Carol Klein shows how to remove bindweed from plants
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For almost any gardener, weeds can feel like the bane of existence. They are a blemish on an otherwise perfect lawn or garden, and worse, they’re persistent. The most effective method to keep them at bay is manual weeding, but it’s a time consuming project and a major pain in the neck. While herbicides can be an attractive alternative, allowing you to kill weeds by simply spraying a product from a bottle. Many are opposed to this method as it uses such hardcore chemicals. So is there a way to make an effective weed killer right from home?
Gardening experts at Lawn Love said: “Luckily, there is. With a few basic ingredients you probably have in your kitchen, you can make a homemade weed killer and kill those weeds in no time.
“The most effective homemade option is a mixture of white vinegar, salt, and liquid dish soap. Each of these ingredients has special properties that combine to kill weeds.”
The reason why this method is so effective is because both the salt and the vinegar contain acetic acid, which serves to dry out and kill the plants.
The dish soap, meanwhile, reduces the surface tension in the mixture so that the liquid enters the pores of the leaves rather than remaining harmlessly on the surface.
For a healthy supply of this concoction, the experts suggested mixing a gallon of white vinegar, one cup of salt, and one tablespoon of dish soap.
Make sure it is properly stirred, then put the mixture in a spray bottle for easy use. Gardeners can then stash the bottle in their house for repeated use.
The gardening pros advised: “For the mixture to be truly effective, it is best to wait for a bright, clear afternoon. On a sunny day, the effect of the weed killer should be evident in a few hours.
“You’ll likely notice the leaves of the weeds turning brown. The leaves should get darker and darker before eventually withering away. Spray the weeds from close range, making sure they are entirely soaked.”
However, gardeners should remember that the solution makes no distinction between weeds and desired plants, so they need to be sure to spray it only on what they’ll be happy to see killed.
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One downside of this homemade weed killer is that it does not seep down into the roots of the weeds like some chemical products do.
This means that some tougher weeds might survive the initial onslaught. Gardeners should be prepared to make multiple passes over their garden over the course of a few days to really kill the weeds.
The experts also suggested using lemon juice as a weed killer as it also has acidic qualities that can help kill weeds and if it is mixed with white vinegar it can be “especially potent”.
Like the mixture described above, it will not attack the roots of the plants, but burns the leaves when applied on a sunny day. The withering of the leaves might take a day or two, so be prepared to show a little patience.
For gardeners after an “even simpler method” they can use boiling water to kill weeds, according to the pros.
They explained: “This is especially effective for areas like the cracks in pavement, as you can toss the water on and avoid doing damage to anything fragile nearby.
“What makes this solution so magical is it’s simplicity. There is really nothing more to it than boiling water on the stove and tossing it on the weeds.”
However, it is important to remember that boiling water can of course be dangerous, so exercise extreme caution. Hold the pot far away from you when pouring and avoid wearing sandals in case the water spills or drips.
Killing weeds is a major pain, which is why the best option is to try to minimise their growth in the first place.
Many savvy gardeners treat their soil before weeds appear to stop the problem before it starts. This is something gardeners can also do with natural, homemade solutions, says the experts.
They said: “Corn gluten is a natural product of milling corn, and can be purchased in the form of pellets or powder.
“It doesn’t kill larger plants, but by applying it around your garden you can suppress the future growth of weeds.”
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