See a weed and pluck it out, soon no more weeds will make you shout.

If only it were that easy. While weeding your lawn or garden by hand gets the job done, it’s far from the most efficient use of your time. There are some simple, efficient ways to make sure weeds go away and stay away, but the kind of method you use depends on where you’re going to use it.

Chemicals can be useful, but they can also lead to problems with the plants you want to keep in place. Of course, this doesn’t include the troubling fact that the chemicals used to manufacture these weed killers are harmful to the environment and insects such as bees.

There are natural substitutes for chemical weed killers, but again, you’ll want to make sure you keep them off the plants you enjoy.

Want Nothing to Grow?

There are places where you don’t want to eliminate just weeds, but any plant life from growing. Areas that fall into this category usually include porches, driveways, sidewalks, along your fence line, and other paved areas. The power of nature can drive a tree through concrete, and it can do the same with weeds, especially if there are already cracks in the pavement.

In these cases, you don’t just want to do away with weeds; you want nothing to grow. In those situations, there are several environmentally-friendly methods you can use to keep anything from peeking through your cracks ever again.

Vinegar is another commonly-used liquid for killing weeds, and it does an excellent job of eliminating them. The problem is that vinegar isn’t a permanent solution; for treating paved areas, this is a weed killer that will have to be reapplied every time a weed appears.

The surest way to guarantee that nothing will grow through those cracks again is old fashioned salt. Once the earth is salted, nothing will grow there again, which is why the more distasteful conquerors of the past would salt the fields of their enemies. Baking soda has a high enough sodium content to be effective, as is plain salt; either way, once you apply this and push it into the cracks, your weed problem will vanish.

As with all other remedies, this one can cause problems if it reaches other soil, so be careful about where you use this method and account for drainage.

Just Want to Kill Weeds and Nothing Else?

A mixture of vinegar and water, or vodka and water, will do the trick when you have a weed you want to eliminate. As usual, you’ll need to take care to not spray any of these solutions onto anything you have planted, for example, herbs in your garden, that want to remain alive. These solutions don’t discriminate; they will kill all plants and weeds entirely.

A useful trick to use when trying to isolate your weed killer to just the weed itself is to use a plastic bottle. A smaller one will do for smaller weeds, or if you have a larger problem, you can use a two-liter size soft drink bottle.

Cut the bottom of the bottle out, then place it over the weed you want to kill. You can then insert your spray nozzle into the mouth of the bottle and spray away. This will keep whatever weed killer you choose to use contained to just your weed and the immediate area surrounding it, killing both the weed and its root system.

Jessica Meier

Jessica Meier

Garden fairy / mother of 2... also, I like to cook :)

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