Is your garden or lawn plagued with unattractive weeds? Then the potential solutions for it include either commercial weed killers or a natural weed killer. However, while most commercial weed killers work, some are still looking for all-natural solutions because they are safer for all the plants as well as the living things surrounding them.
Fortunately, it is not that hard to find a natural alternative to commercial weed killers. In fact, you can create your own homemade weed killer using safe and natural ingredients that are right at home or in your kitchen. Just one effective and safe homemade weed killer recipe containing natural ingredients is enough to kill pesky and unsightly weeds in your garden or lawn area.
Natural alternatives are actually great solutions especially if you want to kill unwanted and pesky weeds in the safest manner possible. These are also incredible solutions if you prefer a more environmentally friendly solution to weeds that keep on growing in your garden.
Keep in mind that no matter how beautiful and manicured your lawn is, it still requires more polished lawn care to lower its susceptibility to weeds. The good news is that you have now a higher chance to say goodbye to these weeds naturally through the natural products reviewed here and our recommended homemade recipes and solutions.
Table of Contents
- Natural Weed Killer: Top 6 Safest Products on the Market
- Reasons to Ditch Glyphosate (aka Roundup) & Chemical Herbicides
- Natural and Homemade Weed Killers that Really Work
- 4 All-Natural Homemade Weed Killer Recipes that Actually Work (WeedKillerGuide’s Recipes)
- 6 Other Non-Toxic Ways to Control Weeds
- Why I Love Organic and Natural
Natural Weed Killer: Top 6 Safest Products on the Market
1. Doctor Kirchner Natural Weed Killer – Best Choice
One option for the best weed killer on the market today is this product from Doctor Kirchner primarily made of commercial food-grade vinegar and ocean water. It is categorized as a non-selective and safe weed killer designed to kill weeds from the roots. Being non-selective, expect it to safely and quickly handle your specific requirements for spot treatment weed killing.
The way it works is actually simple, offering the utmost convenience when you are using it. All you have to do is to spray it using the included spray bottle to the weeds until they become wet. They are among the fastest-acting natural herbicides available in the market today. In fact, it is possible for most of the weeds to start withering within just a few hours.
For grassy weeds, wait for around 12 to 24 hours for this natural and organic weed killer to take effect. It also utilizes a biodegradable and non-toxic formula, making it an eco-friendly weed killing solution that is safe to use around kids and pets in your yard.
What’s Special About the Product
This kid-friendly and pet-friendly natural herbicide from Doctor Kirchner is actually special because it offers two distinctive benefits. One benefit is that it is fast-acting, promoting safety when it comes to replanting right after the area or soil gets dry. This is not the same as other weed killers that tend to contaminate the soil for an extended period of time.
It acts fast without damaging the soil supporting the lives of plants. The second special benefit is that it is long-lasting because of all its natural ingredients. This means that anything that remains in the container of this all-natural weed killer can still be used even after a long time.
Grasses the Product Kills: Because this organic weed control solution is non-selective, it has the ability to kill everything it touches, even hard to kill weeds. It can actually kill all kinds and species of grasses and weeds, including those in gardens, borders, pool decks, mulched areas, lawns, and borders.
2. Espoma Organic Weed Preventer
Another of the most effective natural and organic herbicides that you can use is the Espoma Organic Weed Preventer. This selective systemic product, which is effective when applied on pre-emergent weeds, is unique compared to the others because it is a granular and solid product, not a liquid. Furthermore, the brand also markets it as a weed control product or weed preventer, instead of a weed killer.
You can apply it two times a year, particularly during the early spring when the weed seeds did not germinate yet and during the early fall. Such an application can make your lawn full of nutrients that can help your garden beds and flower plants grow in a green and lush manner.
What is good about this non-toxic and natural herbicide is that it can stop the growth of weeds. It is safe to use on established lawns but not so much on new lawns, so avoid using it there. It can also provide a long-lasting solution, especially greening, which does not burn.
What’s Special About the Product
One of the many things that make the Espoma Organic Weed Preventer special and unique is that it is granulated. The granulated structure and formula used in this product promote ease in terms of applying it. It also works on supplying long-lasting nitrogen, which is a huge help in promoting a greener and thicker lawn.
It makes use of a pure corn-gluten formula, which works organically in dealing with annoying and bothersome weeds. Furthermore, it is not toxic. This means that it is safe for pets and kids, allowing them to play there even right after you applied the weed control solution.
Grasses the Product Kills: Black medic, curly dock, velvetleaf, dandelion, buckhorn plantain, large crabgrass, smooth crabgrass, giant foxtail, yellow foxtail, barnyard grass, and redroot pigweed, among many others.
3. Natural Armor Weed & Grass Killer
Another natural weed killer that is safe to use in your garden or lawn is the Natural Armor Weed & Grass Killer. I am pleased to announce that it utilizes a non-toxic, eco-friendly, and biodegradable formula. It is even free of chemicals, poison, glyphosate, and any other toxic substances.
It works fast in clearing wild grasses and weeds growing in your backyard. While it is fast-acting, take note that it is necessary to do some reapplication within two weeks right after you made the first treatment. The whole process of using this post-emergent natural weed killer is uncomplicated and hassle-free.
In fact, it acts like an outright herbicide, which you can utilize right from its battle. It does not come with a sprayer, though, but any of the bottle or garden sprayers that you have at home will already suffice. Expect it to work safely when used on various parts of your home where weeds grow.
What’s Special About the Product
One thing that makes this organic and natural weed killer special is its non-toxic formula. It is chemical-free and poison-free. You can’t even find glyphosate in its ingredients.
In other words, even if this product is designed to kill all shrubs, wild grasses, weeds, and plants it comes in contact with, it will keep small animals, like birds, as well as children safe.
It is also one of the most versatile products as you can use it practically anywhere, including parking areas, gravel areas, foundations, fence lines, mulch beds, pool areas, walkways, overgrown weed areas, pathways and rock walls, and walkways. It works in all locations where you do not want vegetation and weeds to thrive.
Grasses the Product Kills: Using a concentrated and all-natural formula, Natural Armor Weed & Grass Killer is popular for killing over 250 types of grasses and weed species, including but not limited to, ragweed, dandelions, poison ivy, broadleaf, any other invasive weed species.
4. Weed Slayer Organic Herbicide
You can also take advantage of the Weed Slayer Organic Herbicide if you want to handle and control the weeds and grasses growing in your lawn and garden the natural way. Created from Eugenol, which refers to essential clove oil, this product is categorized as a non-selective and broad-spectrum organic herbicide.
It is manufactured to kill weeds and grasses from their roots, promoting a more convenient harvest and a clean and bountiful garden or lawn. It is capable of traveling through plants as a means of killing and controlling weeds right at their roots. You can expect to see its results within a week as it tends to spend more time decomposing plants from within and outside.
What is great about this product is that it guarantees a longer control since it kills the roots of the weeds not just what appears upfront. It can even have extended control of up to six weeks.
What’s Special About the Product
One distinguishing trait about this natural weed killer is that it is taken from clove oil or Eugenol. This product also works in such a way that the clove oil is driven to plants with the help of proprietary biological substances. The natural formula used by Weed Slayer Organic Herbicide is one reason why conventional and organic growers use it.
It is also proven to be organic with the certification and recognition that it got from various governing agencies. This means that it meets the specific criteria that judge how organic or natural a weed killer is. It is also special because aside from being easy to use, its results also tend to last long.
Grasses the Product Kills: As a natural weed killer, Weed Slayer Organic Herbicide can be expected to work in killing a lot of grasses and weeds, including bluegrass, nightshades, ground ivy, chickweed, ragweed, broadleaf weeds, quack grass, crabgrass, and ryegrass.
5. BioSafe Weed Control Concentrate
The next product I suggest using on stubborn weeds and grasses is the BioSafe Weed Control Concentrate. It comes in the form of an organic herbicidal soap, which offers a burn-down of all perennial and annual grasses and broadleaf weeds. It does so after just a few hours of applying it.
This is categorized as a non-selective organic herbicide, which can be expected to work upon contact. It is easy and hassle-free to use. What is even better about it is that it is capable of showing visible results right after application. It can destroy the cells and roots of all stubborn and unwanted plants within just a few hours.
It is highly recommended to apply it when the weeds are dry. Also, take note that it produces faster and more visible results when used during warm weather but it still works effectively no matter what the temperature is. Since it performs its job upon contact, it would be best to cover unwanted plants in a uniform and thorough manner to control them even more effectively.
What’s Special About the Product
One thing that makes BioSafe Weed Control Concentrate is that it is proven to be organic and all-natural. It also works without migrating through the soil, so most of its users can rest assured knowing that it will not cause any harm to the future growths of the other plants surrounding the area.
It is also very convenient because you can already re-plant or re-seed in your garden after just 4 days of using it. Furthermore, it works in such a way that it will destroy the stems and leaves of the weeds, which leads to their immediate extinction. It does not also cause any harm to pets and kids.
Grasses the Product Kills: The correct and proper use of this organic weed killer from BioSafe can be expected to kill a lot of stubborn grasses and weeds, including chickweed, spurge, moneywort, pigweed, liverwort, velvetleaf, crabgrass, bluegrass, dandelion, ragweed, and ryegrass.
6. Preen Organic Vegetable Garden Weed Preventer
I also recommend the use of Preen Organic Weed Preventer. It works well on pre-emergent weeds. It is a big help in preventing weeds from growing and filling your lawn and garden. It is best to use it during the growing season in areas where there are established fruits, herbs, and vegetables.
Take note that this weed preventer can’t kill weeds that are already existing in your garden. That said, you should consider getting rid of those that already started to grow. Apply it early, too, so you will no longer have to do some hand weeding. The reapplication of this organic weed preventer from Preen should also be done every four to six weeks.
It is also easy to use while producing visible results quickly. All it takes is to sprinkle this product on your established garden or lawn. Once applied, you can expect it to stop and control weeds before they ever begin growing.
What’s Special About the Product
There are so many things about the Preen Organic Weed Preventer that make it stand out from the rest. It is 100 percent organic and natural, which means that it eliminates all worries linked to using it in your garden. In fact, right after you have applied it, pets and kids can already safely play in the surrounding area.
You can also use it with more than 200 established roses, flowers, bulbs, shrubs, vegetables, and trees without worrying about them getting damaged during the process. Basically, you can actually use it in almost all plants provided they are already in the germination stage – around two to three inches tall to be exact.
Grasses the Product Kills: What is great about this weed preventer is that it uses a formula, which helps it control and deal with some of the most stubborn and toughest weeds, including but not limited to foxtail, crabgrass, plantain, lambs quarters, clover, and bluegrass.
Tips in Choosing a Natural Weed Killer Product for Safety
Choosing the best natural weed killer should be done with care. Note that your main goal for going the natural route is to ensure the safety of your lawn or garden and those around you, except for the stubborn and unwanted grasses and weeds. These include children and pets if you have any.
Here are some tips to guide you during the selection process:
1. Determine the specific weeds you intend to target
Make sure to choose a natural/organic herbicide, which can target the specific weed species you wish to control or kill. If possible, its label should indicate that it can kill the weeds you are targeting.
Before starting to shop, spend time scrutinizing the unwanted invaders that grow around your area. Determine what they are exactly. Are you targeting annuals, such as foxtail, crabgrass, or any other species that tend to live for just a single season?
Or could it be the perennial weeds that are more difficult to kill and control, such as dandelions and nutsedge that seem to return annually through a similar root. You need to be completely aware of what weed you are planning to deal with so you can choose the most suitable weed control solution for it.
2. Identify your purpose for using a natural weed killer
It is also crucial to determine your specific goal for wanting to use the product. Is it to prevent weeds or to completely eliminate the already growing ones? Your answer to this can help you choose the correct kind of weed killing solution.
For instance, if you wish to prevent weeds, then you might try applying a pre-emergence natural herbicide during the spring. Doing so can prevent the emergence and growth of the weeds specifically indicated in the product’s label. A pre-emergent herbicide is also useful in case you want to keep crabgrass at bay.
It also serves as a barrier from some problematic weeds in case you constantly encounter annuals that appear in a similar spot every year. You can also choose the post-emergence natural herbicide if your goal is to target the already growing weeds.
This type works by penetrating throughout the plant once you spray it on the foliage. This results in the death of the targeted plants. One thing to take note of, though, is that some post-emergent herbicides are categorized as non-selective. This means that they tend to cause harm to beneficial plants and weeds.
Still, it is an excellent option when dealing with unwanted weeds and graces in patios, fence lines, walkways, driveways, or any other spot where you intend to take control over your entire vegetation. However, avoid using a hose-end sprayer when using the non-selective type of post-emergent herbicide.
This is to prevent damaging your prized plants. In case the weeds you wish to target grow near beneficial and desirable plants, it would be best to use a foam applicator. Alternatively, a really precise spray can also be used so you can target only those weeds that are unwanted in your garden.
3. Have a close to an accurate estimate of the amount of natural herbicide you need
This tip is also essential in figuring out the size of the container you will be needing. If you only wish to treat a small spot then it would be more convenient to choose the ready-to-use herbicide, which does not require you to dilute it in water.
However, if you wish to treat a lot of weeds in a broad spot then go for a concentrated and economical herbicide. Your goal here is to choose an herbicide based on the amount you specifically need in treating your calculated area. Apart from helping you save money, it is also a safe move because this also means storing it safely around your house.
Reasons to Ditch Glyphosate (aka Roundup) & Chemical Herbicides
Glyphosate is a common active ingredient in many chemical herbicides. While it is a useful and valuable ingredient, a few cases are now uncovered showcasing the negative effects of glyphosate. It is also one of the most common ingredients used in the weed killers provided by the famous and reliable brand, Roundup.
The problem is that there are now studies providing that some choices for Roundup weed killer caused cancer. Some pointed this case to the presence of glyphosate. With that in mind, you might have asked yourself if it is really time to ditch glyphosate and chemical herbicides. Is it time to replace it with the safer and more natural alternative?
To help you decide, you might want to check out the following reasons why ditching glyphosate and chemical herbicides is actually good for you and your garden:
Glyphosate causes diseases:
One reason why you should avoid using glyphosate and go to the natural route of treating and tending to your lawn or garden is that this substance might cause you to get sick. Note that glyphosate has signs of being carcinogenic to humans.
Being exposed to it frequently might, therefore, cause you to suffer from cancer or any other life-threatening disease. It has also been linked to kidney diseases, cancer, and birth defects. Other health problems linked to the constant exposure to glyphosate are reproductive system issues, ADHD in kids, Parkinson’s Disease, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
It is bad for the environment:
In fact, this active ingredient in many Roundup weed killing solutions was discovered to poison and pollute the environment, including the water and air. Glyphosate is actually frequently used in a number of applications, including forestry, agriculture, and many lawns and gardens.
It was originally manufactured as a means of getting rid of mineral deposits found in boiler pipes during the 70s. From the time it was introduced to the public, many discovered how powerful it is in killing weeds. This causes its usage to become widespread.
The problem is that it might also cause environmental issues and havoc, so it would be best to stay away from it. In fact, glyphosate contamination was discovered in the water systems of across 38 US states.
It might destroy your immune system and gut:
Glyphosate is known to be an anti-microbial agent designed to annihilate both bad and good organisms. Once it penetrates your gastrointestinal tract, it tends to not only damage your protective organisms, such as lactobacillus but also prevent their new growth.
This might cause your body to become more prone to pathogenic invaders. It might harm your immune system and cause you to deal with bowel diseases, such as leaky gut syndrome.
Aside from the reasons already mentioned, take note that it is not also safe to be constantly exposed to glyphosate because it is hard to eliminate. You cannot wash it off, cook, or dry it. In fact, there are studies that prove its ability to bio-accumulate in a person’s muscle tissues, tendons, and bone marrow. This bio-accumulation of small amounts of glyphosate might lead to unpredictable and unidentifiable levels in the future. This means that no matter how low the level of your exposure to glyphosate is, you still have no assurance that it will not harm you. It is because it tends to build up to an even higher level in the future.
With all these harmful effects, it would be much better to choose natural, homemade, and DIY herbicides and ditch chemical-based ones, especially those containing large amounts of glyphosate, like the Roundup products.
Natural and Homemade Weed Killers that Really Work
Planning to deal with weeds in the natural and organic way? Then you might want to check out whether you have the following items at home as they serve as effective alternatives to the harsher chemical herbicides:
Aside from suppressing and preventing unwanted weeds and plants, it also helps in fertilizing the soil. This means that you will no longer have to worry about annoying weeds and plants pestering your lawn. The straw can handle it. Once it breaks down, expect it to work as an effective fertilizer. It is even possible for you to grow desirable plants and veggies in straw bales.
This is a cheap household substance, which can work wonders when it comes to dealing with weeds. What is great about using vinegar as an herbicide is that it is environmentally friendly.
It is also safe even if you use higher concentrations in your chosen vinegar weed killer recipe. This is also the main reason why you can find natural and organic weed killing products using at least 20% vinegar or more as part of their ingredients.
You can also use cornmeal as an effective natural and homemade weed killer. It is more effective in preventing the growth of chickweed, dandelions, and crabgrass in the specific area you are planning to protect.
What you have to do is to just scatter this over the soil. You can expect cornmeal gluten to serve as an effective organic herbicide because it is devoid of any toxic chemicals.
4 All-Natural Homemade Weed Killer Recipes that Actually Work (WeedKillerGuide’s Recipes)
1. Horticultural Vinegar and Epsom Salt Weed Killer
One homemade weed killer recipe that you can try is the combined horticultural vinegar and Epsom salt. Accessible over-the-counter from a number of grocery stores and drugstores, you can find Epsom salt being used frequently in treating swollen joints, pains, and aches but its use is not just limited to that.
It also acts as a really strong and effective weed killer, especially if you combine it with other ingredients readily available at home that also have strong weed killing abilities. One of these is horticultural vinegar, which is already popularly used as a natural herbicide in organic agriculture for several years.
Vinegar contains acetic acid, which can damage plant cells, thereby killing weeds along the process. Most horticultural kinds of vinegar may contain up to 20 percent acetic acid. Also, remember that in most cases, low concentrations of it may not be strong enough in removing even tiny weeds effectively so ensure that you are using the right amount.
Supplies We Recommend
Horticultural Vinegar and Epsom Salt Weed Killer Recipe
- 1 tbsp. Epsom salt
- 1 gallon horticultural or white vinegar
- Some dishwashing soap
Get a sprayer and combine the indicated ingredients there. Make sure to mix everything thoroughly. Your goal is to ensure that all the added salt gets completely dissolved. It is because any undissolved salt might settle at the bottom part of your sprayer, causing its nozzle to get plugged.
Apply it to the target weeds using your sprayer. Choose to do it during a day without wind and there is zero chance of rain. Also, you have to wait until the morning dew dries before spraying it on the weeds and grasses you wish to kill.
How it Works?
The horticultural vinegar and Epsom salt mixture is a natural weed killer that is safe for grass and other plants that you want to retain in your garden. It actually acts as a contact weed killer. This means that it functions by killing only the specific parts of the plants and weeds it touches.
In some cases, repeated sprays may be necessary for effectively controlling the weeds, especially those persistent ones. Note that even the most persistent ones will eventually die by repeatedly spraying them with the vinegar and Epsom salt mixture.
Also, remember that the use of vinegar alone has the tendency of killing and controlling weeds provided you are facing the right circumstances. Incorporating the Epsom salt into the mix can further improve its effectiveness. It is because salt and vinegar, when combined, can produce a really effective and natural solution for killing weeds.
However, this combined solution should be used with care as it might also damage the soil and spread into areas and plants that you are not targeting. With that in mind, use the salt and vinegar solution with extreme caution. Do the application sparingly, too.
Just like what has been mentioned, the use of vinegar, salt solution for weed killing should be done with utmost care to prevent damaging even those areas and plants that you are not planning to target. Use it as sparingly as possible because the non-target lawns and plants that are in close vicinity are at risk of getting damaged and killed.
Keep in mind that salt stays within the soil you are treating for quite some time. This might trigger the development of lingering issues affecting other plants, including those that are beneficial, so be extra careful. Also, note that it would be best to use the salt and vinegar weed killing solution in patios, sidewalks, and other hard areas and surfaces.
If you plan to use it repeatedly, one wise tip is to give your lawn or garden an occasional yet deep and good watering as a means of flushing out the salt. Adequate watering and deep watering will be enough in alleviating the buildup of salt that might harm favorable plants.
Remember that while the weed killing solution containing vinegar and Epsom salt is a valuable tool in controlling and killing weeds, you can’t expect it to act as a cure-all solution. Be extra careful about when and where you put it on. Avoid using too much of it. It should be just enough to deal with the unwanted weeds. If possible, use it together with other natural weed killing methods.
2. Natural Weed Killer with Vinegar and Dawn Dish Soap
Pulling weeds using your hands or a lawn mower is a reliable solution for killing and controlling stubborn and annoying weeds in your garden or lawn naturally. However, you can also find other natural herbicides, such as the combination of vinegar and Dawn dish soap.
It is an easy and inexpensive natural remedy that uses ingredients that can be found in your own kitchen. What’s great about this solution is that it has most of the things needed for quick weed control.
One of these is acetic acid, which is present in vinegar. This acid is helpful in drawing the moisture from weeds. The dish soap, on the other hand, serves as a surfactant, which can control and get rid of the weeds in your lawn.
Supplies We Recommend
Vinegar and Dawn Dish Soap Weed Killer Recipe
- 1 tbsp. Blue Dawn dish soap
- 1 cup salt
- 1 gallon white vinegar
Put all the mentioned ingredients in a spray bottle then mix them thoroughly. Ensure that everything is well-mixed. For optimum results, spray this weed killing solution during the sunniest time of the day.
You can expect hot summer days to produce the most favorable results because this will cause the soap to become a dry film on foliage while locking in the vinegar. This recipe is also a great solution for dandelions that tend to cover your lawn. Just pour some of this solution in your spray bottle.
Use a bottle with a stream setting so you can supply not just a mist but a direct shot to the unwanted weeds and plants. Spray this to the heads of the dandelions. What is great about this is that it is safe for beneficial or favorable grasses. This means that it works in killing and controlling dandelions without putting the other desirable grasses in danger.
How It Works?
You can use the combined power of vinegar and Dawn dishwashing liquid soap in finally saying goodbye to the offensive and annoying weeds present in the parts of your home where you do not want them to thrive. This vinegar and soap combination can really be expected to work wonders as far as effective weed control is concerned.
The dishwashing liquid soap is always a great and valuable addition to your DIY herbicide because it serves as a surfactant. Being a surfactant, it works in breaking down the waxy coating in the leaves of plants that serve as their barrier or protection.
Once the barrier is broken down, it is possible for it to damage the unfavorable or unwanted plants or weeds. What’s great about this soap is that you do not need too many of it. In fact, just a small squirt of it is enough to make your natural weed killing solution with vinegar even more effective.
The vinegar will work along with the dish soap with the help of its high acetic content. You will be able to enjoy the positive results of this DIY spray within just a few hours. This is especially true if you do the treatment during a sunny and warm day. It can cause the weeds to wither and turn brown instantly.
This vinegar weed killer solution containing a dishwashing liquid soap can be expected to work with the help of some valuable tips. One pro tip to keep in mind is to apply this solution at full strength, specifically when the sun is up or during the hottest part of the day. In other words, you have to avoid applying it in case it rained the day before.
Also, if there is a weather forecast saying that it will rain within 24 hours then avoid applying it. Make sure to also wait for a while for the soil to dry out and the sun to brighten up before spraying the vinegar and soap solution. It should be hot enough to maximize its effect as this is the time when weeds will feel like you are feeding them.
Another important tip is to wash any spray bottle you have already used in the past. It is because not being able to wash it might cause the vinegar to corrode any of its working parts. If there are still unused solution left in the bottle, empty it into an appropriate container.
Make sure to look for a heavy-duty and non-corrosive container, though. Keep in mind that you need to store a weed killing solution containing a strong vinegar, so look for a container which can handle it.
The vinegar and dawn dish soap weed killer recipe acts as one of the ultimate solutions in killing and controlling weeds. Just make sure to exercise caution and consider carefully the specific place you are spraying as this solution does not seem to discriminate. It tends to kill other plants, grasses, and flowers if you are not careful.
Apply it correctly and let pets stay away for several hours. Keep in mind that the product tends to dissipate quickly, causing them to notice the effects right away.
3. Mix Bleach, Dish Liquid and Salt for Weed Killer
It is also possible to control and kill weeds using bleach, dish liquid, and salt combination. Combining the mentioned ingredients can help you produce a weed killing solution, which is free of chemicals. As a home gardener, your main enemy most likely includes invasive and persistent weeds.
However, prior to getting a bottle or container of weed killer, you have to find out whether it would be beneficial for you to use chemicals in killing and controlling them. Note that some commercial herbicides are actually toxic not just to your targeted weeds but also to animals and humans.
You can prevent them from getting exposed to these toxic chemicals by creating a homemade remedy designed to kill and control weeds. Fortunately, the one using bleach, dish liquid, and salt is not that hard to do while having the ability to produce highly effective results.
Supplies We Recommend
Bleach, Dish Liquid, and Salt Weed Killer Recipe
- Salt – 1 cup of it for every two cups of water
- Dish liquid soap – half a tablespoon of it for every gallon or eight cups of water
- Your preferred amount of bleach
Aside from the mentioned ingredients, you will also need a few supplies, like pot, rubber garden gloves, plastic container or bucket, spray bottle, funnel, and a wooden spoon.
Add water in a large pot. Fill it up, boil the water then add salt to it. As mentioned earlier, you need around one cup of salt for every two cups of water poured into the pot. While the boiled water tends to dissolve the added salt, you still have an assurance about its effectiveness in killing and controlling the weeds.
After that, allow the water with salt to cool down a bit. Pour some drops of the liquid dishwashing soap into it. Every gallon or eight cups of water needs around a tablespoon of the soap. Once done, put on the gloves. Get the plastic container or bucket then pour the prepared mixture into it.
Add your desired amount of bleach. Take note that the stronger or higher the amount of bleach you added, the quicker it is in killing weeds. This means that you should consider adding as much of it as possible. Be careful when adding the bleach to avoid splashing it over your skin or clothes.
Use the wooden spoon to stir the mixture. Once done, use the funnel so you pour the prepared solution into your spray bottle. You can then spray it over the target weeds during a dry and warm day without or with just a little wind.
How It Works?
In this weed killer recipe, you will be using three of the most powerful ingredients designed to kill and control weeds in the most effective manner possible. The use of salt actually offers a favorable advantage as it serves as an excellent lawn maintenance product.
Just adding it to the recipe can help produce a solution, which can prevent the growth of weeds for a specific period of time. The liquid dishwashing soap is also necessary because it works as a surfactant. This makes it capable of helping the mixture stick into the plant, making it possible for the leaves to absorb the solution completely and destroying them.
Meanwhile, the bleach is famous for its effectiveness in killing unwanted weeds and grasses. It works by significantly raising the soil’s pH level, killing the majority of the vegetation and preventing their growth.
Avoid using bleach close to areas with grasses or plants that you wish to grow. Remember that the bleach tends to kill most vegetation without any questions. This makes it a not so typical weed killing solution. If you want to prevent it from harming your beneficial grasses, plants and vegetation then spray it only on areas far from them. Be as close to the targeted weeds as possible.
In case you do not have any bleach, you can use the still-boiling water as an alternative. You can actually pour it simply over your targeted weeds. The boiling water and salt mixture is enough to cook them to death. Just be extra cautious to prevent scalding yourself or pouring hot water to desirable and favorable plants that are close by.
Before using this recipe, consider its suitability to the weeds you intend to target and the area you are planning to treat. Also, ensure that the other beneficial plants in your garden will not be negatively affected or harmed by the solution. Use just the right amount of this weed killing solution to prevent damaging the others, too.
4. Borax as a Weed Killer
The weeds that continue to pop in your garden or lawn can cause a lot of problems. It is mainly because of their ability to build a competitive environment, stimulating desirable and favorable plants to compete and fight for nutrients and water. Left uncontrolled, these unwanted weeds have the tendency of taking over the whole area and causing some plants to get suffocated.
Fortunately, there is now an effective way for you to handle these unwanted and pesky weeds without using chemicals. This is through the use of a homemade borax weed killer recipe. What is great about it is that it works as a cheap and less toxic solution to controlling weeds compared to other commercial weed killing products.
The most effective way to use it as a natural weed killing solution is to mix it with water then spray it directly to the leaves of the weeds. You should administer it using a sprayer.
Supplies We Recommend
Borax Weed Killer Recipe
- 2 cups borax
- 2 and ½ gallons of warm water
Borax appears in a powdered form so it is necessary to dissolve the indicated amount of it first in around four ounces of warm water. Mix thoroughly. In a bucket containing the 2 and ½ gallons of warm water, pour the diluted solution containing the dissolved borax. Mix well.
This can help you in creating a mixture capable of treating around a thousand square feet area. If you intend to apply it in an even and uniform manner then prepare a garden sprayer then pour the homemade solution into it.
Apply it evenly to the undesirable weeds and plants. Ensure that you are wearing safety goggles and garden gloves while working to guarantee your safety.
How It Works?
Borax works as an effective natural weed killing ingredient because of the substance it naturally contains – the sodium borate. It is actually a colorless crystal, which tends to dissolve easily if you add it to water. You can expect this boron compound to be created whenever a seasonal lake encounters repetitive evaporation.
While the boron in borax is actually a vital nutrient needed in the proper growth of some plants, some weeds can be damaged or killed with even just a slight amount of it because it is toxic for them. Among these are ground ivy and creeping Charlie. With this ability, it is no longer surprising why you can see it being used as an active ingredient in some homemade weed killing recipes.
Use the borax weed killing solution during the spring season. This is the time when the weeds are in their active growth phase. Do this once annually for no longer than two years consecutively. Take note that a natural weed killer based on Borax also works as a non-selective product.
This means that it is capable of killing all vegetation that gets exposed to it. These include even favorable turf grasses and desirable plants. To prevent unintended damage to the plants and vegetation you are planning to keep, it is advisable to put on the borax recipe on a specific day when there is no blowing wind.
It is because the wind might limit its potential in directing the sprayed solution into the targeted weeds and plants while trying to apply it. Use a landscaping sprayer, too. Just pour the solution you created into this sprayer. It could be a handheld sprayer or a bigger version of it that you can conveniently wear on your back.
One thing to take note of regarding borax is that you can safely use it on established lawns but not on areas close to vegetable or flower gardens. It is because it might damage or destroy the nearby plants.
Wearing a pair of rubber gloves with a chemical-resistant property is also necessary if you plan to use borax as it might irritate unprotected skin. Also, remember that the effect of this solution varies from one plant or weed to another. If you want to maximize its results, consider pairing it with other weed killing and control options, like the use of a mulch or hand pulling.
6 Other Non-Toxic Ways to Control Weeds
Searching for other natural and non-toxic ways to control weeds effectively? Then these six solutions can help.
1. Using Landscape Fabric for Weed Control
The one part of gardening that most people would agree is a pain, both literally and figuratively, is weeding. Spending several hours on your knees under the hot sun picking out tiny intrusive plants from your garden plots can really take a toll on your body. However, it is one of the required hardships you must go through if you want to have a beautiful garden.
Still, there are ways to make the process less burdensome. By using a nifty gardening material called a landscape fabric, you can significantly reduce the amount of weeding that you need to do in your garden. In some cases, you might not need to weed at all.
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How to Install Landscape Fabric
- Preparing the bed:
Since you will not have access to the ground once the landscape fabric is laid down, it is recommended that you prepare the planting bed first BEFORE you lay down the landscaping fabric.
Although the landscaping fabric can prevent the growth of grass and small weeds, it will have problems preventing the hardy perennial weeds from poking out. This is why you need to dig them up using a hoe then pick up any loose sticks and rocks that can poke holes in the landscape fabric later. Afterwards, you can proceed to rake the ground until it is level then compact it as much as you can.
If you will be laying down landscape fabric over an area where there are already a couple of plants, you need to carefully remove all of the weeds as you can without damaging the roots of the pre-existing plants. You should then rake around the base of the plants to make sure that there are no sticks or sharp stones that can rip the landscape fabric.
- Installing the fabric:
Landscape fabric is almost always sold in rolls or different widths. You need to carefully measure the area where you will be using the fabric then buy appropriately-sized rolls for a complete ground cover. When the area you need to cover is large, you need to overlap the fabric on top of each other to prevent weeds from poking out in the space between the sheets.
Most fabrics recommend an overlap of 3 inches, but just to be on the safe side, use six inches of overlap and secure the seams using landscaping pins that are usually sold separately. Push the pins through the fabric and into the ground. This will keep the fabric in place while you finish the installation. You do not have to use that many staples, just one every five or ten feet will be just fine.
When you reach the edges, cut the fabric to the exact length then weigh them down using landscaping rocks or staples. Do not discard the scrap pieces of fabric. You might need to use them later to patch up holes in the fabric. Aside from landscaping stones, if you are planning plant flowers or other kinds of plants along the edges, just put a couple of landscaping staples every ten feet or so to keep the fabric from flapping about.
If you will be installing the fabric where there are existing plants, cut a slit from the nearest edge then slide the fabric until it reaches the base of the plant. Cut more tiny slits in the fabric to make sure that it does not put too much pressure around the stem of the plant. Cover the cut up part with a patch of landscaping fabric and secure using landscape staples.
Once you have the area totally covered by landscaping fabric, it is time to cover the whole thing using organic mulch if you are planning to plant there. Alternatively, you can use gravel if you just want to use the ground as a pathway.
- Planting plants over the fabric:
If you will be planting over the fabric, you need to clear out a bit of the mulch then cut out an x-shaped slit that is large enough for the plant you are transplanting. You need to cut out a slit and not a hole because it will minimize the amount of space that weeds can squeeze themselves out of.
Open up the x-shaped slit then carefully dig into the ground. After you place the plant into the hole, cover the ground with the flaps of the landscape fabric then stamp them in place.
- When planting, do not cut out holes. Just cut an x-shaped slit so there will still be fabric covering the base of the plant. If you cut holes in the fabric, you will be giving the weeds quite a lot of space to grow around the plant.
- The landscape fabric will not last forever, but then again, you will only need to replace it at least ten years from when you install it. There are even some fabrics that are guaranteed to last at least 25 years.
2. Pull Up Weeds by Hand or Weeding Tools
Pulling up weeds may be a necessary chore for keeping a neat garden. However, if all that work is too much for you, or if you have a large garden, pulling weeds by hand can put too much strain on your body. Fortunately, there are plenty of weeding tools that you can use to make the chore much easier.
There are many kinds of gardening tools that you can use to get rid of weeds in your garden. These can range from tools that can clear a huge area quite fast to those that you can use for detailed works, like getting rid of weeds around the base of plants and for pulling out the more hardy weeds right from their roots. This is to make sure that they will not grow back.
Supplies We Recommend
- Vremi Garden Weeder Hand Tool
- Fiskars 4-Claw Weeder
- Flexrake Hula-Ho Mini Flexrake
- Tomita Japanese Triangle Hoe
How to Use Different Hand Weeding Tools
- Garden Hoe – This is great for when you have a large area to weed. For instance, if you are clearing out a vacant patch of land that you can use for planting. Hoes are great for getting rid of weeds that have really deep roots. You just need to swing the hoe into the ground then pull out clods of dirt. Along with the dirt comes the grass and weeds.
- Stand-up Weed Puller – These tools are for pulling out tough weeds without disturbing the ground surrounding them. These tools are especially helpful for pulling weeds in lawns and in between plants. To use this kind of tool, you just need to position the claws of the weed puller directly over the weed then use the foot peg to push the claws down into the ground and into the roots of the weed. You can then use the extruding foot peg as a fulcrum. Also, utilize the long handle as a lever to pull out the weed completely out of the ground.
- Fish-tail Weeder – This is a great tool for working in tight spaces. These weeders are narrow and have a sharp fishtail-shaped chisel edge so they can easily dig into the dirt and cut through the roots of the weeds. To use this, you just push the bladed portion into the ground at the base of the weed then pull it out. There are models that are narrow enough that you can use them in between the spaces between pavement slabs and pathways. You just need to run the bladed part into the spaces and scrape away the weeds.
- Push-pull (Stirrup) Hoe – This is different from the regular garden hoe both in its shape and function. Unlike the normal garden hoe, the stirrup hoe does not dig into the ground. What it does, instead, is it scrapes up the top part of the soil, pulling out weeds in the process. This is great for weeding garden patches where you do not want to unintentionally damage any of the other plants. To use this weeding tool, you just need to drag the blade of the hoe over the surface of the ground using a push-pull motion. You do not have to put a whole lot of pressure. Just let the hoe work on its own and you will see how it just pulls the weeds right off the ground.
- Fulcrum Weeder – This is similar to the fishtail weeder but the difference here is that it has a curved plate in front that helps make pulling out the weeds much easier. You just dig the blade into the ground as deep as you can then using the plate on the ground as a fulcrum, push down on the root and the weed will come out without too much effort.
- Water your plants before you start weeding. Pulling out the weeds will be much easier when the ground is wet and loose. You should start weeding right after you water your plants or after a good rainfall.
- Sprinkle Epsom salt, rock salt, or just regular table salt over the weeds. If there are weeds that have sprouted in the spaces between concrete slabs, other than digging them out using a narrow weeding tool, you can just sprinkle table salt on the weeds and around its base.
This will kill and prevent all weeds growing in that space for a long time. Unfortunately, this also includes other plants. With that said, you need to be careful when using this on weeds near desirable plants. The excess sodium chloride will turn the ground into a hostile environment where not even weeds would like to grow.
3. Kill Weeds with Heat
Have you ever fantasized about using a flamethrower on hordes of zombies? No? Well, if you did, there is something that is rather close to it that you can do right in your garden. However, instead of a real flamethrower (which is illegal to own by the way), you will be using a portable blowtorch, and instead of torching zombies, you will be killing weeds.
Thermal weeding is not a new thing by any chance. This a technique that has been used for many years now, and it is quite effective. It can effectively kill all kinds of weeds, and prevent them from growing back. The whole process is fun, too. However, it is a pretty dangerous practice and you might need to get special lessons on how to use it properly.
Supplies We Recommend
First, you need to procure a blow torch that will fit your needs. If you have a small garden, like a lanai or something of similar size, you can just use a butane blowtorch that you use in the kitchen. The kind that you use for crème brulee would be fine. Now, if you have a rather sizeable garden, then you can use a bigger, propane-fueled weed torcher.
Once you have a blow torch on you. Make sure that the conditions are right for torching weeds. Ideally, you do not use weed torches during the dry season. If the flames of your blowtorch do as much as pass on top of some dry grass, they will instantly light a fire. Whenever you do choose to torch the weeds in your garden, be careful and look where you are pointing the flames at. Also, make sure to have a fire extinguisher nearby.
If you will be torching a whole row of weeds, walk alongside them at a slow pace. You should just pass the flames of the blow torch over the weeds for a fraction of a second and not any longer. You are not aiming to burn the weeds. You just want to place enough heat into them that they would start deteriorating.
The flames of a propane blow torch are so hot that they can instantaneously boil the water inside the cells of the weeds in just a fraction of a second. This causes the cells to break down and the entire plant to die. For instance, if the flames do as much as lick the stem of the weed, these will cause enough damage to prevent water from getting to the other parts of the plant, causing it to die.
To completely get rid of the weeds in your garden, you need to give them another pass with the blow torch after two or three weeks. This final pass of heat will definitely kill all of the weeds that were not destroyed by the initial pass.
- As mentioned earlier, you need to stop your compulsion to burn the weeds completely. The reason behind this is when you burn organic matter, you turn them into carbon and that is a potent fertilizer. In addition, when you burn the top part of the weed, their bulbs and root system are still intact. This means that the weeds will grow back and this time, faster and more widespread than before.
- Just lightly brush the flames over the plant. Do not point the flames at the weeds for too long. You will know if you have done enough damage to the plant when the leaves turn from having a glossy green color to a dull, matte green.
- Since flames work quickly to kill plants, you need to use this kind of weeding technique somewhere that is far from nearby plants of value. This means you cannot use flames on weeds that are growing near your flowers or vegetable plants.
- Be careful where you point the flames. For instance, you might point the flames at a plot of dirt where there were no weeds to begin with and the heat actually activated the dormant seeds of weeds and cause them to grow at a faster pace than before. So, if you are not pointing the flames at the weeds, just point them above the plants.
4. Corn Gluten Meal Work as Natural Weed Control
There are many surprising things that you would not have thought could be used as a way to control the growth of weeds in your lawn and flower and vegetable garden. Corn gluten is actually a by-product of corn milling, generally the dried up husks of the corn kernels. Ordinarily, these would be used as additives to livestock feed, but they were recently discovered to have another use, and that is as natural weed killers.
Technically, the corn gluten does not really prevent the seeds of weeds from germinating. However, it does inhibit them from taking root after they germinate. This means that the application of the corn gluten will need a bit of expert timing. If you do get the timing right, the weeds will grow shoots and break through the ground but they will not grow any roots. This means that they will die shortly.
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How to Use Corn Gluten Meal Against Weeds?
Before you get started, there is one thing that you need to know: corn gluten meal cannot kill already existing weeds. They can only be used for pre-emergent weeds, which means timing the application of corn gluten meal will be quite a tricky task.
Corn gluten meal comes in three forms:
- Unprocessed – This form of corn meal is quite fine in texture, almost like baby powder, but not as fine as cornstarch. This form of corn gluten meal can be spread by hand, but using a hand seeder produces a more uniform result.When applied, the corn gluten meal looks like a layer of pollen. This form needs to be applied directly on bare earth, or around the base of new plants because it is so fine that it cannot penetrate through grass and mulch.
- Granulated – This is also best applied using a hand seeder. You can also mix in a bit of water to create a paste that you can use as a patch or localized DIY weed killer. When the patch hardens, it prevents weeds from growing while the surrounding plants continue to grow.
- Pellets – This has the ideal size for broadcasting by hand. This works great as a lawn treatment during spring and autumn as it will provide nutrients to the soil while preventing new weeds from growing. Because of their size and weight, you can apply this form of corn gluten meal even during windy days.
The application of corn gluten meal is pretty straightforward. You just scoop some up and sprinkle it around the area where you need to suppress the weeds. However, the tricky part comes with the timing of the application.
You need to apply the corn gluten just as the weed seed are starting to germinate. This is important as the protein from the corn gluten needs to get to the newly sprouted roots of the seeds for it to have any effect.
After applying the corn gluten, it needs to be watered in. Here comes the tricky part, the corn gluten then needs to stay dry for at least a week so it can start doing its magic. This is a pretty tall order, especially during the spring and autumn months when two sunny day in a row is rare, which are the best times to apply corn gluten. So, you better check your local forecast before you start using it.
- Use it at the right time. To hammer in the fact that timing is crucial when using corn gluten meal, if you use it too late, and the weeds’ roots have already grown, the corn gluten will not prevent it from further growing. Instead, the nitrogen in the corn gluten meal will actually fertilize the weeds, making them grow faster and more robustly.
- When a considerably strong rainstorm comes right after you spread the corn gluten meal, the excess water will dilute the proteins too much that they would no longer have any effect.
- Different kinds of weeds germinate at different times, so you better take into consideration what kinds of weeds often plague your garden and make sure to schedule your application of corn gluten according to their life cycle.
5. Organic Weed Control with Newspaper and Mulch
Landscaping fabric can be mighty expensive but thankfully, there are many other things that you can use instead, and one of them is the humble newspaper. If you have stacks upon stacks of newspapers that you swore you would send to the recycling center later, but never get to doing then here is a better way that you can use them – to prevent the growth of new weeds in your garden.
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How to Use Newspaper and Mulch to Prevent Weeds
Once you have the ground prepared, you can start covering the ground with newspapers. Unfurl all the pages of the newspaper and lay them down in a single-page layer on the ground. If you need to overlap sheets, give an allowance of at least six inches between the two sheets.
You do not have to use garden staples to secure the seams. It will only rip through the paper. The weight of the mulch later will weigh down the newspapers, thus preventing them from moving. Make sure that there is enough space for your plants to grow. Do not suffocate the stems of the plant. Give the plants you have a hole that is at least six inches in diameter.
Once you are happy with the placement of the newspaper, you need to turn your garden hose on it and soak the newspaper. The wet newspaper is no longer at risk of getting blown away by the wind. Do not worry too much about the newspaper. It is porous so it will let the water seep through it and into the ground. In addition, the inks used in the print are all soy-based pigments that are completely organic.
After the newspaper is sopping wet, bury all of them under a six-inch or so thick layer of mulch. The mulch will prevent the soil and newspaper from getting too dry because it keeps the soil plenty moisturized.
- If you do not have enough newspapers, you can use cardboard instead. In fact, cardboard is much better because it is thicker than newspaper, thus making the process of smothering the weeds much more efficient.
- As the paper decomposes, it will provide a lot of needed nutrients for the plants. This is good news for people who do not have that fertile a plot, after a year of using newspaper mulch, your garden will be teeming with organic life.
6. Kill Weeds with Boiling Water
Although torching the weeds in your garden is quite effective and fun, there is another method that proves to be just as effective but not as dangerous. You will still be applying heat but through the use of boiling water.
This is by no means a new method, people have been using hot water to kill weeds since the 19th century. The great thing about this home remedy is that it is harmless to the surrounding environment since no chemicals are used and the hot water can more effectively kill weeds better than blow torching and applying herbicides.
The only problem is that you can only use it on a small scale, unless you have a ridiculously large kettle. If you do then you will know how dangerous handling that large amount of boiling water can be. For now, let us just focus on eliminating problem weeds in a small garden.
How to Use Hot Water to Kill Weeds
First of all, you need to fill up your kettle with tap water and bring it to a rolling boil. The hotter the water, the quicker it can kill the weeds. Do be careful when handling the kettle. Use oven mitts to make holding and manipulating the kettle later much easier.
Pour the hot water carefully on top of the offending plant. Do not pour the entire contents of the kettle on just one plant. Use a small, steady stream of water to completely scald the entire plant and its roots. You can also directly pour some hot water into the base of the plant to make sure that you get all of the roots so the weed will not regrow.
You can also use this technique on weeds that grow in the cracks in the pavement or in between slabs. Just pour enough water to drench the weed and it will die. If ever there will be some regrowth in the same area, you can bet that it will be much smaller and weaker than the first plant. Another two or three treatments with hot water will ensure that the offending weed will not come back.
When using scalding hot water, use protective mitts or pot holders to make holding and manipulating the kettle much easier. However, oven mitts are recommended as they can also protect you from the scalding steam that will rise when you pour the water.
You should pour the water low to the ground to avoid getting splashed by the boiling hot water. A good three to six inches from the top of the weed should be good enough.
There might still be some regrowth, especially if you are dealing with perennials with particularly deep-seated root systems. To get rid of these weeds permanently, dig out the weed then pour the hot water directly into the hole where you pulled out the plant. This will make sure that even the deepest roots are scalded and damaged beyond repair.
When using hot water to kill weeds, you need to wear pants and closed-toe shoes. This is not the time to wear flip-flops and shorts, no matter how hot the weather is. If you make one wrong move, you will splash boiling hot water on your legs and cause at least second-degree burns.
Will the hot water kill the helpful bacteria and biota in the soil? Yes, but the damage will only be localized to the place where the weed was growing. In addition, since there are no chemicals that will stay in the soil, the healthy bacteria and other biological organisms will return to that same spot in just a couple of days. These are just some of the reasons why this is one of the best natural weed killer methods around.
Why I Love Organic and Natural
Controlling weeds without using chemicals is not just personally rewarding (mainly because it is much more difficult, so you can say that this is a triumph of being a gardener), and because you achieved it without hurting the environment.
There are several reasons why I do not like using chemicals if it can be avoided. First, herbicides not only kill weeds, they can also kill the other plants if you are not careful when using them. This means you can only use them on herbs that are not near any of your other plants. This also not very viable for use on lawns as you will most likely create unsightly dry patches.
Second, they are highly-toxic, so if you do not store them properly and securely, your pets or children might get a hold of them and there is no telling what will happen. Even if you are extremely careful in handling herbicides, they can get everywhere even on your clothes.
In addition, there is no telling how long commercial herbicides will be lingering in the soil after you apply them. Yes, it prevents weeds from growing back, but it will also prevent other kinds of plants from growing in the treated soil. On the other hand, with organic and natural way to kill weeds, not only will you not contaminate the soil with harmful chemicals, you will actually impart beneficial nutrients to it, making it more conducive to gardening. This means that after you get rid of the weeds, you can grow more of the plants that you like.
Another reason why home remedies are the best is because you do not have to worry about getting unwanted chemicals in your produce. For instance, if you are fond of spraying insecticides and herbicides on your vegetable garden, no amount of washing the veggies that you harvest will completely get rid of all the chemicals that you pumped onto it. It is best if you can actually eat the fruit or vegetable straight from the garden.
As much as possible, I would like my garden to retain its beauty through natural and organic means. One way of doing that is to use a natural weed killer. Even though it will take a bit more effort, it is totally worth it. It is actually more fulfilling if you can get the same outcome as other gardeners just by using homemade organic weed killers.
The ways of weed control listed above are not just safe (although the blow torch method does need quite a lot of precaution), they are also pretty effective at dealing with pesky weeds. It is highly recommended that you try at least one of these homemade weed killers, or all of them first before you even think about using commercial herbicides. You might find that using any of the natural or homemade weed killer mentioned is not only easier but also much more economical to use in the long run.