3 Homemade Weed Killer Recipes and Must-Know Tips

The Advantages of Homemade Weed Killers

They’re safer for the environment. Commercial weed killers can spread into the surrounding environment and local waterways, affecting the health of wildlife like trout, bluegills, and amphibians. However, when properly applied, homemade weed killers don’t pose these same risks.

They don’t harm pollinators. Glyphosate products have been linked to the decline in bee populations, but homemade weed killers are much safer for pollinators.

They’re easy to use. Homemade weed killers are easy to make and simple to apply. Some recipes don’t require any special equipment at all, while other recipes can be applied with a basic garden sprayer.

They’re budget-friendly. Since homemade weed killers are often made with items you already have in your home, many of these recipes are inexpensive (or even free).

Recipes for Making Homemade Weed Killer

Unlike some other homemade herbicides, these three treatments use ingredients that are proven to kill weeds, and they’re easy to use.

Recipe 1: Horticultural Vinegar

Many homemade weed killer recipes employ standard household vinegars, but household vinegars have low acidity levels (around 5%) and aren’t very effective for managing weeds. If you want to bust through dandelions, clover, and poison ivy, look for horticultural vinegar, which has a higher concentration of weed-killing acetic acid. Horticultural vinegar with 20% to 30% acidity levels can tackle an assortment of weeds with ease, but you need to use proper safety gear when applying it, as horticultural vinegar sprays can cause skin and eye damage.

What you need: – Horticultural vinegar (20% to 30% acidity) – Water – Dish soap – Garden sprayer – Protective eyewear, gloves, and clothing

How to apply: 1.  Prepare the weed killer Put on proper safety equipment, including gloves and eyewear, and then pour 4 parts horticultural vinegar and 1 part water into a gallon sprayer. Go slow to prevent splashes and spills. Then, pour a tablespoon or two of dish soap into the mixture, which causes the vinegar to adhere better to the weeds you want to remove. Stir the mixture to combine. 2.  Apply at the right time. The best time to apply weed killer is in hot, dry weather and when rain isn’t expected for several days. While horticultural vinegar starts working on weeds immediately, it won’t be as effective if rain washes the herbicide away. Also, avoid using horticultural vinegar sprays on windy days, as this increases the likelihood that the spray will drift onto other plants in your garden.

3.  Saturate the weeds. When you’re ready to apply the horticultural vinegar spray, place the garden sprayer nozzle near the plants you want to remove to prevent overspray, and then start applying. Work slowly and move around the entire patch of weeds, carefully saturating the leaves with the spray. Keep in mind that horticultural vinegar is a generalized herbicide that will kill any plant it comes in contact with, so be careful not to spray non-target plants. 4. Repeat (if needed). Horticultural vinegar is effective on young weeds and weeds with shallow root systems, and it works well on broad-leafed weeds. However, you may need to reapply the vinegar spray on larger or well-established weeds several times to weaken the weeds’ roots and prevent them from regrowing. If you notice green sections on the weeds after spraying them, reapply horticultural vinegar at 2-week intervals until the weeds stop regrowing.

Recipe 2: Corn Gluten Meal Corn gluten meal is a byproduct of the corn milling process, and it’s sometimes used in livestock feed. However, corn gluten meal is also an organic, pre-emergent herbicide that can make short work of troublesome crabgrass and other weeds in lawns and gardens. As a pre-emergent herbicide, corn gluten meal doesn’t work on established weeds, but it prevents new weed seeds from developing roots and spreading in your garden. What you need: – Corn gluten meal – Lawn spreader – Water

How to apply: 1.  Time the application correctly. Timing is critical when using corn gluten meal as it needs to be applied before weeds germinate. If you apply this product too late in the season, it won’t suppress weeds, and the nitrogen it contains can encourage weed growth. The best time to apply corn gluten meal is generally in late March to mid-April, before seeds start to sprout. Wait for dry weather when rain is not expected for a few days.

2.  Apply corn gluten meal. To apply, scatter corn gluten meal by hand or use a broadcast spreader. You’ll need to use about 20 pounds of corn gluten meal for every 1000 square feet of gardening space.

3.  Add water. Next, lightly water the corn gluten into your garden or lawn. Then keep the product dry for at least two to three days so it can start working on your weeds. 4.  Repeat (if needed). Corn gluten meal won’t kill all the weeds at once, but it has a cumulative effect and can be effective with multiple applications. If your garden has lots of weeds, you may want to apply corn gluten meal on a monthly basis or repeat the treatment once more at summer’s end.

Recipe 3: Boiling Water Using the most budget-friendly herbicide around, boiling water,8 to tackle weeds requires no special equipment or chemicals. The heat from the water damages weed leaves and prevents them from regrowing. This treatment is most effective on young and tender-stemmed weeds, but with repeated applications, you can weaken the root systems of established weeds and keep them from returning. What you need: – Your stove – A large pot – Water

How to apply: 1.  Heat the water. First, heat water to a rolling boil on your stove. Using a large pot can help you tackle more weeds at once, but don’t use a pot that’s so large that it’s unwieldy to carry outdoors. 2.  Drench the weeds. When you are ready, pour the boiling water over the weeds you want to remove, but be careful not to soak any non-target plants. Boiling water can kill any plant it comes in contact with, so it’s particularly well-suited for use on walkways where other plants aren’t growing. 3.  Repeat (if needed). A single treatment kills small weeds. However, large weeds may need to be weakened over time by reapplying boiling water at 2-week intervals until the weeds stop regrowing.

Follow us on Social Media