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How to kill weeds: ‘Cheap and natural’ method eliminates them without chemicals or vinegar

Five ‘cheap and natural’ ways to kill weeds

1. Apply cornmeal or poltena to prevent germination

Cornmeal, also called polenta, is an unexpected kitchen cupboard item that can be applied to your garden bed to top weed seeds from germinating and spreading, according to Sand & Stone Landscapes, an Australian-based landscaping company. 

However, it warns that this method will stop all types of seeds from germinating, so this option cannot be used on a new vegetable garden. Rather, you must wait for all plants to have established themselves to apply the cornmeal.

2. Use weed suppressive ground covers

Some gardens can use ground covering plants to prevent weeds from getting the light and water it needs to grow, Sand & Stone Landscapes says.

The following plants selected by agriculture experts at Cornell University are low maintenance options to consider: 

  • Blue Wood Sedge (Carex flaccosperma)
  • Leadwort (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides)
  • Liriope (Liriope spicata) 
  • Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis avai)
  • Coral Bells (Heuchera americana) ‘Chocolate Veil’
  • Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii) ‘Walker’s Low’
  • Autumn Goldenrod (Solidago sphacelata) ‘Golden Fleece’
  • Salvia (Salvia nemorosa / S. sylvestris) ‘Blue Hill’
  • Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) ‘The Blues’
  • Northern Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)
  • White Heath Aster (Aster ericoides) ‘Snow Flurry’
  • Two-row Stonecrop (Sedum spurium) ‘John Creech’

3. Scald with boiling water

This “low cost and hassle free” method couldn’t be an easier – all you need is to boil some tap water in a kettle. Once ready, pour it directly on the crowns of your weeds, the lanscapers say, advising that larger weeds may need three-four rounds.

Garden experts advise for all methods, but especially this one as well as applying DIY or store-bought killers, to wear longs and longs, close-toed shoes and gloves to prevent injuring yourself.

4. Apply mulch to prevent access to light and nutrients

Mulch will restrict weeds from getting the access it needs to light and warm soil to thrive, therefore stopping it in its tracks. However, when using this method, existing weeds must be removed before applying mulch.

The landscapers recommend adding a 3-inch layer of mulch to required areas of your garden to prevent seeds from germinating and sprouting. This will also prevent soil from dying out, which can reduce watering by up to 50 percent, they claim.

5. Newspaper method to smother existing and new growth

This method is a way to remove exisiting weeds and prevent them from sprouting by blocking essential sunlight.

To do this, you must moisten the soil before applying a thick layer of newspaper. You can apply a thick layer of mulch on top of the paper to hide it. Experts warn you may spot earth warms crawling around.

6. Carefully apply to salt to weeds

This method requires careful precision, however, it is supremely effective.

This is because a mere pinch of table salt applied to the base of weeds will kill them.

It is critical to proceed with caution especially since rain water may spread it to undesired areas. Additionally, this is not the best option for those applying near paved roads as it can cause damage.

7. Pull out manually

This traditional method can be tiring but also cathardic. It requires getting gloves and a garden claw or sharp tool to dig deep and yank out at its root to prevent from growing back.


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