Thursday, June 12, 2014

All Natural Weed Killer

"{Weed Killer} 1 Gallon white vinegar 2 cups multi purpose epsom salt 1/4 cup regular blue dawn dish soap"





I've had a lot of people asking about this one, and even seen it debated on a few of the gardening forums I read. In fact, I'm embarrassed to admit that it was the siren's call of gardening that has kept me away from writing recently. If there is one thing I love, it's gardening. But as anyone with a yard or garden knows, weeds are a major hassle to deal with. You can get all sorts of sprays to treat them, from hiring a professional company to many kinds of pesticides sold at gardening and hardware stores. But what if you're looking for a more natural solution? There's always pulling, but some weeds are hard to remove that way, and if you're staring down a yard full of them, it could take way too long not to mention a back breaking job. 

So in today's post I compare two more natural methods up against a chemical weed killer spray I picked up at the hardware store.



I have a patch of weeds that I've been battling for years (in fact if anyone reading could identify them for me, let me know in the comments!) I even installed a weed cloth in the flower bed to try to combat them, but they've grown along the edge and out of the rocks of the bed where the sheet meets the sidewalk (though I wish at the time I knew about newspaper as a weed barrier, it would have saved a lot of hassle and money in the long run for me!) And to make sure these methods work on various other weeds, I also tested out on my embarrassingly bad curb strip, which is plagued with awful thorny weeds. 

So here are the contenders: Boiling water, vinegar/soap/epsom salt mix, and a commercial spray. 

I marked each section I was going to spray, and then I mixed up the solution - 2 cups vinegar, 1/4 epsom salt, and a bit of Dawn dish soap. All of these are on the list of "Cure Alls" that are common on sites like pinterest, so I was a bit skeptical. To make sure the water stays boiling, I poured it into a insulated carafe before bringing it outside.

Here are the weeds in their before state:



And 24 hours later: 


Boiling Water: 

As you can see, the boiling water had the most effect on the weeds. I made sure to pour it as close to the ground as I could. I've actually used this method before with GREAT success, and it's been my go to weed killer this summer. You do have to be careful when using it that you aren't killing the plants around it. I use a carafe with a small pour spout, so I have better control over where the water goes. 

I give it an A. It's both effective, easy to use, and about as cheap as you can get. What's not to love?




Vinegar/Epsom Salt/Soap Mix: 

Much to my surprise, the vinegar/epsom salt/soap mix actually did a pretty decent job! I made sure to soak the leaves as well as the base of the weeds, though the stems of the weeds are still green (compared to the dead stems from the boiling water). 
I would give this a B. I still prefer boiling water - it's easier to make, and I have no idea what this mixture is going to do to my soil, unlike boiling water (which really the only real risk is killing off the soil flora, something easily fixed by either leaving it alone or adding some fertilizer to it)


Chemical Spray: 




And the Ortho spray didn't do a single thing. I'm not even joking. I'm shocked. Utterly shocked. I followed instructions, I sprayed both the leaves and the soil. and they don't look even phased. I honestly have no idea why this didn't work even a bit, you'd expect after 24 hours that the leaves would at least start to curl like they do when they are sprayed with products like this. I give this a big F.

So there you have it.. set down the costly sprays and reach for an electric kettle. Test these out in your own yard or gardens and let me know how it works for you. And if you have any other natural weed killers you'd like me to test out, post them over on our facebook page or on twitter and let us know. 


90 comments:

  1. So just boiling plain water? it's that easy?

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    Replies
    1. No it is not that easy. Boiling water works to kill the stuff up top. Thats it. It will come back from the roots.
      No idea on the epsom salts vinegar solution.
      The reason the weed killer did not work is because they did not read the directions. Those weed killers need to be sprayed on in the active growing season. On the directions it actually says that no results may be seen for days. That is the way roundup etc work.
      What is needed here are more pictures from 7 days out and 14 and 21 days to see which one works and which is a waste of hot water so to speak.
      Now I am not defending roundup just saying this test needed better methodology.

      Delete
    2. No it is not that easy. Boiling water works to kill the stuff up top. Thats it. It will come back from the roots.
      No idea on the epsom salts vinegar solution.
      The reason the weed killer did not work is because they did not read the directions. Those weed killers need to be sprayed on in the active growing season. On the directions it actually says that no results may be seen for days. That is the way roundup etc work.
      What is needed here are more pictures from 7 days out and 14 and 21 days to see which one works and which is a waste of hot water so to speak.
      Now I am not defending roundup just saying this test needed better methodology.

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    3. You're right. It's about killing the roots. If one can actually use a shovel, that's the best way to get the root. Not saying weeds won't come back because it could've already dropped seeds that cannot be seen.

      The one thing with boiling water is it's going to take a long time unless you have the strength to carry a huge kettle outside. Otherwise, you're going to have to make quite a few trips. Also, let's hope one doesn't stumble and get scalded by the water.

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    4. Another thing, store-bought white vinegar is 5% acetic acid. I bought some from Amazon that is 30%. No, I won't use it straight, but will dilute enough of it with water to make it 10%. It works, too. Costs a little more, but I'd rather do that than buy Ortho or other chemicals. Maybe you can find it at a local nursery (I couldn't) or somewhere and save yourself the shipping charge - because it wasn't Prime-eligible.

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    5. Anonymous27/9/16

      What about a steam cleaning machine? It shoots out super heated water (steam) and would be easy to carry around without any spilling.

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    6. Anonymous14/3/17

      The steam cleaning machine works on the above ground plants easier than carrying around containers of boiling water. Also the vinegar solution can be sprayed any time. You have to wait for the temperature to be above 60 to use the commercial herbicides. So the vinegar can be used a lot earlier in the season.

      Delete
  2. I use salt (the kind to melt ice in the winter) around the swing set beams to kill off the grass so we don't have to weed eat around each beam/leg. It works wonderfully and lasts all summer. I'm guessing that was the ingredient in the mixture that worked - you probably don't even need to add the vinegar and dish soap to it.

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  3. Kelly - yep! just boiling water. I usually use a large stock pot if I have a large amount of weeds, or for smaller patches an electric kettle or carafe is fine. It basically cooks anything it touches, so make sure you get it only on things you want to kill. (in fact it smells of boiled greens afterwards!)

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  4. Sam & Tom - actually that's two different kinds of salt - the recipe I tested out uses epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) which isn't actually like table salt. I'd wary about using table salt (sodium chloride) as a weed killer, because it can ruin the soil and make it so nothing will grow there, ever. I might have to test out a salt based weed killer, but I need to find a spot I don't care about ruining the soil with just in case. Epsom salt is actually a know fertilizer and generally good for plants and lawns, which is why I was so suspicious of it working as well as it did.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have large areas that are just rocks, and I've been wondering about using salt to kill the weeds somewhat more permanently. Would it work? Would it hurt the trees? What ratio of salt to water?

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    2. The salt WILL kill your trees!

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    3. Anonymous14/9/16

      There are still barren places in the Middle East because Ghenghis Khan spread salt on fields of his enemies!

      Delete
  5. Anonymous12/6/14

    Boiling water causes severe tissue damage to the plants. Some farmers use large machines that spray steam into the soil and kills weeds.

    Any fertilizer can kill plants if too much is used. I wonder if it the epsom salt works alone, or if the other ingredients work alone?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Anonymous12/6/14

    Plant taxonomist here, stumbled across your blog. It's somewhat difficult to tell from the pictures, but it looks like one of the weeds you might be dealing with is Lactuca serriola (prickly lettuce).

    You're in Washington, no? Are any of these weeds flowering yet?

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  7. I am in WA,. I looked it up and I believe you're right about one of them being prickly lettuce. They luckily pull up fairly easily as long as you have gloves on. If anyone has any ideas on the other weed that would be great - They've appeared out of no where and took over the entire left side of my lawn and flower beds. I usually just pull weeds, but even if you get the root base of these weeds they seem to come back. definitely the hardest weed I've ever battled with. I follow the EWU Master Gardeners on facebook, I should ask them and see what they say.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment CeCe, however may i correct you on one thing. It's the WSU master gardeners,not EWU. Glad you follow us.

      Delete
  8. Brenda S16/6/14

    Vinegar is sold in farm/garden stores as a weed killer. Unlike the grocery store white vinegar which is about 5% acetic acid, this stuff is more like 20%-30%. So you might want to test various vinegar solutions alongside the "natural" homemade one here, to see if the epsom salts and soap really add anything to it or if the vinegar by itself is good enough.

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  9. "Natural" weed killer makes me laugh. It's got Dawn in it!!!

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous23/2/16

      Which is a whole lot more benign than Roundup.

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    2. During the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, the Autobahn Society used "Dawn" to wash thick crude oil off of birds covered in the goo. It was efficient and did not harm the birds. Sounds pretty good to me.

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    3. The "autobahn" is the highway/freeway in Germany. The name of the organization that focuses on ecosystems, especially birds and their environments, is the Audubon Society.
      https://www.audubon.org/

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    4. And dawn is made from petroleum.

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    5. the dish soap is a surfactant which helps break the surface tension of the water. It will coat the weed leaves and help the soil absorb the mixture.

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    6. Shaklee basic h works. First biodegradable, safe cleaner and is a surfactant

      Delete
  10. Great information about weed, Thanks for this post share with us.
    i think this post is very important for about weed information.

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  11. Anonymous10/4/15

    So if I use the natural week killer, when can you replant something in the soil?

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    Replies
    1. If you use boiling water or the vinegar combo, I'd give it a few weeks to make sure everything there is actually dead, but the soil should be fine (the ph/microbes might be a bit off, so add a little fertilizer)

      Delete
  12. Anonymous10/4/15

    Spectracide will kill weeds in less than 2 hours and keep them in control for weeks....

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  13. Dawn helps it "stick" to the leaves.

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  14. Dawn helps it "stick" to the leaves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous28/4/16

      Actually, the Dawn helps it get into the ground due to the surfactants (wetting agent) in it. For lack of a better term it makes the water "wetter". Really, any good dish detergent will do this. Also the chelating agents as well.

      Delete
  15. Anonymous7/6/15

    Salt will contaminate your ground making it useless for a very long time. Ya you may never want to plant there again but someday someone else might. Salt is not a solution. Curious about it as a spray, it would kill surface leaves but does it go into the ground to kill the roots plus harming the soil?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was epsom salt, not NaCl.

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    2. Epsom salt is not actually salt and is beneficial to plants. Chemically, Epsom salts is hydrated magnesium sulfate (about 10 percent magnesium and 13 percent sulfur). Magnesium is critical for seed germination and the production of chlorophyll, fruit, and nuts. Magnesium helps strengthen cell walls and improves plants' uptake of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur.

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    3. Exactly!!! Therefore, instead of killing off your weeds, you are probably helping them to thrive even stronger! It even says it helps with plant growth, on the container! I purchased a gallon bucket of it for use in my house plants and container garden.

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  16. do you think that boiling water will kill my invasive ferns that i want to get rid of

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    Replies
    1. I use a small shovel to get at the roots of the ferns. Best method I have found for ferns and other weeds by the way. Kill the roots and no regeneration.

      Delete
  17. Anonymous16/6/15

    The vinegar mixture works much better if you use 10% solution.

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    Replies
    1. Vinegar eill kill snything if you put a cut in the plant - snip the tops and spray with vinegar! Won't hurt other plant if not cut!

      Delete
  18. for weeds or grass growing thru cracks in asphalt, I use straight Muratic acid (diluted Hydrochloric Acid)...commonly sold for swimming pools...give it a a few moments to destroy the weeds and chase the area with water to rinse away the acid so the kids and pets dont get in it.

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  19. Campanula rapunculoides Is the other weed.
    Creeping Bellflower, pretty but uncontrollable.
    Stretchy roots that never come out and pieces that stay in grow right back 8P
    Good luck! 8)

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  20. It was mentioned that farmers uses steam machines i wonder if a steamer/steam mop will work? I used white vinegar and it worked but I want to try other ways.. Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Oh I like how you think. The electric kettle gets kind of tedious. I should try it.

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    2. But it's probably less effective at killing the roots.

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  21. Anonymous18/7/15

    Interesting weeds you have. One has an old medicinal value http://www.thepoisongarden.co.uk/atoz/lactuca_serriola.htm and the other is a protected plant here in the Netherlands.

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  22. Great post thank you for taking the time to test different weed killers. I have a tiny farm with many rescued farm animals. The goats and chickens roam all over the yard making using any chemical weed killers dangerous to them. I have been spending hours doing back breaking weeding. I am so excited to try this! Simmer theittybittyfarm.com

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  23. Anonymous19/7/15

    The plant we have trouble controlling is Bishop's Weed. This is a plant that evolution has fine tuned for survival. It's absolutely great where you need dense ground cover, especially in shady areas. It will choke out just about anything except wild morning glory - and it holds that in check well enough to be pulled. The downside is that it loves to spread and I've discovered no product that will stop it's advance. I have it around the base of most trees, creating a verdant island around each one. The lawn mower keeps those in check. It it ends up where you don't want it, there are only two ways I've found to control it. Smothering will kill it in the short term but it will comeback. If you want to remove all of it, you have to dig up every plant and root, including all the runners. I made a sifter out of cage wire and a plastic storage container for this purpose. Even a roots section a few inches long is enough to re-introduce the plant. I built a barrier for it between the north side of the house, where I want it, and a flower bed on the west side where I don't. I dug down 3 feet and out 3 feet for a two foot wide opening. I filled it with rock and any pieces of brick and concrete I wanted to bury. I tamped it down and added more until it reached the top of the hole. Five years later, I've noticed that it's found away around my buried 'wall' and will have to stay on top of it from now on, but it's not lurching like it usually does so I don't foresee a problem. Oh yeah, boiling water, which I use everywhere, doesn't have much effect on it. It will kill the leaves, but new ones pop up in a couple of days. That's some plant!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous17/3/16

      If you mow over Bishop's Weed, your lawn mower could be spreading the weed through the discharge.

      Delete
  24. When I consider what I've used in "past lives" I blush. However, some things are just really nasty to get rid of - even digging it up doesn't always work. We're invaded by phragmites - a reed that can grow 6 feet tall. It's on a beach, so round-up or any other compound that affects mammals is not possible. Some bright soul decided to use a roto-tiller - how to turn 1 plant into 20. .

    I'm prepared to try boiling water, though I'm not very confident. I've spent hours (days!) digging it out. I'm sure it might work if I dedicate 5@8hour days /week for most of the summer, but that ain't fun!

    Has anyone tried napalm? (ok, that's a joke, but tempting sometimes...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roger,maybe propane! A Park plant expert was searing invasive weeds with some success. It doesn't kill roots but just 2-3 treatments during the growing season can do the job.

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  25. Anonymous20/7/15

    I read that the natural weed control (vinegar, epson salt, dawn dish soap) was a replacement for Roundup. Roundup (chemical translocate) works well on Bermuda grass which has stolon type roots. Very difficult to eradicate. I sprayed the natural weed control on some Bermuda grass and it appeared to kill the green leaves, but I don't know if killed the roots?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This gardener has a good site regarding vinegar mixtures.
      I did add 1/2 the dose of table salt to my mix only because I was spraying weeds in a large gravel drive area and gravel around our firepit.
      I used it late morning, and by early afternoon the leaves were shriveling. Even on the fuzzy leaved weeds. So we will see how it goes.

      http://www.garden-counselor-lawn-care.com/vinegar-weed-killer.html

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  26. You're right about RoundUp - It should work but for a variety of reasons, I don't want to use it.

    #1 reason is that the plants are right on the beach of Georgian Bay. I don't want that stuff in my Bay. Also, it runs for about 30 miles of beach - I'd love to find something that was easy and worked - but isn't Roundup.

    (Would love to go back in time and stop the person who first brought this into the area - it's not indigenous, and even cattle won't eat it - not that I want a lot of cattle grazing on the beach...)

    If the vinegar/epsom/soap mix works then repeated applications over an extended period should to it.

    but I wonder if anyone can think of unwanted side-effects that might result from using these products? Especially, are any of them contra-indicated for use near open water? Adverse effects on fish?

    I suppose 10 years of digging it out 3 times a summer will knock it back a lot but I'm too old to want to start that.

    And is Dawn a detergent or a soap? We have a company that makes biodegradable soaps in bulk nearby that I buy in bulk (20l. containers.) works for dishes, laundry etc. If soap will work, I'd try that - does it poison the plant, or dessicate it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The dishwash is just to help it stay on the leaves, so on it's own it shouldn't have any effect. Sorry, I can't help with advice on getting rid of your terrible reeds though :-/

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    2. Anonymous2/3/16

      RoundUp is not the best but highly effective and when used correctly is a good option to stop highly invasive species. In the Willipa Bay (Washington, USA) area Spartina was choking the estuary's. All manner of 'safer' methods were tried but the grass grew so fast that there nothing but chemical control would work. They would wait till a minus tide then apply Round Up directly to the plant infested areas with great success. There is a bit more here:
      http://www.fws.gov/refuge/willapa/conservation/spartina_control.html

      Delete
  27. Copper nails driven into the base of a tree trunk will eventually kill a tree
    Perhaps placing them in the crown of the plants will work as well...

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  28. Boiling water had exactly the same effect as round up when I did an experiment
    They both two three days to make the weeds look dead above ground
    When pulled, the rest came out with ease
    I have a steamer to try next...

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    Replies
    1. I shud add these weeds were growing between bricks so I didnt start off with a whole lotta hope with the water but it was still as effective as roundup 8)

      Delete
    2. with boiling water, you have to keep after it. It kills the top first time around but if you continue to pour boiling water every time you see a little green you can eventually kill the weed. I have done this with an old driveway that had weeds growing up through many cracks. It took a while but it is now weed free. I keep an eye on it and if I see any green peeking up I get out there with the tea pot. It does work.

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  29. I'm battling a HUGE Ivy plant that is creeping through my fence and all over my yard from a 'little rooted plant' in next door yard, any thoughts if the Boiling Water would kill it? Or the 'Vinegar, Epsom, Dawn' concoction? Need answer soon as new owners are moving in on the 15th of this month! Thank you. AsYouWish54@gmail.com

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    Replies
    1. Do you have a picture of the wayward weed? Without seeing or knowing, heres my guess...
      Id clear away any grasses or other plantlife from the base so the roots of the subject is what gets hit the most by your attack
      I have a plug in kettle so I boiled it right outside, didnt want it to cool off at all before I got it poured on the plant
      Pour it slowly right on the base/crown of the plant, then pour some on the dirt just around the base
      It sounds like a strong plant so Id hit a few times as it will have long tough roots that grow if theyre not completely "cooked"
      Thats whats happening here, we just cook the roots
      Just guessing but it sounds like virginia creeper or creeper vine
      They grow very fast with big hand shaped leaves and are usually started when a bird sits on the fence and "plants" the seed right at the base of it
      If its only a year old, it shouldnt be difficult but older than that and they start to really get a grow on, above and below the ground
      Cheers 8)

      Delete
  30. I killed nutsedge with the vinegar, epson salt, dawn mixture

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  31. We just bought a house and the 2.7 acre yard has been neglected for the last 6 yrs. I have dug up brick patio areas and concrete walk ways from under like 3-6 inches of dirt and debris and plant growth. It is full of multiple viney plants and large bamboo plants everywhere. How can I get rid of it all without having to dig up my whole yard with the backhoe? I already have holes and tarps all over my yard. I love to work in my yard and I love yard work, but this os becoming a nightmare. HELP....

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  32. The weeds are the unwanted plants that grow naturally. No One actually wants them to grow in their lawns and gardens because these weeds destroy the natural look of the garden. Thanks to weeds control fabric because these fabrics have controlled the growth of weeds naturally with out any side effects. The website weed control fabric offers the best quality over the internet.

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  33. Check Plant Identification on FB. Post a good picture of the plant/weed and the location where it is growing. Bet you'll have names for your stubborn weeds in no time.

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  34. For all the people saying salt will kill, this is epsom salt, (not really a salt at all) which in and of itself is good for most plants. The vinegar adds acid and the reason for the dish soap is to make it stick to weeds! Dish soap is often used in conjunction with natural bug sprays for the same reason and it does no, to very little harm to the plants they are sprayed on. I hope this helps to clear up the confusion.

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  35. Cindy4/4/16

    I have very large area's bto cover. My question here is, I need to kill weeds that grow very close to trees and plants that I don't want to harm so what is a safe distance for me to spray the vinegar,salt,soap solution. The reason I want to use this solution is because it is a very long dirt driveway but on each side I have either trees or roses or bushes but the entire driveway gets covered with weeds

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  36. Anonymous6/4/16

    Try a weed torch to instantly wilt the leaves.

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    Replies
    1. It take a bit of time but works great!

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    2. According to the fellow at "First State Seed Company" in Newark Delaware, who helped me last year, with poison ivy, it's NOT "all about killing the plant's roots." The stuff he sold me last year "Bonide Poison Oak and Ivy Killer" works through the leaves. He had a hard time getting through to me because I was ranting about not wanting to hurt the environment. He tried to explain that companies to more research now to try and make their products more environmentally safe. I thought it over and later went back and got the stuff. It was amazing, killing poison ivy and a crapload of thistles grown from a sackful of nigier seed I had put out for the little birdies. The blue color made it easy to direct the spray only on the things I wanted gone. Nearby plants were unharmed.

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  37. I was told by my town that this solution works because the dawn helps the salt and vinegar to stick to the weed and the vinegar of course wets and also changes ph balance of dirt. I have a large rock area with lots of weeds so started using this and spray all the rock with it. You have to do it every day for weeks and it is also good to burn the weeds and then spray the solution in early spring and late fall to kill all seeds. Weeds are a pain. I try not to use round up, we have to once in awhile yet I try to pull by hand and now using this. Good luck everybody with weed control!
    That one weed is wild lettuce, it does pull easily if you take a little shovel to them, I have tons!

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  38. Hell I simply pull my weeds...good exercise! I mulch like crazy and put down rice straw....NO seeds so NO weeds....to keep the weeds down in my garden paths and between plants.

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  39. the soap merely causes the mixture to saturate the surfaces (surfactant) and to cling a bit better to everything.

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  40. I saw one comment above, but am going to ask anyway - does it have to be Dawn? I use only dish detergents with hand softener/lotion in them, and wonder if that might be a bad choice...

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    Replies
    1. In my experience, recipes calling for Blue Dawn generally work well with any quality clear liquid dish detergent.

      Delete
  41. I saw one comment above, but am going to ask anyway - does it have to be Dawn? I use only dish detergents with hand softener/lotion in them, and wonder if that might be a bad choice...

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous5/6/16

      No, any dish soap will work

      Delete
  42. I love the premise and consider the article well written, but was terribly disappointed to see that it only gave results after 24 hours. Glyphosate, for example, is systemic, while boiling water is pretty much topical. I don't know the name of that long-stemmed weed, but we have it in abundance and those roots are little deep-seated sprout factories. Would have loved to have seen how things played out over 7, 14, 28 and 56 days.
    PS Got any poison ivy? I've found nothing that will beat ours down other than glyphosate (RoundUp) and even that I find takes several applications over several weeks.

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  43. Anonymous17/7/16

    The weeds look like nettles.

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  44. Anonymous20/7/16

    The recommended recipe, in the homemade, natural weed killer is: 1 GALLON vinegar (not two cups), 1/4 cup regular DDL, and 2 cups epson salt. It should make a huge difference in your results. Boiling water works fine, but it can be dangerous. I reserve boiling water for killing active fire ant mounds.

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  45. 20% vinegar (5% is what you find in the grocery store) will kill weeds. I've done this in my own yard. Don't dilute it. Don't mix it with anything. Just straight up 20% vinegar.

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  46. You say to use epsom salts BUT there are multitude of mixes on market, does anybody still sell All purpose epsom salts to make this weed controller?

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  47. You say to use epsom salts BUT there are multitude of mixes on market, does anybody still sell All purpose epsom salts to make this weed controller?

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    Replies
    1. Epsom salts, which is a pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate in crystal form, will not kill plants, it is in fact often used as a fertilizer for roses and tomatoes. If you want to purchase it to use anyway, most drug stores or pharmacy sections of large stores sell it. I recently bought a huge bag (to use as fertilizer on my rose bed) at a local rite-aid pharmacy.

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  48. I've noticed several new 'recipes' online, that suggest using Epsom salt instead of table salt, and apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar. Please note Epsom 'salt' is NOT in any sense of the word actually salt. It will do nothing except possibly help the weeds revive. Epsom 'salt' is not true Salt; true salt is Sodium. Sodium/Salt/Sodium Chloride, aka 'table salt' kills plants. Epsom 'salt' is actually a pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate in crystal form. It looks like salt crystals so it's labeled 'salt', but it has no sodium chloride. In fact Epsom salt is used as a FERTILIZER or plant booster for many plants including roses and tomatoes. White vinegar with some dawn dish soap added will do a much better job, although the vinegar will only kill the parts above ground and not a root. Sodium chloride or true salt added will kill the entire plant, leaves stem, & root, BUT it will also sterilize the soil and nothing else will ever grow in that spot where true salt has been put. Epsom 'salt' will not harm the plant nor the soil.
    Also, real Apple Cider Vinegar and White Vinegar are not the same 'critter'. Here is an excerpt from a gardening site on the subject - ''Both apple cider vinegar and white vinegar have places in organic gardening. Although white vinegar can be used as an herbicide, apple cider vinegar with 5 percent acidity has quite the opposite use. It can be used as a fertilizer to maintain healthy plants. Because apple cider vinegar is acidic, however, it is best to use it as a fertilizer for only acid-loving plants, such as blueberry bushes, gardenias and azaleas.''-

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  49. Anonymous16/10/16

    Does this vinegar/Epsom salts/dawn mixture work to kill poison hemlock?

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  50. Anonymous11/4/17

    The vinegar/epsom salt recipe makes a bit over a gallon of solution which if poured on a spot of weeds about 20 square feet might kill a few of them. I have tried this method several times with several variables and the results are never very good. Weeds recovered in 2 or 3 days.

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