Will Vinegar Kill Milkweed?

It’s a good idea to consider more natural options now that Roundup, the most widely used chemical weed killer in America, is coming under increased attention and Block Island is looking for a way to stop using it.

The distinctive vinegar scent coming from the damp leaves that are decomposing on the ground is one of the defining characteristics of late autumn. Natural carbohydrates are converted to a diluted form of acetic acid (5%) known as vinegar by fermentation and oxidation. Can we exploit this decaying process to our advantage? We can at least try, I suppose.

Given that vinegar is both antibacterial and antifungal, it should come as no surprise that it serves as the main ingredient in many homemade household cleaners. One of the most well-liked homemade weed killers uses it as its main ingredient and also includes salt and dishwashing detergent. One half gallon of white vinegar, one and a half cups of salt, and two tablespoons of dishwashing detergent are typical ingredients in recipes.

The optimum time to use this mixture is on a hot, bright day when the plants may already be stressed. It may take multiple applications to effectively control the weeds. Just use a watering can to spray it over the weeds.

Boiling water is a different, easier way to get rid of weeds. If it weren’t raining right now, I would be turning on the kettle and going outside to try this on some black swallow-wort even though I’ve never done it before.

In fact, I would compare both approaches by putting them to the test simultaneously.

The only safe way to now get rid of this most nasty and tenacious weed, that I am aware of, is to entirely dig it up, thus it is an experiment worth trying. When one considers how this invasive plant has taken over fields and the sides of highways on Block Island, it seems like an impossible endeavor.

Then there is Sisyphus, a character from Greek mythology who was charged with rolling a boulder up a hill only to have it tumble back down again. Over and over. Why? Because it produces thousands of flying seeds that are carried by the wind and appear to be impossible to kill. Black swallow-wort is a type of milkweed.

This is the most crucial time of year to deal with black swallow-wort if you have any in your yard.

Not required to kill the plant, but to stop the seeds from being dispersed. If you can at least clip off the pods as they begin to open, you will be doing yourself and your neighbors downwind a service. Take care when removing the seed pods from the area. Put them in a sealed container with some liquid rather than just throwing them in your compost pile so they will drown and rot.

Foreign plants become invasive because they have no local natural enemies to keep them in check. Since 2005, a biological control for black and pale swallow-wort has been in development; however, it was only recently given the green light for field testing by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In order to identify a biological control, researchers typically return to the region where the plant originated—in this case, Hungary—and then look for a species that exclusively uses that plant as its “host,” usually some kind of bug. Years of study and testing may be necessary to ensure that no native plants will be harmed. According to the theory, when the host plant dies off, so will the insects because of their symbiotic relationship.

The University of Rhode Island played a significant role in the discovery, rearing, and usage of the Hypena opulenta moth, which is the biological control currently being investigated for black swallow-wort. Currently, the moth was released in regulated cages in Charlestown, Rhode Island, and on the island of Naushon in Massachusetts. There is optimism for its success even if the results are not yet in (it is too early to say).

How do I get rid of milkweed for good?

Spraying a ready-to-use herbicide containing glyphosate liberally on the leaves may effectively eradicate common milkweed if it is growing in a garden area without a lawn. Remember that glyphosate can affect butterflies that are feeding on sprayed plants and that it can kill any plant it comes into touch with, including floral plants, shrubs, and grass.

How can I naturally get rid of milkweed?

Unfortunately, there are currently no biological ways to eradicate or manage milkweed. However, this does not imply that there aren’t further organic approaches to handle this obstinate plant. Some of these techniques consist of:

Dig Up The Rhizomes

Rhizomes that grow underground help milkweed spread. Therefore, pull up the rhizomes, taking great care not to sever them, and leave any behind as new plants might regrow from these, to destroy the milkweed organically.

Hand Pulling

By carefully plucking the entire plant—including the roots—and laying it out to dry, milkweed can also be eliminated naturally. To accomplish this, take a firm hold of the plants at the base and slowly and gradually draw them straight up.

Make sure the plant doesn’t have any seed pods before doing this because they could burst and grow more plants. Another safety measure is to cover them with a cheap plastic or cloth tarp if you plan to let them dry in the sun. This will guarantee that any unseen seeds do not return to the soil.

Tillage Of The Soil

Tilling the soil in the region is another efficient and natural technique to get rid of milkweed. The plant’s roots may be destroyed by a deep enough till, which would kill the entire plant.

To eliminate the resilient root systems, a thorough task that is both deep enough and widely displaced must be performed. If survivors sprout again, you might need to go through the procedure again. With no more than two to three tries, you ought to be able to solve the issue.


Applying a layer of mulch over the area for a duration of three to four inches is another organic technique to eradicate milkweed. Milkweed needs sunlight to grow correctly, so if the mulch layer is used to block the sun, the plants would be suffocated and eventually die.

There might be a few that try to break through this layer, but if enough of them do, it won’t be as difficult to get rid of them permanently.

One thing I’d advise is putting a layer of gardener’s fabric or biodegradable flower bed felt underneath the mulch. This practically assures that no weeds will be able to grow above the mulch. I utilize items that are comparable to those offered here on Amazon.

What substance destroys milkweed?

The most popular herbicide used to get rid of milkweed is glyphosate. The best time to apply is after the plant has budded but before it has blossomed. While picloram and other herbicides are also efficient, not all states have permitted their usage.

How is common milkweed destroyed?

Plan to eliminate any milkweed problem areas from your field crop rotation.

and pasture areas, where it is not possible to grow crops that are resistant to glyphosate. This

arduous to control When used properly and at the right time, glyphosate will

The best time to kill roots is when the plant is in full bloom. There

the following papers to review:

How far down do milkweed roots go?

Did you know that the roots of the butterfly milkweed can reach a depth of 12 feet, or roughly the height of an African elephant?

We find it difficult to comprehend the incredible root systems that are developing beneath our feet while we see prairie plants. These roots aid in the downward movement of water into the watershed, where it is cleaned before it reaches our lakes. The plant’s roots also aid in finding enough water during droughts and preserving it during grassland fires when the tops burn. Our native plants are the sturdiest and healthiest selections available thanks to their extensive roots.

Up to three Kourtney Kardashians could perch atop each other in the depths of a compass plant’s roots, which can be found up to 15 feet below the surface.

In a hay field, how do you get rid of milkweed?

It is feasible to use herbicides in the spring, but milkweed needs to grow at least 12 to 15 inches tall to be controlled. For the best control, spring herbicide applications must be followed by regular mowing and a fall herbicide spray.

What month do you plant milkweed?

In order to give the roots time to establish themselves, milkweed plants should be transplanted in the early spring after all frost risk has passed or a few weeks before the first fall frost.

If you wish to cultivate milkweed, you should wait until the first fall hard freeze before sowing the seeds outdoors. Before germinating in the spring, they will naturally undergo a period of cold stratification in the winter.

How many milkweed plants do I need to grow to support the monarchs?

It is uncertain how many milkweed plants are required to draw monarch butterflies as they fly through your yard, so there isn’t a precise solution to this question.

Since each species differs in size, leaf shape, and growth rate—and since monarchs occasionally lay multiple eggs on a single plant—a it’s good idea to grow several plants to ensure you always have a consistent supply of milkweed throughout the season. It’s generally believed that one milkweed plant feeds one monarch caterpillar.

Will milkweed come back every year?

A resilient perennial, milkweed grows every spring and can last down to zone 3. The rootstock is still very much alive and does not require protection, even when the foliage itself withers and the plant falls dormant in the winter.

The exception is tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica), which is typically planted as a frost-sensitive annual in milder areas despite only being hardy to zone 8b and remaining evergreen to zone 9b.

It is advised that gardeners in warm climates prune their tropical milkweed plants in the winter to support the butterflies’ annual trip to Mexico and to avoid parasite infection in monarch butterflies (and not stick around in the southern United States during winter).

How do I eradicate enormous milkweed bugs?

Take the following precautions to avoid eggs on milkweed and bugs from hurting your plants:

In the fall, get rid of the leaves and old stalks. This will stop overwintering locations.

Consider placing various milkweed varieties in various locations throughout your house and garden. In this manner, you will have lots of plants in case pests take over and damage one.

Try the following to get rid of milkweed bugs on your plants:

Since milkweed bugs rarely really kill milkweed, you might want to start by learning to live with the harm the insects are causing to your plant.

Try first spraying them with a burst of water from the garden hose to get rid of any current bugs.

To get rid of the insects, fill a spray bottle with water and a small amount of mild dish soap. Most of the time, soapy water works fairly well.

You might try manually picking the bugs off your milkweed plant if there aren’t many of them there. (You should still attempt to spray the insects with a hose first.)

How is milkweed dug up?

In areas where we are transplanting milkweed, we often add compost. It is advisable to do this before to planting because it is simpler to incorporate into the soil.

3. Exercise Initial!

After transplanting milkweed a few times to develop a feel for it, just like anything else in life, you’ll get better. Start with two plants to test whether you can maintain them alive if you have ten that you plan to move. then carry out the remaining steps.

It’s time to transplant when you notice your returning milkweed plants poking their tiny heads through the ground:

The plant’s increased growth and foliage will only make transplanting more difficult. The plant will adapt to its new surroundings more quickly if spring temperatures are cooler.

If you’ve read any of my earlier blog postings, you know how much I love planting in the fall. In Minnesota, fall planting and transplanting normally take place between mid-September and mid-October. The roots will have plenty of time to adjust before the earth freezes as a result.

When you transplant the milkweed at this time in the season, the foliage should be about burned, and you can chop the plant back to about a foot, which leaves a beautiful marker for where the plant should emerge the next season.

5. Remove the entire tap root by digging deeply

The likelihood that your transplant will be successful increases as you obtain more root system. Although I have successfully removed a small portion of a taproot and had plants recover, the more you can obtain the better.

Before attempting to extract the plant from the earth, dig all the way around it. To prevent cutting the taproot, excavate four to six inches from each side.

We have had good success using a transplanting spade to reach underneath taproots.

6. To increase the number of plants you have, transplant the remaining portion of the rhizome if you don’t acquire the full thing. Candidates should have numerous nodules and be a few inches long. Mary, a member of the community, claims that in her garden in northern California, this strategy has a 95% success rate.

7. Small Start, Big Win

When digging up a plant that is in its first or second year, it is considerably simpler to obtain the full tap root. You’ll have to work more to succeed if your milkweed is more mature.

8. After a transplant, keep the soil moist.

Make sure the soil is kept consistently moist for the following few weeks after transplanting so that the plants may adapt to their new environments and develop strong roots.

After the plant begins to produce new growth, you can begin lightly fertilizing spring transplants.

9. If transplanting mid-season, reduce stalks and leaves to maximize survival rates.

Depending on the size of the plant and the weather, this is a judgment decision. Better to start cutting back straight away if you’re going to. Cutting back is generally a good idea if you’re transplanting a large plant, which is not advised in the middle of the season.

Community member Paula B. says she has had experience using Superthrive to give plants extra nutrients to aid them survive the transition if you want to try a midseason transplant without sacrificing stems and foliage. more details and evaluations here.

Another transplanting option that has also earned excellent reviews is suggested by community member David: Reviews and information on Quickstart Transplanting Solution

Over the previous few seasons, we’ve successfully transplanted milkweed using these guidelines. For more information on transplanting milkweed, flutter through the comments area below.