The war against weeds seems to be an endless battle for gardeners. Usually, we immediately resort to chemical pesticides not knowing that there are ways on how to get rid of weeds naturally even more so without killing the neighbor good grass.
It is a must (if possible) to clear out this despicable garden alien before they take root.
Most weeds become aggressive competitors of the plants or crops grown snatching the soil nutrients, sun air or water.
Below, you'll find some useful ways to kill weeds in the lawn without killing grass.
how to get rid of weeds naturally without killing grass
Weeds can lessen agricultural yield that's why removing them has been the arduous task of many gardeners.
But did you know that you can do it naturally without your health at risk from chemicals? Continue reading and find out how to get rid of weeds without killing grass.
1: Manually remove Remove Weeds Growing in Your Yard
Perhaps, this is the most basic technique of killing weeds without killing your lawn. You can manually pull the weeds and be guaranteed that it is safe around neighbor plants.
Among the ways on how to get rid of weeds naturally, pulling out the weeds is the most personal and time-consuming. Yet working on it first hand, you can make you more meticulous on what roots to be pulled or not.
Using a trowel or a small cultivator, loosen the soil around the weeds. Make sure the area has already been softened by water so you can do the job easier. It will be a 'more than once task' but it will reduce the population on the spot.
Furthermore, weeds with taproots like dandelions and thistles weaken to regular pulling and can eventually kill them.
2: Use Cardboard or Newspaper to Smother Weeds
Kill the weeds by smothering them. Suffocate the weeds of large areas or garden borders by covering thick cardboard, newspaper, old carpet or black plastic bag.
With these items on top, weeds won't receive enough sunlight to encourage photosynthesis. But remember that this is not a quick solution, you will need to leave the cover for months.
Overlap the materials in the area you prepared to be your garden with few months prior. Slowly but surely, the weeds will die from malnutrition.
3: Dry them up with vinegar
Remove the weeds for good by using vinegar. The acetic acid of the kitchen condiment will dry up the moisture of weeds and eventually dry them, killing them.
It is still questionable if vinegar kills weeds deep down their roots, so might as well pull some after it dries up in a day or two.
Using a spray bottle, smear the grass directly with pure vinegar. Be careful not to spray the soil because the acidity of vinegar can alter the soil's ph.
Some recommend using vinegar added with salt or dish soap but it is still a hot topic until now since these ingredients are said to barren the soil and kill the good grass around.
4: Kill weeds with hot boiling water
This is an easy S.O.S of killing weeds that pop out of your lawn or sidewalks. The narrow spaces between cement are not safe from weeds either, only these tough strange grasses thrive in these sidewalk cracks.
Pouring hot, boiling water in the weeds will burn them. You are also safely assured that it will not leave toxins too.
If you are worried if the water runs to nearby plants, you can rest that it will not harm your good plants.
However, you can use a collar from tin cans so you pour the boiling water only over the weeds.
5: Dump handfuls of baking soda
Baking soda has many uses and one of them is killing weeds. The chemical composition of sodium bicarbonate can increase the salinity of the soil, and weeds cannot survive soil overloaded with salt.
A handful of baking soda is enough to cover each weed from driveway cracks. Others suggest mixing baking soda with water, but you can use it directly on moist weeds.
Ideally, apply the powder during the season when they are most active like spring or fall.
6: Control Weeds Naturally with Mulch
It is beneficial to your plants but stifling to weeds. Mulching with organic or inorganic material around plants and over weeds will keep the soil moist with enough warmth for good plants but will block air and sunlight for bad weeds to survive.
Thick mulch will also prevent young weeds to thrive and stop them from taking roots.
It is important to keep the mulch thickness in check to effectively obscure the sun's requirement of weeds.
You can use compost or sawdust for finer mulch texture since wood nuggets are coarse and the gaps may be another hole for weed to come out.
7: use corn gluten meal for effective weed control
A byproduct of the corn milling process, corn gluten meal is a pre-emergent and a eco friendly alternative to synthetic herbicides.
It offers protection from weeds taking roots after germination but does none to those who have already sprouted. It is effective in minimizing the weed population but in a very tricky, timely manner.
The standard application rate of corn gluten is 20 pounds/1,000 square feet of lawn though it can vary depending on soil types.
The application requires preciseness in the weather condition. Corn gluten needs water initially but a dry period is then required to stop weed seeds from full germination.
8: Rubbing alcohol, vodka or gin will get rid of weeds without killing grass
Your party beverage can kill weeds. Use alcohol or vodka (gin if unavailable) to get rid of weeds naturally without killing grass. Compared to chemical pesticides, alcoholic drinks are friendlier to the environment and kills just as much. They will dehydrate the weeds, breaking down the wax cuticle covering the weeds drying it and ultimately murdering the lawn strangers.
Take advantage of the sunny weather since the likes of vodka utilizes sun energy to burn broad-leaf weeds.
Be very specific because its effectivity is only recognized on weeds with broad leaves such as dandelions, chick weeds, wild onions, mullein and plantain weeds.
The alcohol will wither them, turning it dry and brown so you just have to pull them out after so it cannot be revived.
9: Make Your Own Weed Killer With dish Soap
It is fun to know that a cleaning agent as common as the soap can help in killing weeds. It is very safe for other grasses, attacking only to where it is locally sprayed.
The oil in soaps can remove the waxy texture of weeds that protects them from drying out. Soap can wash this away allowing it to become weak and dry.
Mix some soap and water in a spray bottle spraying it directly on the weeds. The solution can be also used in cracks of walkways or patios easing your task in clearing up the weeds outside.
10: Use Borax to Kill Weeds
Okay, this one is debatable. so, can you use this home remedy for killing weeds but not grass? Yes, It works but if not used carefully, it can also kill turf grasses. Borax contains boron and this is important for plant growth.
However, a little excess of it by an outside addition is highly toxic to plants. When you opt to use this, try to isolate your plants and use it as a spot treatment only for areas you wish to grow plants later.
Dissolve 5 teaspoons of Borax in 1 quart of water, this is enough for a 25sq feet lawn. Use the solution to weeds avoiding the good plants. The borax solution is especially effective in creeping ivy.
11: Let the goats feast
Goats are browsers, not grazers. They feed on leaves, fruits of high-growing woody plants, soft shoots, and shrubs, thus not only the low-lying vegetation.
Goats will eat almost all the undesirable plants on the lawn but it might include those harmful for them. They don't chew the lawn evenly but surely they are a cheaper and better option than pesticides or rental machine mowers.
If you have decided to have goats to naturally remove weeds, make sure to surround your plants and the-not-to-be-eaten grass with sturdy protection.
Build some fence around since these animals are not raised to differentiate weeds from not. They are also quite an explorer so keep them contained with a strong barrier.
12: Use Bleach as a Weed Killer
A potent substitute of vinegar, bleach can kill weeds in just a few days after misting them with such. Bleach has the strong ability to raise the soil's ph that's why you should be careful not to let bleach overrun to kills weeds not grass.
You also must be extra careful using it near bodies of water. Runoff of bleach is harmful to fish and other aquatic life.
Pour undiluted bleach over the weeds trying your best to localize the spread. In one to three days, it should brown the weeds and dry them.
Pulling it out will be very easy since the roots are now dead. Words of advice, wear complete body protection against inhaling bleach and/or potential skin irritation if in direct contact.
13: Smart use of landscape fabric to prevent weed from growing
Landscape fabric is a weed barrier but unlike your smothering tools, these have higher quality, tougher and lasts longer. The same concept of blocking the sun but landscape fabric allows water and airflow.
Since the fabric is specially formulated to allow the growth of desirable plants but not the weeds, it effectively prevents new seeds from weeds to germinate and take root. It is usable on its own but you may top it with mulch for better appearance.
Clear the area using some rake to even the soil and remove sharp objects that may damage the fabric. Roll out the landscape fabric in your by now flat lawn and allow it to an overlap of at least 3 inches.
Optionally you may cover it with mulch but it doesn't need to be thick since you must maintain regularly replacing it before turning to a soil that is good for weeds. ..
14: Use correct borders and edging
Why don't you decorate your lawn with rock edges? They are big and good barriers to stop weeds from reaching your landscape, Weeds that have been sit upon by heavy borders will eventually die, trapped in the darkness.
Design your flower bed with rocks, fence or bricks. The heavy and cutting edges will stop weed runners in overtaking your garden.
Just be careful when using mowers in this area, the rough texture of the materials can damage the lawnmowers.
15: Fight with hoe
Before entering the battleground against weeds, you must, of course, equip yourself with a weapon and hoe is a good one.
Hoeing early in the morning when the soil is still dry from early watering. Doing so will remove weeds on initial growth and hoeing to depth will include removing its roots.
Sweep with hoe the locations where you noticed weeds popping out. Make it as quick and precise as possible to ensure slicing of the undesirables.
Caution in using hoes, exercise some accuracy to avoid reaching the good plants. For tighter spots, use hoes with shorter handles.
16: Plant some Ground Cover for Weed Control
Another way to get rid of weeds naturally is by using ground covers. They work like mulches smothering the weeds beneath it.
The advantage is you know it is a live ornament and a great competitor of weeds. The ground covers must be thick and dense to spread blocking out the sunlight.
Plant the ground cover far before you establish planting so they can mature then. Choose the plant most suitable to your preference with a thickness suitable to suffocate weeds.
17: Dense planting
Be practical! If a spot is already dense with plantings, how can an outsider fit in? Keep your lawn with a high density of good plants and no weeds will be able to crowd in. the little opportunists will find no space to germinate.
Take advantage of the killed weeds. During rototilling which surely rids weeds, include the dead weeds in the soil where they can decay and turn to humus.
Not only that, but the technique will also aerate the soil allowing good circulation of air and loosen the soil.
Removing weeds should not affect your healthy plants as much as possible. You can easily apply these techniques from your kitchen or local stores at the most.
You can try this and see your lawn back to your dream grass plot. Positively speaking, you might as well save you and your family's health too.
Apply the techniques on how to get rid of weeds naturally and you will never reach for toxic pesticides again.
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she attended University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture. She has supplemented her formal education by working on various organic farms, including spending a semester abroad in India.
Growing and/or raising just about anything gets her excited. She is especially passionate about environmental justice and low-tech, sustainable ways to better run small-scale farms and homesteads. Lindsey started Urban Organic Yield to discuss gardening tips and tactics.
Last Updated on