Many gardeners are attracted towards green or organic solutions to take care of resistant weeds on their lawns and gardens, as prolonged use of chemical herbicides could be the downfall of their beautiful plants and flowers. But do these organic solutions even work? Seems like they do! And the most prominent and easy solution among them is using vinegar. Yes! Vinegar, that is found in your kitchen and is also alternatively used as a cleaner, stain remover, and disinfectant. Seems like an all-in-one power solution.
In this article, we will learn more about vinegar, its use as a weed killer, and possible limitations if any. Let’s get started!
Why Use Vinegar for Killing Weeds
Vinegar is a completely natural acidic solution that is made through the process of fermentation. It is normally used in our kitchen to add a distinct flavor to our foods and also around the household. Vinegar consists of acetic acid, which is the main compound giving it the ability to clean, disinfect, and even kill weeds.
Vinegar acts as an organic and natural weed-killer that is non-selective in nature, thus it could damage your perfectly healthy and desired plants as well. But even so, it is preferred over other herbicides. Why? Because it gets the job done and isn’t much you have to do in the process.
What Kind of Vinegar kill weeds?
The type of vinegar you use depends on the type of weed you are attacking. Weeds are tough to get rid of, and until you don’t target their root system, the problem is far from gone. The vinegar usually found in households and the kitchen is white vinegar, which consists of 5% acetic acid and 95% water, thus its acidity content is quite low. It might work on small, vulnerable, week-old weeds but it is no match for tough, over-grown weeds.
For highly resistant weeds, we use horticulture vinegar, which consists of 20% acidic content, much more powerful than white vinegar in its use. You can easily find this type of vinegar in a hardware store, farm store, etc.
When to Apply Vinegar Solution
Timing plays a very crucial role in the process of successful weedling. Before applying any type of herbicide, either organic or chemical, it is important to first identify the types of weed you are against. Are they annual or perennial? Their seed germination time? Etc. This can help you determine the perfect time or opportunity to apply weed killers and instantly kill them off. For example, perennial weeds are tough and might need more than one application throughout the year to be killed off or controlled.
Also, it is recommended to apply vinegar during the daytime, under full sunlight, and you can see the results within a few hours only. But is it an effective solution for a lifetime? Does vinegar work its magic on roots as well? We have listed some pros and cons below to settle the debate.
Pros and Cons of Using Vinegar as a Weed Killer
- Natural organic weed killer.
- Suitable for small-stage vulnerable weeds.
- Shows results instantly.
- Repeated applications could disrupt the soil by adding salt and thus no growth would take place in that area.
- Does not affect the root system, thus the weeds grow back after some time.
- Produces strong odor.
- Damages metal equipment.
- It is non-selective in nature and can harm other favorable plants as well.
- Need extreme precaution when using industrial grade “horticulture vinegar”.
Different Ways to Use Vinegar as a Weed Killer
Vinegar is non-selective in nature and thus it can easily harm other plants and flowers in your lawn. When applying just vinegar, make sure to cover the foliage and avoid other plants as it can easily harm and burn them as well. Choose a warm sunny day to get the job done as it helps the weeds better absorbing the vinegar. You can also apply vinegar in between sidewalks, seams, and driveways.
But be careful when using vinegar as a weed killer because the acetic acid can cause burns and damage the skin permanently. Wear protective gear like gloves and a mask to avoid coming in contact with vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar solution
Apple cider vinegar solution is an effective weed killer and it consists of 5% acidity. If you want to use apple cider vinegar as a natural herbicide, then add 1 tablespoon in one gallon of water and spray it on the weeds with a spray bottle or garden hose-end sprayer.
Vinegar with Dish Soap
To make vinegar more effective as a weed killer, you can add a surfactant to make sure the vinegar stays long enough on the foliage to get the job done. One of the most commonly used home items is dish soap. All you need to do is take 1 gallon of 5% white vinegar and add 2 tablespoons of dish soap in it, mix it vigorously, and transfer the mixture into a garden sprayer or spray bottle. Apply the mixture directly onto the stubborn weeds on a warm sunny day for immediate results. Make sure to wash the sprayer thoroughly after use.
Vinegar and Salt Solution
Another effective home remedy that can make your vinegar weed killer more portent is by adding table salt to it. For this remedy, take 1 gallon of 5% of white vinegar, add 1 cup of table salt and dissolve it completely, then add 1 tablespoon of dishwashing soap. Transfer the mixture into a spray bottle and spray directly onto the weeds. The salt and dish soap helps the vinegar to stay longer on the weeds and kill them faster. The major drawback of using this salt mixture is that if used vigorously, it could damage the soil by the salt buildup and prevent any further growth in that area.
Dangers and Limitations of Vinegar
Vinegar might be effective but it has some limitations regarding its use. First, vinegar is non-selective in nature, thus its usage is harmful to your lawn. Secondly, vinegar doesn’t get the job done in just one go, multiple applications are required to tackle tough weeds but keep in mind that frequent use can damage your soil and its growth. Moreover, vinegar is acidic in nature, thus precautions are required in its use.
Does vinegar kill weeds permanently?
Conclusively, vinegar is an effective natural weed killer, but it has its limitations. Many people use vinegar in different ways to kill weeds but it still requires multiple applications before the desired results are obtained.
James, the D.I.Y Expert, graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture from Colorado State University. Love writing blog posts and guides to help others learn how to garden!