Throughout the year, your lawn encounters unwanted visitors that often try to overpower the pristine condition of your grass and the flowers in your garden. These pesky interlopers appear in various forms, from weeds to moss to invasive grasses. An all-encompassing homemade vegetation killer soon becomes the one shining beacon of hope you’ve been looking for all along.
But, where to start with making your DIY weed control recipe, and which ingredients are the most effective? Numerous natural vegetation killer recipes efficiently eliminate all species of vegetation from your lawn. However, in most cases, the best way to kill vegetation is to select a formula geared explicitly toward a specific plant.
While some natural weed killers like boiling water and vinegar are not selective in the plants they destroy, implement the best strategies for using every option, especially if you’re going to preserve the look of nearby plants and flowers.
Your ultimate decision should rely on the type of vegetation being removed and its location in your yard. These helpful step-by-step recipes supply you with all the information you need to make the right decision for your lawn.
Simple and Natural Vegetation Killer Recipes
When determining your best plan of action, there are a few key things to keep in mind. The first is what type of weed you’re dealing with: annual or perennial and grassy or broadleaf weed.
Attacking these different types of plants makes a difference in which strategies will be useful, especially since perennials are much more difficult to control with basic weed killers than younger annuals that haven’t developed established roots. Anyway, some of the most common forms of unwanted vegetation you’ll come across are listed here.
Some of these plants are weeds or work interchangeably as other common plants. Moss, for example, is an unwanted growth of vegetation that is more an indication of underlying lawn health concerns than it is an invasive species. In most cases, killing the moss is not as necessary as fixing the soil or growing conditions of the grass.
From a different perspective, some homeowners intentionally grow Bermuda grass as a warm-season choice for more extensive lawns. The grass’s aggressive and invasive nature, however, often demands a treatment similar to killing weeds to counteract its rapid growth.
People usually don’t want dandelions in the yard or want a surefire way of killing crabgrass that shows up in the lawn. These remedies work on all types of unwanted plants no matter where they appear.
Boiling Water: Best Way to Kill Vegetation
One of the most natural ways to remove any plant is by pouring boiling water over it and soaking it down to the roots. After just a few short hours, the plant starts to brown and die. While this technique works wonderfully on its own, this powerful effect amplifies when adding ingredients like salt and dish detergent to the mix.
For Japanese knotweed control or to get rid of other annoying weeds or grass, boil your water first. Add the salt and a mild dishwashing soap like Dawn to the hot water. When selecting the right type of salt, use one that contains sodium chloride, which is the element in the salt solution that destroys weeds.
Sea salt, rock salt, or table salt are the most effective to eliminate weeds. Epsom salt is made of magnesium, which can assist in the growth of most plants in small amounts. However, larger quantities of Epsom salt do work to kill unwanted vegetation.
Once finished combining the recipe, spray the vegetation carefully, and avoid hitting other plants in the area. While this ingredient works wonders, avoid using any salt combinations as weed control over an extended period.
Too much salt damages the soil structure over time, so it’s best to use it in moderation. This recipe is also the best spray for poison ivy removal.
Vinegar: Natural Vegetation Killer
Another ingredient traditionally found in homemade weed killer recipes is vinegar. Even though vinegar does not kill weeds down to the roots in the same way boiling water does, it kills almost any plant it touches.
With the top portion of the unwanted vegetation drying up, it makes it easier for you to extract the plant from your yard and toss it out. When selecting the right type of vinegar, a higher concentration of acetic acid is not always necessary. In most cases, regular household vinegar or apple cider vinegar does the trick just fine.
When killing weeds in lawn with vinegar, add some dish soap to break up the surface tension. The soap allows the white vinegar droplets to adhere to the plant even easier than spraying the liquid directly to the plant on its own.
To make this simple organic weed killer recipe, mix your gallon of vinegar, soap, and salt, then add some of the concoction to a large spray bottle or garden sprayer. Multiple applications of the vinegar spray may be necessary to eradicate the vegetation but only spray the plants once a week until gone.
You can also use a vinegar and Epsom salt weed killer in the same way you do with table salt. Make sure not to apply this weed control method on plants that you want to keep as it indiscriminately destroys any plant it comes in contact with.
This recipe is quite effective to get rid of grass from a gravel driveway or for shoots that appear between pavers. As a bonus, you don’t have to worry about harming plants nearby.
A variation of this recipe can also be used to kill tree roots. Drill holes in an old tree stump and pour salt into the holes. Add vinegar and wait. Repeat the application periodically after rain. This solution does take a while to kill all the roots, particularly if the tree was substantial but it gets the job done.
Kill Vegetation like Moss with Iron Sulfate
If you have issues with moss growing on your lawn, the problem is generally resolved by fixing deficiencies in soil or nutrients. However, you still need to remove the unwanted vegetation overtaking your yard before nursing your wounded grass back to full health.
The most effective way to correct this is to use a ground and roof moss killer like iron sulfate. This element is a type of fertilizer that alters the pH levels in soil, particularly lawns with high alkaline levels. Applying iron sulfate not only kills the moss, but it makes your grass healthier and strong enough to overpower the moss itself.
To apply this fertilizer, mix the two ingredients thoroughly in a large bucket, then add them to a sprayer. For larger areas, use a hand sprayer. For smaller spaces, a watering can works just fine.
Soak the plants and avoid hitting any outdoor furniture, concrete, or wood patios, since iron stains these. This mixture is safe to use on grass, around veggies, or flowers in your garden. It’s also an excellent way to get rid of Bermuda grass.
DIY Vegetation Killer Spray with Borax
Another necessary weeding ingredient is Borax. This standard household cleaner and pesticide also eliminates unwanted vegetation, especially ground ivy. When using this herbicide, you’ll want to protect your skin from irritation by wearing long sleeves and rubber gloves. You should also choose a day that’s not windy to avoid spraying other plants.
Start by mixing the Borax with water in a large bucket, then place it in a hand sprayer to cover large areas quickly. This mixture works on approximately 1,000 square feet of your lawn, but you can adjust the amounts as necessary.
Borax is generally safe to use on grass as long as it is established and well-nourished. It’s not recommended for use on ornamental flowers or vegetable gardens, however.
Use a Store-Bought Weed Killer
If you want to kill weeds and other vegetation without the hassle of making a weed killer yourself, using a store-bought product like Roundup will help. The active ingredient in this product is glyphosate, which kills any vegetation it encounters, including grass and other plants.
If you have broadleaf weeds in your gardens, such as dandelions or thistle, you have a little more wiggle room to work with when it comes to protecting surrounding plants. When selecting an herbicide, choose one of the ones explicitly geared toward broadleaf weeds, which will spare your grass from being killed in the cross spray.
These herbicides can be found in your local home and garden center and even your grocery store. If you would prefer a more organic dandelion control option, try some other formulas for removing broadleaf weeds.
Homemade Vegetation Killer with Gin
One great way to attack a plant’s root system is to use gin to disable it. Combining this one simple ingredient with your vinegar solution dries the plant out even faster than when used without it. When deprived of moisture, the plant is unable to grow and quickly withers.
Using this mixture prevents anything from flourishing in the location you sprayed, even the roots, for several days, before another application is needed.
When using this method, try to spray your weeds in the hottest hours of a sunny day. The heat increases the drying effects of the weed killer, speeding up the process. The plant will die within 48 hours and make it easier for you to remove all parts of the plant with ease.
Proactive Ways to Use These Homemade Vegetation Killer Tips
So now that you have all the best ways to kill unwanted vegetation, you may be wondering how to keep your yard clear of these pesky plants for good. Luckily, there are plenty of strategies you can implement in your yard and vegetable garden to keep them free of new weeds.
How can I prevent unwanted vegetation from growing back next year?
Once you get rid of unwanted weeds, you certainly don’t want them to come back later. The easiest way to keep weeds from returning is to strengthen your soil, along with other plants in your yard. This strategy includes fertilizing lawns to maintain nutrient and pH levels, which keeps moss from growing in place of grass.
You may also want to spread a pre-emergent herbicide like cornmeal gluten for crabgrass prevention, which is perfect for reducing new annual weeds from sprouting up the following year. Other popular methods require smothering weeds and preventing them from growing by reducing their ability to receive sunlight.
The most common way to do this is by adding mulch around flower beds, covering them with a tarp, or using landscape fabric deep beneath the soil. As an alternative to mulching, you can also use ground cover plants to fill in space between larger, taller bushes of flowers in a garden. Groundcovers prevent weeds from growing by filling any available regions with their roots and wide-spreading flowers.
With so many different ways for how to kill grass that grows where it shouldn’t, get rid of weeds and moss growing in yard or between pavers and eliminate other unwanted plants in your yard or garden, the most challenging struggle you’ll face will be selecting only one technique.
Sometimes a combination of weed control techniques works best. However, no matter which method you choose, the best way to kill vegetation is finally at your fingertips with these helpful recipes that use basic household ingredients and just a little of your time.
If you enjoyed learning about these easy-to-follow recipes and tips for killing weeds, please remember to share your favorite homemade vegetation killer with everyone you know on Facebook and Pinterest.