9 Cheap and Natural Ways to Kill Weeds

There is nothing worse than an ugly weed wrecking the look of your otherwise beautiful garden. There are a ton of different weed killing products on the market but there are also many unknown cheap and natural ways to rid your garden and/or pathways of weeds. Today, we are going to make it easy for you to find out what they all are. All you need to do is spend a few minutes of your time reading the below list and you will be on your way. Get set, let’s do this!

Stop Weeds From Germinating With Cornmeal or Polenta

Spread some Cornmeal, or Polenta as it is also known, onto your garden bed to top weed seeds from germinating and spreading. Given that Cornmeal will stop any type of seed from germinating it is important not to use this method on a newly established vegetable garden until such a time as all of your plants have established themselves.

Cornmeal to Kill Plant Weeds

Source: Flickr.com

Don’t Give Them Room To Grow With The Use Of Weed Suppressive Ground Covers

Depending on what type of garden area you have, an effective way of stopping weeds from getting the sun and water they need to grow is to use ground covering plants. Professional landscape construction should factor these ground covers into the design however if you completed your own landscaing the good news is we have the answer to the question “what type of ground covering plants are best to use?” The good folk at Cornell University have figured it out already. The plants chosen “have been evaluated under different growing conditions for their ease of establishment, low maintenance characteristics and their ability to exclude weeds.” Here are some of their recommendations:

  • Blue Wood Sedge (Carex flaccosperma)
  • Leadwort (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides)
  • Liriope (Liriope spicata) – pictured below
  • Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis avai)
  • Coral Bells (Heuchera americana) ‘Chocolate Veil’
  • Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii) ‘Walker’s Low’
  • Autumn Goldenrod (Solidago sphacelata) ‘Golden Fleece’
  • Salvia (Salvia nemorosa / S. sylvestris) ‘Blue Hill’
  • Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) ‘The Blues’
  • Northern Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)
  • White Heath Aster (Aster ericoides) ‘Snow Flurry’
  • Two-row Stonecrop (Sedum spurium) ‘John Creech
Cornmeal to Kill Plant Weeds

Scald Them With Boiling Water

It is so simple but it can work a treat. Boil some tap water in a kettle and once ready pour it directly on the crown of your weeds. Larger weeds may take three or four applications in order to stop coming back but this is a low cost and hassle free solution worth giving a try. Just be sure to wear adequate protection clothing so that the scolding hot water doesn’t splash back onto your feet, legs and/or hands. Some people have actually seen this method work better than the vinegar method, give it a shot!

Boiling water on garden weed

It is so simple but it can work a treat. Boil some tap water in a kettle and once ready pour it directly on the crown of your weeds. Larger weeds may take three or four applications in order to stop coming back but this is a low cost and hassle free solution worth giving a try. Just be sure to wear adequate protection clothing so that the scolding hot water doesn’t splash back onto your feet, legs and/or hands. Some people have actually seen this method work better than the vinegar method, give it a shot!

Starve Them Of Light And Nutrients By Spreading Mulch

Weeds need light and a warm soil bed to thrive. Mulch can be used to prevent weeds as they don’t have enough power to push all the way through the mulch/ If you have existing weeds be sure to remove them before applying mulch. Once it comes time to apply, spread a 3 inch thick layer of mulch to the areas needed to prevent weed seeds from germinating. 3 inches is usually enough to keep weed roots from sprouting. Mulch doesn’t just assist with weed growth, it prevents the soil from drying out and can reduce watering requirements by about 50%.

Garden Mulch

By Apostoloff (Own work) [GPL], via Wikimedia Commons

Apply Vinegar To Drain Them Of Moisture

Is there anything vinegar can’t do! Add ‘kill weeds’ to the impressive list of uses for household vinegar. Vinegar is cheap, readily available at your local supermarket and is all natural. Sounds like the perfect product for killing weeds but there are a few things you need to keep in mind. The main active ingredient in vinegar is acetic acid, usually around 5%. The ingredient comes via the fermentation process when it is derived from grain or apples.

Acetic acid is a terrific weed killer but it is also a terrific plant killer! Acetic acid works by drawing all of the moisture out of the weed or plant leaf. It is quick to work and it would be common to see a weed or plant brown up after only a few hours of having vinegar applied to its leaves in the full sun. Just be careful though, vinegar may kill any weed or plant it touches. Spray it carefully on weeds only (ensuring none hits your plants) with a spray bottle or pump sprayer when there is no wind.

Garden Mulch

Image Source: Coles