Contrary to what big chemical companies would like you to believe, weeds are not very hard to kill. You do not need expensive and chemicals that may cause cancer and persist in the environment for decades. Like any plant, weeds need a just-right balance of water, sunlight, oxygen, nutrients from the soil, and moderate temperatures. Deprive them of any of these, and voila – they will die. In fact, as my houseplants can attest to, its far too easy to kill a plant. So before you resort to the “nuclear option” of conventional chemical weed killers, consider these crazy-simple and safe ways of getting rid of your weeds.
If you put a plastic sheet over an area of weeds and weigh it down with rocks or bricks, it won’t be long before the weeds are deprived of the oxygen and sunlight they need to thrive.
The most natural method of removing a weed is to them out by the roots, let the roots dry out in the sun, and then compost them.
Applying a flame to the weed will cause it to wither and die. Special flame-weeding tools are designed to safely apply heat to the weeds. However, in drought- or fire-prone areas, this method is not advisable.
4. Boiling Water
Simply pouring boiling water over the weeds is easy, safe, and won’t leave any harmful residues.
10 ounces of this cleaning powder dissolved in 2.5 gallons of water makes a solution that you can coat the leaves of the weeds with. Take care to avoid spraying any on your skin, other plants, or the ground.
Spray an industrial strength version of vinegar (up to 20% acetic acid) directly to the leaves. You can usually find this concentrated strength in garden stores. Just be careful to not get the solution anywhere near your face, on any other plants or the ground. You may need to repeat the process if the weeds don’t die after the first application.
A salt solution applied directly to the leaves will kill the weed. To make the solution: in a spray bottle, combine 1 part table salt in 8 parts hot water and add a few drops of dish soap (which will help the solution stick to the leaves). Spritz the leaves of the weeds while being careful to not get the solution on any other plants or the ground since leaving salt in the ground will be bad for the soil.
8. Combo Treatment
If #5 and #6 don’t work, try the combined power of vinegar and salt. To make a solution, add 1 cup of salt to 1 gallon of vinegar and add a little dish soap. Spray the mixture on the leaves and stems of the weeds.