How to Naturally Control Weeds

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The following is the fifth in a series of guest posts about gardening from Rene at Budget Saving Mom.

Everyone wants a garden without weeds. Rather than using poison, there are many methods that can work to control your weeds more naturally.

Manually Remove Your Weeds

This is a rather obvious way to remove weeds. You can just pull them up. It is easiest to pull up weeds after a good rain.

When you are pulling weeds, you will want to make sure to pull the weeds up including the roots. If the weeds are difficult to remove, you can hoe the leaves.

We also use our tractor and till up the areas between the rows of our garden to help remove the weeds before we cover the pathways to prevent further weeds from growing.

After you pull up weeds, you will want to change your gloves and wash your hands away from the garden to make sure that you remove any seeds from your garden.

You also want to remove the weeds from the garden so that the seeds won’t continue to spread.

Use Vinegar

Vinegar is a really incredible herbicide. It is not specific to any weed, so you have to be careful when you use them that you only get the vinegar onto the weeds.

Normal household vinegar is a 5% concentration. However, you can buy horticultural vinegar that is 20% concentrate.

Vinegar can be applied to the leaves of a plant. It works best on sunny days.

You will need to use it on a day when it is not going to rain so that the vinegar won’t wash off.

The vinegar will actually kill the weed down to the roots. If you are trying to kill weeds that are close to your plants, you can paint the vinegar onto the leaves to ensure that you only kill the weed.

garden weed control

Boiling Water

Boiling water can also be used to kill weeds. You just boil some water, and carefully pour it onto the weed to kill it.

Using Barriers in Pathways

We also use barriers to keep weeds out of our garden.

In the pathways, we have used numerous types of barriers throughout the years. Basically we use what we have on hand.

When we have old carpet, we use that.

This year we had to re-roof our house, and have used the shingles in the pathways to prevent weeds.

We also use newspapers, cardboard boxes, weed control fabric, and gravel. You can really use anything that will block out light to prevent the weeds from growing.

Using Barriers in Your Garden Rows

When using barriers around plants, I try to be a little more careful about what I use.

We have used newspapers to lay around our plants before. When you are using newspaper, you want to make sure that you only use pages that are black and white. Colored ads have chemicals that you don’t want to add to your garden.

If you have a smaller garden, you can also mulch around your plants. You just want to make sure that there are 3-4 inches of mulch to ensure that the weeds will be controlled.

Although this is not quite as natural, you can even use garden fabric, and just cut out areas where each of your plants can grow through. The weeds will then be prevented by the weed fabric.

What are your tips for naturally controlling weeds?


  1. says

    I usually take grass clipping and put them around our plants in the garden, it works great! Unfortunately this year our lawn tractor with the grass catcher is broken so while we are saving for a new motor I’m stuck with the manual method :( I do newspaper under the clipping in the flower bed part, but I like the idea of doing this in other areas of the garden!

    I have bookmarked this page! I love the idea of the vinegar, I’ve got some weeds on our driveway. Thanks!

    I’d love if you’d add this to my Tuesday’s Tips too!
    .-= Lori @ Couponomic Stimulus Package´s last blog ..Fear in Uncertain Times =-.

  2. Brandi says

    Great tips!! I have heard about using vinegar–just haven’t tried it yet. I want my hubby to stop using the chemical stuff!!!!

  3. Bethany Goff says

    I just wanted to mention one thing — it may not be safe to use roofing shingles to line your garden pathway. Roofing shingles may contain asbestos (if they are old enough), and are made with fiberglass and chemicals to treat it for fire resistance. I don’t think you would want anything like that to leach into your soil that the vegetables you are going to eat are growing in. It might be good to do some research before trying it.

  4. says

    Wow, you can use vinegar for just about anything. Is there anything you can’t do with it?

    I pull all our weeds by hand. I think I’m going to try the newspaper mulch idea and I have a few stubborn weeds that I will douse with vinegar. I think that would work great for the ones that grow in between cracks in the concrete.

  5. James says

    i have not hear half of these ways to remove/ kill weeds. i like the vinegar approach i think i will try that this weekend.

  6. says

    I tried using vinegar and it didn’t work. It was just the plain old white vinegar. Is there a specific kind that works? Thanks.

  7. franki says

    1st time I heard of someone else using carpet as weed barrier!
    My husband thought I was nuts cutting up our white berber carpet (what was former owner thinking – white carpet??)
    Figured white might be bleached but not dyed so hoping doesn’t leach anything toxic. And bereber is natural. It works so well, and doesn’t get moldy/stinky even when I’ve moved it after 2 years.
    It isn’t good on hillsides tho – even dangerous. I put a piece behind a big bush and covered with bark. It slides REAL easy – almost ended up at the bottom in a heap – not good with garden tools/shears in my hands.
    Wish we had a chipper so I didn’t need to buy bark.
    I put down newspaper between veg plants this year then covered part with bark. Veg/tomato plants don’t seem to like redwood bark.

  8. says

    I was amazed to learn that you could use vinegar to kill weeds with. I really had no idea. I learned a lot while reading your article. Thanks so much.

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