A common problem everyone has with their lawn, garden, and pastures is that of weeds. They are often invasive and hard to manage. There are many solutions to this never-ending battle.
Many herbicide companies have developed effective weed killers (toxic solutions) to control these pesky plants, and they can be found in all farming, lawn and garden, and home goods stores.
However, there are more natural ways to maintain a weed-free landscape for those who prefer organic gardening.
Today we will be talking about the use of a common household product, vinegar, as an organic solution. The use of vinegar is a relatively new concept in weed control and is still being evaluated. We will be looking at recent reports on the effectiveness of vinegar on weeds and why or why it does not work.
So, sit back and enjoy reading about controlling your weeds with a long-term home remedy.
Table of Contents
Does white vinegar kill grass and weeds?
Common household vinegar is readily available in any grocery store and is very inexpensive. Besides being used for cooking and cleaning purposes, it also acts as a natural weed and grass killer. Regular household vinegar contains 5% acetic acid.
When applied correctly, the leaves and stems die quickly. However, regular household vinegar is not strong enough to kill the roots of the plants. For this, you will need to use horticultural strength vinegar (which contains 20% acetic acid).
Does vinegar kill weeds permanently?
There are mixed reviews on the effectiveness of vinegar to kill weeds permanently. Research has shown that a homemade solution of horticultural vinegar (20%), salt, water, and household dish soap (to make it stick) results in an 80-100% control rate for permanent death in annual, and often perennial, weeds.
Here is an effective concentration to mix and use for long-term plant control:
- 4 parts horticultural vinegar (20% acetic acid)
- 1 part water
- 1-ounce dish soap
- Salt (1 cup to 1 gallon of solution)
Adding salt to your solution helps dry out the weed’s root system. The dish soap helps the solution adhere to the plant and removes any protective layer on the plant leaf.
It is best to apply this natural herbicide mixture on a warm, sunny day. You may use a spray bottle for your mixture, or to spot kill, simply paint on weeds with a brush. Make sure you protect your skin by wearing gloves and long sleeves, as well as wear a face mask and goggles to protect your eyes and throat.
Weed and leaf shoots will die within 24 hours. Please note that the mixture may need to be reapplied a few times to kill remaining growth and root systems.
Please note that you will not need to add water to your mixture if you are using ordinary household vinegar. Using household vinegar does not produce as effective, long-term results, but it is suitable for a temporary solution.
With common annual weeds such as foxtail, lambs quarters, pigweed, and velvetleaf, the 5% vinegar did not produce reliable weed control, but the 20% solution did. Perennial weeds like dandelions are a challenge, as are plants like morning-glory, horsetail, and Canada thistle.
It is easy to burn them down with the solution, but they often return due to a strong root system.
How long does vinegar last in soil?
Depending on how much vinegar gets into the soil will determine the length of time it stays. If you are spraying or painting the homemade solution on plants and some of it goes on the soil, it will last only a few days.
However, if you are trying to eliminate root systems by pouring the homemade solution directly on the soil, it can take more than a month to dissipate.
The solution works in the soil by changing its pH level, making it difficult for plants to grow for a while. Too much salt in the soil will permanently dilute the pH levels, so you may consider diluting or eliminating salt in areas you want to replant.
Will grass grow back after vinegar use?
Neither household nor horticultural vinegar distinguishes among plants. It will kill anything its concentration allows. Grass tends to have very shallow root systems, so it is highly likely that the grass will NOT grow back after the solution has been applied.
If you are trying to get your grass to die, this will help solve your problem. If you are trying only to get rid of weeds around grassy areas, be careful where you apply the solution.
Does vinegar kill weeds to the root?
An application or two of the household vinegar solution should kill your weeds down to the roots. However, it will not kill the root. An application of horticultural vinegar solution may very well kill the root systems in place, as well as the green part of the weed.
Please remember, the acetic acid in vinegar does not discriminate between weed and desired plant, so be careful when applying the solution.
Will apple cider vinegar kill weeds?
When making a homemade solution to be used as an effective weed killer, you may use any type of household or horticultural vinegar available. The common types of household vinegar include white, apple, and rice vinegar.
Each will be just as effective as the other because they all contain the same concentration of acetic acid (5%). Horticultural vinegar has a 20% acetic acid concentration; therefore, it is much stronger – use with caution as described above.