Many homeowners invest a lot of time and effort in their lawn maintenance. Whether you have just a nicely trimmed grass or you enjoy planting flowers, having different kinds of unwelcome weeds is a problem. Luckily, these 10 natural ways to get rid of weeds in grass will be very helpful.
You can kill weeds naturally, by pulling them out by hand, spraying them with homemade weed killers made from different ingredients, and placing various kind of ground coverings. You can also mow the lawn high or even burn the weeds. All of those methods are completely natural and environmentally friendly.
It wasn’t long ago that we got our new sod lawn and we are already seeing some weeds around. I am not concerned about a few weeds, but I’d like to be ready to handle it before it gets out of control.
Natural weed removing methods are a bit slower, but they are cost-effective and safe. Here is a list of the best practices proven to do wonders for your lawn and garden.
What Are Weeds and Why Do You Need to Get Rid of Them?
Before I list the best natural ways to get rid of weeds, let’s go over why it is important to eliminate weeds.
Depending on your location, climate, and water, you may encounter different types of weeds. Dandelions, ground ivy, and purslane are some of the types of weeds that may grow in your gardens or lawns.
Although some weeds may look arguably beautiful, they don’t pair well with your other grass and plants.
Weeds are invasive plants that kill existing grass and plants. They are resilient and will take all the water and nutrients from the soil away from your meticulously planted flowers or grass. The biggest challenge is getting rid of them without damaging the plants and grass you want to keep.
Natural Ways to Get Rid of Weeds
Using chemical-based weed killers is bad for the environment and groundwater. Having those chemicals in your garden could negatively affect children or pets playing around. If you have some plants used for human consumption, like all kinds of spices, you probably shouldn’t eat them if you used hard chemical agents nearby.
That is why you should try natural ways that have successfully been used for many years. And here is a list of the best 10 methods:
1. Pulling Them by Hand
This is the most tedious method because it requires time and physical effort. However, it is the simplest and safest way to remove just the targeted plant species you want to get rid of.
If you want to pull out the weeds, make sure you have a small shovel or a similar tool to remove the roots. Removing just the top part is insufficient, as the weed can grow again from the roots. When you pull them out, throw them away from your garden.
This method should be done after rain when the soil is soft for easy digging. An excellent time to do this is when your grass goes dormant as the weeds should be weaker and easier to pull. For raised garden beds, this method should be all you need.
2. By Spraying a Mixture of Soap, Vinegar and Salt
Some people believe that soap alone can kill weeds, and it may be the case for very weak weeds, but it will not kill most weeds by itself.
However, if you mix dish soap with vinegar and salt, you have a much better chance to kill weeds.
Vinegar is one of the most versatile products to have in your home, from cleaning to killing weeds, its applications are endless. When you add salt to vinegar, you have a potent herbicide. The acid from the vinegar and the salt dry out the leaves.
Dish soap works mainly as an adhesive. It allows vinegar and salt to adhere to the plant’s leaves.
Add 1/2 cup of salt and 1 tablespoon of dish soap to 1/2 gallon of vinegar, and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spray the weeds only.
3. By Spraying a Mixture of Alcohol and Soap
Alcohol has a similar effect as vinegar and salt.
Mix 1 ounce of rubbing alcohol, a teaspoon of dish soap, and 2 cups of water and transfer to a spray bottle –Some people use vodka instead of rubbing alcohol.
The soap will dissolve the wax of the weeds, and it will hold the alcohol in place. The solution will dry up the weeds, which will eventually die.
As with any of this type of mixture, make sure to spray the weeds only.
4. By Spraying Borax
A homemade weed killer can be made from borax mixed with water.
Thoroughly mix 10 ounces of borax (powder form) to 2.5 gallons of water. Add that mixture to a spray bottle and apply it to the weeds you want to get rid of.
Avoid applying it to the good plants and not soak the soil with the solution. Wear gloves and any other protective equipment to prevent direct contact with the solution.
5. By Applying Sun-Covers
Sun is an essential part of plant life, and with no sun, there are no plants. The same goes for weeds.
There is an easy way to cut off the light supply, covering the weed with some old newspapers, old blankets, plastic sheets, or similar items.
Just make sure you put some rocks or heavy objects on top so that the wind doesn’t blow them away. Keep it like that for some time and regularly check the condition. There should be an improvement visible after a few days.
6. By Burning the Weeds
Burning the weeds will destroy the upper part of the plant first, but it will also kill the roots after a few applications.
Devices used to burn the weed are called flame weeders, and you can buy them in gardening stores.
It is a highly effective method, but it requires a lot of precaution measures. Be careful not to injure yourself or accidentally cause a fire. Avoid doing this in the wildfire season when the surroundings are dry, and they could easily catch fire.
7. By Covering with Mulch
Mulch materials like wood-chips or even gravel are extremely useful in weed prevention. As you cover the ground with mulch, weed seeds have no sunlight and can’t grow. Even if they somehow attempt to grow, it will be hard, and the weeds will eventually die.
Mulch can also look very lovely, and you can easily pick the one that goes well with the landscaping. Just cover bare ground with it on the base of the plants you want to protect.
8. By Covering with Corn Gluten Meal
Corn gluten meal is one of the natural ways to prevent the growth of weeds. Corn gluten meal will not kill weeds but help prevent their seeds from growing.
Spread it across the places with weeds and those places where weeds could grow. In addition to controlling weeds, cornmeal acts as a fertilizer because of its high nitrogen content.
The downside is that this process takes a long time.
9. By Mowing the Lawn High
Most homeowners like to have nicely trimmed grass, but having it very short enables weeds to grow. If you mow it high, the tall grass will prevent the sunlight from reaching the soil, and the weeds won’t grow. It does not have to be too tall, but leave it as tall as you can.
Higher grass that gets more sunlight will spread the roots and leave no open soil patches for weed to take over. Modern lawnmowers have a setting to adjust the desired hight.
10. By Planting Ground-Covers
Weeds usually grow in places where the soil is free and sunny (in between your favorite flowers and similar areas).
Ground covering plants are resilient, have wide roots, and they will take over the soil surface and prevent weeds from growing.
If you have trees or bushes where the sun doesn’t shine, and regular grass can’t grow, you can plant ground covers there. This method is highly effective, completely natural, and looks very nice. Besides, ground covers have no negative impact on existing plants you want to keep.
Does Boiling Water Kill Weeds?
As I was researching this topic, I came across several references noting that boiling water can be used to kill weeds as well.
Because this method is not very precise, it is easy to kill the plants you don’t want to kill accidentally. The most typical recommendation I found is for this method is to be used only in sidewalks and driveways.
Some people argue that just like using soap alone, you may kill some weak weeds with boiling water, but it is not useful to kill most weeds.
The video below tests this theory by trying to control 4 types of weeds with boiling water and see the results 3 weeks later.
What Are the Benefits of Natural Weed Killing Methods?
By using natural weed killers, you are helping your family and the environment. Here is a list of the main benefits:
- Saving money – natural weed killers are cheaper than commercial ones.
- Preventing pollution – natural weed killers are safe for flora and fauna in your surroundings. Besides, no harsh chemicals will pollute the soil and water in the area.
- Preventing chemical resistance – some plants can become resistant to certain herbicides and by using natural methods you are preventing this from happening.
- Protecting your health – it is not just about eating plants that were in contact with the herbicide, it is about handling and even inhaling those harmful products. You have probably noticed that those should be handled with care and the smell is horrible.
- Easy DIY opportunity-preparing and using natural weed killers do not require any specific knowledge or application method. And most of us have all of the ingredients available at home.