There are several alternatives to chemical herbicides to get rid of weeds. Many gardeners have been using organic and natural weed control methods to remove weeds from their vegetable gardens and flower beds.
Here’s how to get rid of weeds naturally.
Mulch helps to keep the soil cool and moist. You can also use it to get rid of weed seeds as it prevents them from receiving much-needed sunlight.
Even better, if you make use of organic mulches, you invite such helpful bugs as crickets and carabid beetles which feed on weed seeds.
2. Essential Oils
Essential oils can help stop weeds from ruining your garden, flower bed, or driveway.
Oils such as peppermint, cinnamon, and clove are good at suppressing weeds. Follow the recipe here to make a homemade essential oil herbicide.
Vinegar is versatile and has many uses inside your home; however, you can use it outdoors too. Many gardeners use it as a natural weed killer due to the acetic acid it contains.
To eliminate weeds with vinegar, simply combine one gallon of 15-20% vinegar with a tablespoon of organic liquid soap in a bottle with a spray nozzle. It’s an excellent remedy to kill weeds and grass naturally.
4. Cover Crops
Cover cropping is the practice of planting crops to cover the soil. These plants can choke weeds and steal their nutrients before they can mature.
The farmer then plows or turns these crops under when the time comes to plant food crops. Great cover crops include alfalfa, cowpea, buckwheat, oats, and rye.
5. Boiling Water
Pouring hot water on weeds will cause them to dry up and die. They will wither and die in 24 to 48 hours.
This natural weed killer option requires no additional tools or ingredients. Nearby plants will also be safe as the water is likely to cool down without causing them any damage.
6. Pull Them Out
One of the easiest ways to get rid of weeds organically from your lawn and vegetable garden is to pull them out. Pulling them is not a waste of time; however, before you go ripping them out, there are some precautions to take.
Weeds can be difficult to pull up. There is also the risk of damaging the root systems of the flowers and plants you want to keep.
To avoid this, it’s best to pull them when the ground is still moist. Pull them out slowly, and make sure your hands are protected.
If you’re skilled, using a machete to dig under the roots while pulling on them makes it a whole lot easier. Pulling by hand is also the best way to get rid of weeds without killing grass.
7. Newspaper or Cardboard
Because newspaper/cardboard is opaque, it will stop light from passing through. Without sunlight, the weeds will be unable to continue growing while also stopping any new ones from springing up.
After laying down the wet newspaper on the weeds, cover it with a layer or two of mulch to further block sunlight. As a bonus, as the newspaper breaks down, it adds nutrients to the soil, so it’s a two-for-one deal for your vegetable garden.
You really can’t go wrong with this setup — just be careful not to smother your crops as well.
8. WeedGuard Plus
Similar to landscape fabric, this is an organic alternative that stands an excellent chance of preventing weeds from attaining the room and light they need to grow.
This special fabric is designed to smother weed seeds before they get a chance to germinate. It’s 100% biodegradable, fairly easy to apply, and doesn’t tear or stretch on a whim.
Of course, you want to exercise caution when using flammable devices. Using a small blowtorch, spread the flame, being very careful to target only what you want to eradicate.
10. Citrus Juice
Citrus juice is a cost-effective organic weed control remedy that works relatively quickly and easily. Lime or lemon works great.
Add enough citrus juice into a spray bottle and begin coating the weeds. The acid in the juice will burn them, causing them to wilt and dry up.
This method works great for smaller infestations that haven’t completely taken over your garden box.
11. Leave No Space
If you plant your flowers close enough, you should rarely have weed problems.
For example, the walker’s low catmint is a gorgeous perennial that boasts a range of violet hues. Because it grows so thickly, there isn’t any room for weeds to develop.
12. Corn Gluten Meal
Corn gluten meal can stop weed seeds from germinating . Additionally, it will act as a great organic fertilizer because it contains nitrogen.
13. DIY Herbicidal Spray
Another safe solution for killing grass and weeds naturally is the vinegar and Epsom salt combo. It doesn’t matter what brand of Epsom salt you use.
Mix Epsom salt and vinegar at a 1:6 ratio until the salt dissolves completely. You can also add a tablespoon of organic liquid soap.
Spray this natural herbicide directly on weeds, whether they are on sidewalks, pavers, or in your garden. Reapply a few times to achieve permanent results.
Another way to get rid of a yard full of weeds without chemicals is to utilize goats.
These guys are lean, mean, weed-munching machines. They can reach almost any area they want, and best of all, they’ll till the soil with their hooves as they move.
It’s best to use these animals before planting, lest they mistake your harvest for a tasty treat.
15. Soil Solarization
Soil solarization is environmentally friendly and organic. It uses heat from the sun to fry weeds and their seeds . Besides, solarizing will also destroy soil-borne plant pathogens.
For the process, wet bare soil thoroughly with water before covering it over with clear plastic. Next, sink the edges of the plastic into the soil so air doesn’t get in.
Let it sit for over four weeks in the hot sun before removing the plastic.
Just be careful when using this method, as it’s entirely indiscriminate. You may wind up killing beneficial organisms as well as harmful ones.
16. Avenger Weed Killer
This is a commercial product that is made from all-natural ingredients. Avenger is OMRI-listed, fast-acting, and an excellent contact herbicide.
You can use borax to make a homemade weed killer. In a spray container, combine two gallons of water with 8 ounces of borax.
Shake well and coat troublesome areas. However, try to only saturate the leaves and not the actual ground. As a bonus, this will also kill ants.
Though some weeds are edible, others can be very annoying to deal with as they take up space and suck up valuable nutrients from your garden. However, you can use the natural methods above to control or eliminate them entirely.