Want to try your hand making homemade weed killers? Of course, weed killers are effective against weeds, but there are reasons to try to avoid the strong stuff if you can. The wellbeing of bees, hedgehogs, and aquatic life is affected by the use of herbicides, and you may wish to try a natural remedy for weeds before resorting to commercial strength products.
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1. Pull weeds out
If you have a small to medium-sized garden, you may well be able to get on top of the weeds by simply pulling them up with your hands. Removing the root is the most effective way to get rid of weeks, so you'll want to pull carefully at the base of the plant to make sure you pull it out completely. If pulling nettles, use protective gloves.
There are lots of tools designed to help you get rid of weeds, especially in lawns. We rate the Fiskars Solid Weed Puller.
Fiskars Solid Weed Puller Was £34.99, now £26.19 on Robert Dyas
Designed to remove any weeds effortlessly, this sturdy weed puller works by using stainless steel claws to grab the weed. And the long handle makes weeding easy for anyone who has trouble kneeling or bending.
2. Use boiling water
Many weeds are easy to kill by pouring boiling water from a kettle over the base of the plant. Just take care not to pour it over plants you do want to keep as it will kill them too.
3. Homemade weed killer with salt and vinegar
Mix equal parts salt, vinegar, and washing-up liquid in a spray bottle and spray the solution liberally over the weeds, until they are soaking wet. Always use this method when the weather is dry, or it won't work. A sunny day is even better as this accelerates the process.
4. Homemade weed killer made with Castille soap
Castille soap is a wonder product all around the house – it can even be used to wash vegetables and fruit. It's gentle on your plants, but tough on weeds. Mix it in equal parts with water and spray all over your weed, preferably when the sun is out.
5. Use bicarbonate of soda
Did you know you can discourage weeds by sprinkling baking soda – aka bicarbonate of soda – into the cracks between your paving? While you're out there, try using it to clean your BBQ and bins.
6. Use lemon
Cut a lemon in half and squeeze over the weeds. It's a simple as that: the citric acid will likely kill your weed within a couple of days, especially when combined with strong sun. No need to dilute.
Alternatively, get some citric acid in powder form, mix with water and spray on with a spray bottle.
7. Let your grass regrow a bit
This may sound counterintuitive, but taller grass is better able to cope with weeds. So, next time you get your lawn mower out, set it a bit higher to allow your grass to deal with weeds without you needing to do anything.
8. Mulch your bedding plants
Mulch is an excellent way to combat weeds. Use bark chips or pine needles to keep the weeds down. Sprinkle generously around the roots of your plants.
9. Let some weeds be
Some weeds, like bindweed, can become a serious problem in your garden, choking out everything else. However, not all weeds behave this way, and many are actually highly beneficial plants for pollinators, notably clover and dandelions. If they're just scattered around your lawn or garden here and there, you may find it easier to just let them be.
10. Use salt
Salt is an ingredient in one of our other homemade weed killers above, but it can be just as effective on its own. Sprinkle liberally all over the offending plant. By the way, salt is also a good remedy for slugs, so you could be killing two birds with one stone.