If you own a home, you already know how hard and expensive it is to get rid of pesky weeds. Store brought weed killers are extremely expensive and if you read the label you will find that they are very toxic to both you and the environment. Although there will be times when a commercial product is the only solution, you might want to try a few ideas we have that have less damaging to the earth.
Here is a method that works, but requires multiple applications. The best part is that almost all of us already have it hanging around and it is extremely inexpensive. Vinegar makes a great natural weed killer. The acidic nature of vinegar is what does the trick in killing off the plants. This method will work best on smaller weeds and it is best to apply in direct sunlight. It is also best to apply vinegar when there is no mention of rain in the forecast, as the substance has to remain on the weeds for some time in order to be effective.
Here is another common household item that can kill weeds. Salt is something we all have hanging around the house and just a small dab will do the trick. If you have ever owned a water softener, you know that the areas where the softener discharges when it regenerates will often leave a barren area where nothing will grow. This is the result of salt getting into the soil. Since salt remains in the soil for some time, this method is best used in areas where you do not intend to plant. Applying salt between pavers, in gravel areas and in cracks between driveway slabs can help control weeds for an extended period of time. It is not advisable to use this method around gardens or landscape shrubs as the salt may damage them.
One of the most primitive ways to get rid of both weeds and even fire ants is to use boiling water. Yes, this method actually works and it is the least expensive of all ways to utilize. Please take care as not to burn yourself when trying this idea. Remember, there is zero toxicity to the environment when doing this.
By far, one of the most common ways of keeping weeds at bay is by the use of ground covers. One eco-friendly way of doing this is by using old newspapers. The next time you are planting in your garden, apply a layer of newspapers just under the soil layer. The newspapers act as a barrier to weeds but it is biodegradable and allows moisture to pass through. You can also use garden mulch but remember that to be eco-friendly, try to use natural ground covers such as pine needles or even ground up leaves. If you do use a commercial mulching product, try to avoid the use of cypress so we can preserve this natural resource. Remember, Earth Day is coming soon and we all need to help preserve one of our most prized assets, Mother Earth. I encourage you to try natural remedies first and to use these natural methods whenever possible.
Joe Zelenak has more than 30 years experience in gardening and landscape. Send e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website, www.hometowngarden.com.