One of the most prevalent liquids in kitchens, vinegar seems to have unlimited applications. A fast internet search will turn up thousands of uses for vinegar. People use vinegar for almost everything, from hair care to all-purpose cleaning, from medicine to disinfection. Therefore, it is not surprising that individuals are utilizing vinegar as a non-toxic substitute for conventional herbicides in their lawns and gardens. Household vinegar, which comes from the fermentation of alcohol, is non-toxic to humans, animals, and the environment. Where organic certification criteria are followed, it is very helpful.
Vinegar as a Natural Herbicide
While vinegar has been used as a herbicide for a very long time, the scientific evidence supporting vinegar’s effectiveness as a weed-killer has just recently come to light. Scientists from the Agricultural Research Service tested vinegar on some of the most prevalent weeds in 2002. They discovered that the weeds were eliminated within their first two weeks of life when vinegar was applied at average household strength concentrations (about 5 percent). Vinegar produced an 85 to 100% mortality rate at all growth stages at stronger doses (about 20%). Be cautious that solutions more than 11 percent can cause skin burns and should only be administered with proper clothes. Solutions higher than 5 percent vinegar should be handled carefully.
How to Use Vinegar as a Weed-Killer
Any form of vinegar will kill weeds, though white vinegar is typically the least expensive. Fill a spray bottle or pump sprayer with undiluted vinegar and use it liberally on large weed patches. For areas like driveways, sidewalks, and other places where no vegetation is wanted, this spraying technique works well. Due to vinegar’s non-selective nature, it may harm any plant it comes into touch with, including grass and other desired plants like garden flowers. Use a paint brush to spot-spray weeds on your yard. Use an old brush to “paint the vinegar on the leaves and stems” of the weed you want to get rid of.
Other Tips for Using Vinegar
Vine works best on small, annual weeds with weak root systems, according to gardeners. It can take a few treatments to completely kill larger, perennial weeds. Apply on a sunny day with no breeze for optimal results. You will need to reapply if it rains within a day or two of your initial application. Although vinegar is an acid, it decomposes swiftly in the soil and is unlikely to have an impact on the pH values of the soil. Some gardeners think that increasing the amount of liquid dishwashing detergent in a gallon of vinegar will boost the vinegar’s ability to destroy weeds.
What happens if vinegar is sprayed on grass?
When vinegar is spilled on mature grass, the grass blades may burn and leave an ugly bald spot. Vinegar should be immediately removed with water. The greater your chance of protecting the grass is, the faster you can complete this. The likelihood that the vinegar may burn the grass blades decreases the more you dilute it. Do not be alarmed if grass blades burn or wilt. In seven to ten days, the grass blades will regrow.
In conclusion, unless the grass is less than two weeks old, home vinegar does not destroy it. The grass blades may burn and wilt away if the roots become established. The roots won’t suffer any damage, though, and will continue to sprout more grass. Vinegar spills can be cleaned up by pouring water over the affected surface to dilute the vinegar. Even if you lose the grass blades due to a spill, new ones will quickly emerge to take their place.
About Tom Greene
Since I can remember, I’ve had a particular interest in lawn maintenance. I used to be known by friends as the “lawn mower expert” (thus the name of the website), although I’m anything but. Simply put, I like being outside and mowing my lawn. I also enjoy the well-earned coffee and donuts that come afterwards!
After vinegar, will grass grow back?
Broadleaf weeds are more easily controlled by regular kitchen vinegar than grass and grassy weeds. Although the grass may at first go to seed, it frequently grows back fast. If you wanted to kill grass with vinegar, you would need to keep spraying the grassy plant or clump every time it grew back until it was gone. Acetic acid is more effective at eradicating established perennial weeds and may also be more effective on grass.
However, you might want to give a commercial treatment that combines vinegar with extra herbicidal components a shot. Clove oil and thyme oil are two examples of plant-based herbicides that are occasionally used with vinegar in commercial weedkillers. The effectiveness of the goods may be increased by the addition of a substance that makes the herbicide adhere to plant leaves.
Will vinegar truly kill grass forever?
Apply a liberal amount of salt-and-vinegar weed killer just to the weeds’ leaves. Due to the saturation of the soil, neither weeds nor anything else will be able to grow there as the addition of acid and salt to the soil around the plants would kill the nutrients necessary for plant life. Consider hand weeding or hiring a professional if you find yourself continually spraying the same patch of a garden.
Use a spray bottle with an adjustable nozzle that sprays a steady stream instead of a mist.
Since vinegar and salt are nonselective desiccants, they are unable to determine which plants should be killed or preserved. Concrete and various metals can both become discolored or eroded by this solution. Applying vinegar as a weed killer is best done with a spray bottle set to a stream rather than a broad spray so that the solution lands exactly where you want it to. Many bottles have a nozzle that can be adjusted to sharpen the stream, making it simpler to spray leaves (rather than dirt) or squeeze between pavers. To avoid the solution blowing in the wrong direction, schedule the application for a day when there won’t be any wind.
Always spray your weeds on a sunny day; any rain will flush out the solution, and you will have to reapply the solution to the weed growth.
The acid’s potency will be increased by the sun and heat, and the salt’s dehydrating effects will be amplified. It will work more quickly if you apply this weed killer early on a day that is expected to be warm and sunny. While many commercial weed killers make the claim that they will remain on weeds even in the presence of rain, a vinegar-and-salt solution lacks the additional chemicals and will be washed away by rain. Therefore, if a surprise shower occurs, prepare to reapply the solution after it rains.
The vinegar-and-salt solution likely won’t prevent weeds from growing as it doesn’t reach the weed’s roots.
Although vinegar alone is not a permanent cure for all weed regeneration, vinegar works better when combined with salt to inhibit weed regrowth. Regrowth may eventually happen even with the salt applied because the foliage will probably perish before the root system dries out completely. Even with commercial weed killers, the soil is full with weed seeds that can only be completely eliminated by soaking the soil in the solution, which damages the soil’s ability to support future growth. If weeds are destroying your garden and this do-it-yourself solution isn’t working, a professional will be able to solve the problem and help you keep your garden looking lovely.
It’s best to leave some tasks to the experts. Get a free, no-obligation estimate from local, certified lawn service companies.
Do weeds get killed by vinegar but not grass?
I abhor weeds. You do not? There are many different weed killers to pick from if you visit the gardening section of your neighborhood nursery or large box retailer. But what if there was a natural way to get rid of weeds without needing to buy one of those pricey weed killers? Did you realize that your cabinets likely contain a perfectly fine weed killer? Vinegar, that is! Yes, it is true that vinegar kills weeds, particularly when used in conjunction with dish soap.
You only need a spray bottle, dish soap, and vinegar to make your own weed killer. The vinegar’s acetic acid “sucks out the water from the weed, drying it out.” The vinegar works best when the cuticle, the plant’s outer covering, is broken down by the dish soap. See how to spot weeds in your garden below.
I have to say that I am quite pleased with the outcomes. The recipe for manufacturing your own vinegar/soap weed killer is as follows:
DIY Weed Killer Recipe
- 1 gallon of 5% acetic acid vinegar
- Dish soap, 1 ounce
- bottle of plastic spray.
Spray the mixture onto weeds after combining the vinegar and soap in a spray bottle.
Here are some recommendations before using this weed killer in your garden:
- Because vinegar/soap weed killer is non-selective, it will also harm or destroy your prized plants. So use caution when spraying weeds.
- Apply on a wind-free, sunny day. The sun aids in the vinegar’s ability to dry the weed. Additionally, you should wait for a windless day to avoid accidentally spraying other plants with your spray.
- The root of the weed may or may not be killed by your vinegar weed killer. If green growth begins to appear thereafter, you might need to reapply it. You can also spray some weed killer over the root zone to completely eliminate huge weeds.
- Not all weed varieties will be eliminated with the vinegar/soap weed killer. Try it out in your garden to see what kinds of weeds it kills.
So the next time you need to get rid of weeds, just go to your pantry and get some vinegar and soap to manufacture your own weed killer. It’s organic, efficient, and affordable! Seek out more strategies for weed control.
Can vinegar compete with Roundup?
Rain produces grain. is a proverb that has been around for years that you might hear whenever two or more farmers are together and a midsummer shower appears. Although that proverb may be accurate, it’s also a fact that rain causes weeds.
Due to this year’s record-breaking rains, the landscape is full of highly robust, quickly spreading weeds. Homeowners are calling in to ask for “safe” ways to control those weeds as well. Vinegar is one product that is usually recommended for weed control in landscaping. A simple inquiry about vinegar frequently leads to a discussion on pesticides, toxins, the legality of its use, and what exactly “safer” implies.
Let’s start by stating that vinegar does, in fact, have some weed-controlling capabilities. In Ohio, there are currently three vinegar products with labels. The fact that they are labeled indicates that using them to manage pests is allowed, but only one of the three in Ohio is classified as a herbicide. Common household vinegar is neither “labeled” nor “authorized for use as a herbicide in Ohio,” which may be difficult for some people to comprehend.
In any case, when we see what happens to weeds when vinegar is applied, we see that the acetic acid in the vinegar “burns” through the wax coating on the surface of the leaves and kills those leaves. Annual weeds like foxtail, crabgrass, and ragweed may only require one application of the specified 20% acetic acid vinegar to eradicate them if they are little at the time of application. In contrast, household vinegar contains only 5% acetic acid. It can require more than one application if the annuals get larger before the treatment. It should be noted that when vinegar is sprayed on perpetual weeds like ground ivy, the leaves may burn and the plant will probably develop new leaves. Although vinegar can ‘manage’ perennial weeds, it seldom kills them.
We have already discussed vinegar’s acetic “acid” and the plants it “kills” in previous discussions. It’s vital to note that a product certainly has harmful effects if it kills a plant—in this example, what some would term a “natural” herbicide like vinegar! So, is it safe, or can it be “safer” than a commercial herbicide made from synthetic materials? I’ll let you make that decision as we go.
We must comprehend toxicity while we reflect on that query. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) undertakes research to ascertain the toxicity, or Lethal Dosage (LD50) Values, of all pesticides and many other goods we frequently use, including what many people prefer to refer to as “natural” things like vinegar. The benchmark test for acute toxicity used to compare all the evaluated goods is called an LD50. The LD50 is expressed as the individual dose necessary to kill 50% of a population of test animals and is expressed in milligrams (mg) of pesticide per kilogram (kg) of body weight (e.g., rats, fish, mice, cockroaches).
Most people who inquire about using vinegar as a herbicide want to know how it compares to glyphosate, which is frequently marketed under the trade name Roundup. EPA tested glyphosate, just like it does with all pesticides, and assigned it an LD50 value. Similarly, the EPA tested and assigned an LD50 to acetic acid, which is exactly the same as the acid found in vinegar. The LD50 values for glyphosate and acetic acid, respectively, were 5600 and 3310 when rats were the test subjects.
An LD50 figure tells us how much of an individual dose is needed to kill 50% of the test population, and the lower the number, the more deadly the substance is. In a lab test, acetic acid killed rats more quickly than glyphosate did when administered orally in identical amounts. Even common vinegar was more hazardous than Roundup due of its acetic acid content.
Going one step further, it is irrelevant to compare application rates in this situation. Most annual weeds indicated on the label can be killed with a 1% solution of glyphosate, as can most perennial weeds. The annual weeds we find in the landscape may require more than one application of a 20% acetic acid product in order to completely eradicate them.
This discussion does not imply that vinegar is a bad herbicide. The goal is to raise awareness that a substance is toxic whether it is considered “natural” or synthetically produced, as long as it has the power to kill plants or insects. Each poison should be handled carefully, used for the intended purpose specified on the label, and applied at the rate deemed to be acceptable. Both organic and synthetic herbicides can be secure and efficient when handled appropriately.
How can you effectively prevent weeds from growing?
Weeds are not completely eliminated by vinegar. If you use a mixture to cure weeds that also contains vinegar, the damage will only last a short while. This is so that the acetic acid in vinegar, which otherwise burns weeds’ leaves, is offset by the soil. This implies that the weeds’ roots won’t be affected. You could think you’ve successfully destroyed weeds by damaging their leaves, but the weeds will eventually grow back from the roots.
- Vinegar doesn’t kill the roots; it only harms the leaves’ stems and leaves’ leaves.
- The likelihood of a weed returning after being sprayed with a solution containing horticultural vinegar is very high.
- To permanently inhibit weed growth, hand pluck them or apply a potent herbicide.
Weeds need to be pulled up by the roots or treated with a systemic herbicide if you want to kill them permanently. A weed can’t re-grow if the roots are pulled out. Systemic pesticides damage plants at the root by entering them. These two alternatives are both far more efficient than the homemade weed killer prepared with white vinegar.