Saturday, April 21, 2012

Vinegar Weed Killer

I've had a few people tell me that using vinegar for a weed killer is a great option to Round-Up or other weed killers.

I searched around on the internet for some recipes and found this very helpful site. The Garden Counselor

I really appreciate the scientific approach used on the site (being that I'm married to a Ph. D. chemist and all.)

They used a few different recipes for killing weeds. I used the Full Strength Vinegar and Soap recipe. Really, it's 1 gallon of regular white vinegar (it's cheaper than cider vinegar) and 1 tablespoon of Dawn dishwashing liquid (because that's what I have on hand.) I put mine in a new garden sprayer.

Are you wondering what the soap adds? The scientist/hubby said that the soap is the 'spreader sticker' that makes the vinegar stick to the plant better.

I sprayed the weeds in the flower beds and around the new fruit trees a day after it rained.

There are some pros and cons to using vinegar. The pros include: I don't have to buy a Monsanto product, it is safer around pets and kids, it only kills the tops (not the roots) of the plants, our soil is alkaline here, so adding some acid to the soil is a good thing.

One con is: it only kills the roots of the plants.

While killing the roots and the plant completely is a great thing in some areas of the yard, I'd prefer to not kill roots in the flower beds and around the fruit trees. If I spray with vinegar and soap often enough, I'm fairly sure the roots will eventually die off. If they don't, at least I haven't killed off the flowers or the fruit trees along with the weeds.

Here are some before and 24 hour afer photos

Before spraying.

24 hours after spraying. I didn't get the camera in exactly the same spot, sorry about that! You can see the grass and the dandelion are brown, although the flowers on the dandelion are still yellow. 

Before spraying

24 hours after spraying, again, the flowers are still yellow, but the leaves of the plants are dying off.
24 hours after spraying (but no before picture). You can see the bind weed all shriveled. I'm pretty excited about this! I can spray really close to the other plants in the flower bed, while it might kill a few leaves of some of the flowers, it won't kill the roots. I never use Round-Up in my flower beds because I don't want to kill off any of the flowers, but I hate pulling bind weed all summer long, too. Using vinegar and soap (I'm hoping) will help me keep the bind weed down this year without hurting the rest of the flowers.
One more reason to use vinegar and soap: I'm not leaving harmful chemicals on the plants that the bees still enjoy! This is the first honeybee I've seen this year, what a beautiful sight. Since Dandelions are among the first flowers to blossom in the spring, they are pretty important to the these hard-working gals!




We'll probably still use a stronger weed killer on the access road to the barn and in spots on the driveway, especially to control the puncture weeds. However, I think we'll be using alot of vinegar in the flowerbeds and around fruit trees (and maybe even on the thistles in the pasture) and see how it works in other areas of the yard throughout the summer.

2 comments:

*~*~*~*~Tonia said...

A good thing for the grass coming up in the cracks of pavement is pour salt on it and then pour Very hot to boiling water. It kills the root too but doesnt leave harmful chemicals in the dirt.. I use the vinegar spray too..

TJ said...

Good to know! I'll give that a try on the cement patio in the back yard!