If you’re an avid gardener, you know just how toxic weed killers can be. Sure, they’ll knock out garden pests, but they may also hurt carefully tended flowers and vegetables and may be harmful to children and pets. Organic gardening is popular for precisely this reason — people want to reduce pesticide and herbicide exposure, particularly since many of these chemicals are known carcinogens.
Without traditional herbicidal agents at your disposal, though, how can you keep your garden well-maintained? One solution is to apply weed killers instead of chemicals. These four all-natural weed killer approaches will eliminate garden pests if you give them a chance.
Pull ’Em Out
It’s not exactly an herbicide, but as any old-school gardener will tell you, the best way to get rid of weeds is to pull them by the roots. This can be time-consuming, but it allows you to protect select plants and eliminate surrounding pests that are restricting their growth. Plus, with a little guidance, you can get the kids to help weed. It’s a key part of learning to garden, after all.
A Sour Solution
Even if your kids have outgrown the need to put anything and everything in their mouths, it’s much harder to control outdoor pets, which is one reason why it’s so important to eliminate chemical herbicides if you want to keep your pets safe. At the same time, you still want an easy way to deal with weeds, and that’s where this sour solution — vinegar — comes in.
All you need to do to knock out weeds using vinegar is put it in a spray bottle and aim. More-resistant plants may require a few applications to die off, but the spray bottle offers the selective convenience of traditional herbicides with the safety of a natural product.
Heat Things Up
In general, plants don’t like too much heat — that’s why your greens wilt when put into a steaming pan. If there are plants you’re trying to get rid of, then, why not put the power of fire to work for you? Though we wouldn’t recommend this in areas that suffer from droughts or frequent forest and brush fires, it’s an otherwise effective strategy.
Pick up a flame-weeder tool at your local gardening store and use it to apply heat to the leaves of any invasive plants. The only downside to this is that you’ll typically need to repeat the process as leaves spring back up; since you aren’t killing the roots, the weeds aren’t totally eliminated.
Make It Steamy
Finally, in the same vein as flame-weeding, you can kill weeds by pouring boiling water on them. This strategy is perfect if you’re having problems with weeds around the edges of your lawn or in the cracks of the sidewalk since you can just dump a pot of water right there. It’s also a good way to clear a plot of weeds before planting since it doesn’t leave any harmful remnants — just irrigated soil.
With so many natural herbicidal approaches at your fingertips, why turn to harmful chemicals? Many gardening chemicals are known carcinogens, in addition to being dangerous to children, household pets and wild animals.
Do your part as a citizen of this earth and tend your garden with care, not chemicals.
Do you have an all-natural weed killer that works for you? Share it in the comments below!
Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock