Weed killer: Seven natural and chemical-free weed killers you can make at home

Gardening: Matt James shares his tips for removing weeds

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Weeds generally come in three varieties: annual, biennial and perennial. Annual weeds germinate and spread by seed with an average lifespan of one year, which includes both winter and summer varieties. Biennial weeds complete their life cycle in two years, germinating and forming rosettes in the first year and producing flowers and seeds in the second. Perennial varieties of weeds return every year and normally produce long, tap roots in addition to seeds. These weeds, which include common varieties like dandelions, are the most difficult to control.

Seven natural and chemical-free weed killers

Salt

Salt has long been used as a herbicide and it makes a very effective weed barrier along lawn edgings.

But don’t use it straight onto the lawn as it can be absorbed into your soil and prevent future growth.

For best results, mix three parts salt with one part water, resting for 10 minutes to ensure the salt has dissolved.

Then, just spray the weeds you want to get rid of with the salt mixture.

Baking soda

Baking soda yields similar results to salt and it is great on pesky weeds – especially those growing on patios or driveways.

However, just as with salt, avoid using it directly on the grass.

All you need is one teaspoon per weed to coat the tire plant, paying particular attention to hit the stem.

Mulch

Weeds need light and warm soil to survive, so layering mulch with newspapers or cardboard to block their access to sunlight is a great way to kill weeds.

This method can also help stop future weeds cropping in the next year and beyond.

Boiling water

This method is quite literally as easy as boiling the kettle and pouring.

Simply spill boiling water over weeds for instant results, taking care to aim as close as possible as boiling water can destroy nearby plants.

If you want to render the scalding hot water even more effective, add a tablespoon of salt.

Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol works by sucking the water out of a weed, and if this is what you’re after then this method is for you.

However, like vinegar, it’s non-selective meaning it will kill anything green nearby so aim well.

Mix two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol with one litre of water then use a spray bottle to disperse.

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Vinegar

One certain way to get rid of weeds is by using vinegar, a substance that basically kills everything it touches.

Vinegar is most effective on smaller weeds rather than deep-rooted plants, but beware as it can alter the PH balance of your soil.

This means things may not grow in that particular spot in the future, so if it’s a garden area you like then avoid this method.

To be extra safe, spray vinegar on gravel driveways or block paving instead.

Cornmeal

Cornmeal is more of a preventative measure rather than killing weeds.

The gluten found in cornmeal acts as a natural herbicide that, when scattered over grass, stops seeds like dandelions and crabgrass from fully forming into a plant.

This method is best used if you’ve managed to catch the weeds early on in their life span.

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