Make manually removing weeds a family affair.

How to Kill Weeds Without Using Herbicides

by Jaimie Zinski

No matter how painstakingly you care for your backyard garden or lawn, weeds keep on rearing their unattractive heads. Herbicides are a convenient and effective way to eliminate weeds, however, these chemicals can also kill surrounding flowers and grass. Instead of spraying potentially harmful herbicides around your children and pets, eliminate those pesky weeds from your lawn and garden using safe and natural alternatives already found in your home.

1 Cover the weed-prone area with a layer of corn gluten in the spring. According to Organic Gardening, corn gluten, a left-over product of corn processing often fed to livestock, will suppress weed growth. However, Organic Gardening also cautions corn gluten will affect any newly planted grass or plants as well.

2 Pull the weeds out by hand. Grab a pair of gardening gloves, gather up your kids and pull all the weeds from your garden or lawn. Pay attention to pulling out the weed's roots, or they will grow back. Use a trowel or dandelion fork to make the job easier.

3 Cover your flowerbed or the area around your trees with a thick layer of organic mulch. The mulch prevents weeds from receiving the vital nutrients they require to thrive. If spreading around trees, leave a 2- to 4-inch area around the trunk empty to allow water and nutrients to reach the tree's roots.

4 Create a mixture of 3 cups white vinegar, 1/2 cup table salt and 1 tablespoon dish detergent in a plastic spray bottle. Replace the cap and shake the bottle vigorously before spraying the mixture directly on the weeds. The dish detergent makes the mixture sticky, while the salt and vinegar kill the weeds. Apply the mixture carefully to avoid harming your grass and garden plants.

5 Pour boiling water over the weeds. The next time you enjoy a pasta dinner with the kids, the Daily Green recommends pouring the left-over scalding water onto unwanted weeds.

6 Cover large outbreaks of low-lying weeds, such as crabgrass, with two to three layers of newspaper. The biodegradable newspaper blocks sunlight the weeds require to grow.

Items you will need

  • Corn gluten
  • Garden gloves
  • Organic mulch
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup table salt
  • 1 tablespoon dish detergent
  • Plastic spray bottle
  • Boiling water
  • Garden trowel
  • Dandelion fork
  • Newspaper

Photo Credits

  • Steve Mason/Photodisc/Getty Images