Ask a gardener of any skill level what the hardest part of having a garden is and they will all tell you the same thing – getting rid of weeds.
Invasive plants are everywhere and it’s no wonder why we have so many commercial weed killers on the market.
However, synthetic pesticides pose a threat to children and pets if swallowed.
Fortunately, there’s quite a lot of ways to get rid of weeds naturally. Some of these eco-friendly methods include…
Weeding By Hand
This is the most basic and easy way to dispose of the pesky plants growing in your garden.
Use a handy tool, such as a claw or trowel, to loosen the weed roots.
After that, pull the weed by the root.
Use gloves to avoid spreading seeds anywhere else.
Boiling Hot Water
Prepare a kettle of hot water and take it to your garden.
Make sure you aim around the crown of the undesired plant.
For some plant sorts it might take several tries, but it will kill them eventually and your garden will be once again weed-free.
This method is also good for spots you plan to replant, because it won’t damage the soil.
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If you’d like to suppress weed growth in pathways, you can install a landscape fabric or ask for professional landscapers to do so.
Usually, the fabric is covered with a layer of mulch, and that’s another place where weeds can develop.
However, their roots will be shallow and pulling them off will be a piece of cake.
Pure salt dehydrates plant leaves and sabotages the proper moisture intake of the weed’s root system.
You can mix it up with some water to make a potent solution.
Utilise this method carefully as water and salt solutions can be deadly for regular plants as much as for weeds.
It’s best to use it in small amounts as otherwise salt may permanently damage your soil.
Pure vinegar (white or cider), just like salt, causes dehydration to unwanted plants.
It also evaporates quickly after use, however you need to be very careful when using vinegar as it kills any plant it comes in contact with.
Luckily, you can find many useful recipes on what ingredients to mix with vinegar so it’s not as strong.
Cover the soil with grass clippings, wood chips, sawdust, shredded bark, and other organic materials to stop sunlight from reaching the soil.
This, in turn, should kill the unwelcome plants.
Mulch also prevents new weed seeds from entering the soil.
Newspapers quickly go out of date, but fortunately they can still serve your garden well.
Use old newspapers to cover low-growing plants.
Make the cover at least four layers thick.
Eventually, the lack of sunlight will be the demise of your weeds and will stop weed seeds from developing.
Mix this strong alcohol with some water and put your new organic herbicide in a spray bottle.
The vodka to water ratio depends on how stubborn your undesired plants are.
Spray the nasty weeds and watch as they dry out.
Be advised – this method works best on sun-loving invasive plants.
If you are dealing with another weed variety which you can’t recognise, you might want to book professional garden clearance services instead.
To get rid of weeds naturally with bleach, pour some of it on the pesky weeds growing between the cracks of your walkways.
In a couple of days, you should be able to remove the plants easily.
The bleach will also keep them from coming back.
Disclaimer: Bleach is actually a highly poisonous material for plants, pets and humans alike. If bleached, the soil pH becomes very acidic and nothing will grow for the months to come. If you are determined to use bleach, you will have to avoid spraying plants you want to keep, don’t let pets or kids go near the treated spot and don’t use it around days with rainy weather forecast. Water will help the bleach spread throughout your garden and will kill off other plants.
In the end, it all boils down to desperate times, desperate measures.
A propane torch is probably the best natural herbicide you can get.
Do be careful with this method though as you don’t want to burn your “good” plants in the process.
Not really a weed killing method, but rather a weed prevention one.
No seeds will grow into plants when sprinkled with this meal ground.
Rest assured, it’s a pet-safe method.
Got an old carpet you no longer need?
Cut it up into scraps and use them as a weed barrier.
The old carpet pieces will stop invasive plants from growing and still allow water to drain.
Keep in mind that the scraps should not remain on the soil for more than a year.
Ground Cover Plants
Ground cover plants are great when you need to cover bare patches of soil and, wouldn’t you know it, they also compete with weeds.
In fact, they are so competitive that they will deprive the weeds from their much needed nutrients, water, and sunlight.
For more information on ground cover plant types, go to RHS.
Weeds are, after all, plants and some of them are perfectly edible. Some examples of weeds you can prepare for dinner include: curly dock, wild amaranth (pigweed), dandelion, red clover, watercress, and chickweed.
You can also check this link for some tasty invasive plant recipes.
By the way, you can even make vodka out of Japanese knotweed!
The spray oil is popular for its wide range of uses and it is even good for killing off thistles.
Congratulations, you now discovered one extra use!
Just spray some on the invasive plants and watch them wither and perish.
Disclaimer: be also careful with WD-40. Although it’s the DIY-er’s best go-to tool for pretty much anything, don’t abuse it as it can kill not only weeds but your regular plants too. For reference, check the above bleach disclaimer.
So there you have it, your own guide to dealing with invasive plants in your garden. Natural methods are highly effective when combined together – choose several of the above methods for maximum effect.
Did we miss anything? Do you apply other methods in fighting weeds organically? Drop a comment below or share them on social!