Using chemical based herbicides to kill weeds means putting toxic chemicals on your garden and lawn where your pets and kids roam. Rains wash these toxins into the waterways affecting frogs, fish, insects and the ecosystem in general. The chemical based herbicides also soak into the ground contaminating the ground water. Long known to cause health problems and physical deformities in frogs and fish, commonly used herbicides are also proving to have negative health effects on humans as well. These negative effects include cell damage and hormone disruption. You become exposed to the herbicides either from using them yourself or through the water systems they enter.
There are less toxic and less expensive alternatives to killing weeds. One option is to use vinegar, commonly used as a natural household cleaner, for a weed killer. Vinegar is non-toxic to people, pets, and the environment.
When to Apply the Vinegar
Start applying the vinegar to the weeds early in the morning of a hot sunny day. Vinegar works by cooking the plant. The more sun and heat, the better it works. Vinegar will not work well or at all on a cloudy or rainy day.
Preparing the Vinegar
There’s no special mix or formula to worry about. Simply fill a garden sprayer typically used for herbicides with straight white vinegar. Do not dilute the vinegar; it will not work as well if you do.
Using the Vinegar
Spray the weeds you want to kill thoroughly. When using vinegar for a weed killer, you do have to cover every part of the plant that you can including all the leaves, the stem, and any roots that are exposed.
Keep in mind that any part of any plant that is covered with vinegar will die. This includes plants you want to keep. If you are using vinegar to kill weeds in the lawn or around flowerbeds, spray the vinegar carefully and low to the ground so that you target only the offending weeds and not surrounding garden plants or grass.
Removing the Weeds
Check on the weeds a few hours later. They should be yellow, brown, and dying. Killing weeds with vinegar does have a drawback in that it will not kill the roots of the weeds. You will have to now pull the plant by hand to prevent the roots from re-growing. However, with the upper portion of the plant dead, the roots are weaker and easier to pull out than when the plant was alive.