As a mom, you want your child to work alongside you in the garden. The miracle of the transformation from seed to plant offers a wealth of lessons. But what you don't want is to expose your child to dangerous chemicals -- chemicals listed in the ingredients of many commercial weed killers. Instead, reach for something you already probably have in your kitchen, and kill the weeds naturally.
Lemons (Citrus limon) are not just for killing weeds. They are attractive trees, and the fruit has a wide variety of uses. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11, they can grow to 20 feet, but many cultivars remain much smaller. Plant a dwarf tree in a container and let your child pick the fresh, tart lemons for a homemade lemonade stand, and you can use the leftover juice on your weeds.
Lemon juice is acidic. When sprayed directly on the leaves of a plant, it eats away at the waxy protective coating, eventually drying out the plant and killing it. Sometimes the roots survive, so repeated applications may be necessary. The more you coat the leaves of the plant, the better.
Like lemon juice, vinegar contains acetic acid, is organic and is likely already in your kitchen. The combination of lemon juice and vinegar makes an effective all-natural weed killer. Add 4 ounces of lemon juice to a quart of white vinegar and place it in a spray bottle. For best results, use vinegar that contains at least 10 percent acetic acid.
Even though the weed killer is all natural, it can still sting the eyes and skin. Wear protection when applying the solution to your weeds. Spray it on a hot day when there is no change of rain to wash the solution off of the weeds. Because the solution will kill desirable plants as well as weeds, protect nearby plants from the spray, and don't spray on a windy day.