Weeds are a serious problem in gardening and landscaping. Apart from being an eye sore, these unwanted plants compete for water, sunlight and nutrients in the soil with your desired plants. This will definitely lead to stunted growth for your vegetables, flowers and lawn grasses. Weeds control requires a sustainable strategy and some gardeners have resorted to home remedies such as salt, vinegar and liquid dish soap.
Does Salt Kill Weeds?
Yes, salt will kill weeds and any other plant it comes into contact with. Salt causes water imbalance in a plant cell which leads to dehydration and wilting. Salt solution should therefore be used on individual weeds or in areas where plants are not needed like patio stones, cracks in driveways and in foundations.
CAUTION: Salt should not be used on or near your desired plants. It is a non-selective weed killer that completely disrupt the osmotic balance of the plants cells and the soil around. If you decide to use on individual weeds, simply apply on the plant foliage without dousing the soil or your desired plants like lawn grasses, flowers and vegetables.
How does salt kill weeds?
Despite salt being a common ingredient in kitchen, only few people know its importance in controlling dreaded weeds. Other than being a safe weed killer, salt is less expensive and readily available. There are many types of salts, in this case we are talking about iodized or non-iodized sodium chloride or rock salt.
Salt works by drawing water from plant cells through the osmosis process. This creates a water imbalance that leads to plant dehydration and wilting. Salt is a non-selective weed killer that exterminate any plant. That’s why you should use salt weed killer with caution around your desired plants.
Table salt or rock salt by itself may not effectively kill weeds, but you can improve its weed killing power by making a solution of salt, vinegar and dawn soap. All these are readily available in our kitchen cabinets, you can as well order them from a nearby grocery store.
Distilled white vinegar contain acetic acid. When applied on plants, vinegar will only kill some parts such as leaves and maybe stems. The root system remains unaffected and this will lead to re-emergence of the weeds. A higher concentration of vinegar above 10% permanently kills weeds but will cause soil issues that affect other ecological lives.
Dawn dish soap does not kill weeds by itself. The ingredient only act as a surfactant that improves the effectiveness of salt and vinegar homemade weed killer. Liquid dish soap reduces the surface tension of the solution making it to spread and stick more on plant parts.
How to use salt as a weed killer
Weeds can quickly spread from one point to another. The undesired plants can spread from your flower beds into your lawns. Weeds growing in cracks, foundations or between pavers can also spread their seed to your grasses. Do not wait to purchase an herbicide yet you have salt, vinegar and dawn in your home.
To make your natural weed killer with vinegar, dawn and salt you’ll need the following:
- 1 gallon distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup of table salt
- 1/4 cup dawn dishwashing soap
Pour 1 gallon of white vinegar into a bucket and add 1 cup of table salt and stir until all the salt dissolves. Add 1/4 cup of dawn liquid dishwashing soap and blend thoroughly. Pour your weed killer into a spray bottle and prepare to apply on the unwanted plants.
On a calm sunny day, spray the weeds and ensure every part is completely soaked. Only spray the targeted weeds and avoid dousing the soil or nearby desired plants. Salting your soil can kill plants for years and this is why you should not us salt on your lawns or on your entire garden.
After 24hours, weeds will start wilting. In another three days all the weeds will be dead. Since this is a natural weed killer, multiple applications may be done for a complete control of tough weeds like nutgrass, crabgrass and dandelions.
If you are using salt weed killer on patio stones, cracks in driveways or where its long term effect are not an issue, a more salt can be used to make a more concentrated solution. Otherwise apply a less concentrated salt solution directly to the foliage of the weeds without dousing the soil.
Weeds can quickly be killed using a commercial weed killer BUT environmental effects of the products are alarming. Using a homemade weed killer is not only safe but also a less expensive option. Salt can be used to kill weeds but you have to use it carefully so that other plants are not affected.