you want to eliminate them. Use a weed trimmer or mower to level them off, then use a ground cover like newspaper or mulch on top of them.
Without access to sun and air, the weed can’t grow or produce new seeds, and will eventually die.
If weeds are a problem in the cracks of your sideways or driveway, boiling water makes a quick and easy solution! Boil a kettle of water, then take it outside and pour it directly onto weeds to kill them instantly.
Note that this method won’t kill weeds at their root, but it’s a quick and easy way to buy yourself a good amount of weed-free time before they bounce back!
Final Thoughts On Weeds
Unfortunately, keeping weeds at bay is an inescapable and never-ending part of maintaining a lawn or garden. And unlike commercial weed killing products, this natural solution doesn’t work its way down to the root system. So there is a chance they will reappear. But accepting that can be a good thing because once you realize that you’ll never eliminate every weed forever, you can give yourself a break when you see a few around your yard!
The best piece of advice I can give you about controlling the weed population in your yard is to perform regular inspections and do your weeding early. If you pull them or spray weeds while they’re young, your efforts will be much more effective than if you had waited till later!
The weed killers I mentioned in today’s post are a great option when it comes to controlling weeds. Using a cheap homemade concoction is great, but the peace of mind you’ll enjoy from knowing your weed killer is non-toxic to humans and pets is even better! :-)
Want More Tips For Your Lawn & Garden?
Click on the links below to explore other posts about lawn care and gardening from the OGT Archives:
Do you have any tips or tricks about controlling or killing weeds?
How To Make Homemade Weed Killer
- Spray Bottle (16-ounce)
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 2 Tbsp table salt
- 1 tsp dish soap
- Add the vinegar, salt, and dish soap to a 16-ounce spray bottle. Replace the sprayer top and shake gently to mix.
- Spray onto weeds as soon as you notice them. For best results spray the weeds on a warm sunny day. And Be careful of overspray to avoid singeing any grass around the weed.