Plants always add colour and life to any part of the house. With the 2020 lockdown and more time spent indoors, many people uncovered their green thumbs and became “plant parents”.
While adding plants to your garden/home is a satisfying hobby, it requires hard work and patience to grow, nurture and maintain house plants. Not everyone is naturally blessed with “the green thumb” and one may need to understand a lot more about plant care to succeed as a plant parent.
Most gardeners dread dealing with weeds and pulling them out by hand is time-consuming and repetitive. While it’s easy to use commercially available chemical herbicides, when it comes to personally tending to home gardens, most people don’t prefer using chemicals, due to both environmental and health risks.
In this article, we will give you insights on how there are some non-toxic herbicides that when used effectively can help you control the weeds in your garden.
Table salt - a common household kitchen item we are all very familiar is generally only for taste and otherwise a ‘harmless’ item. However, when used in the garden to kill unwanted plants, salt or sodium chloride is a natural solution that works very well on pesky weeds.
Can salt be used to kill weeds?
Salt is an effective non-toxic herbicide, but do remember that not all salts are created the same way when it comes to weed control. In order for it to work as effective pest control, you need to use a regular iodized or non-iodized table salt. Make sure you check the package to ensure that the ingredients are sodium chloride and it’s not magnesium sulfate, rock salt, or sea salt.
When you use salt as a herbicide, it must be applied very carefully, if not it can kill the surrounding plants or even worse leech into the soil and affect its long-term health.
How to use salt as a herbicide?
Salt, when mixed with water, is an effective herbicide. The recommended strength of saltwater depends on where you plan to apply the herbicide. If you are going to be using it in a garden bed with other plants then you should not start with a strong mixture, and maybe stick to a 1:2 mixture of salt and water.
Alternatively, if you are applying the salt where the long-term health of the soil is not going to get affected then the mixture can be stronger such as 2:1 or 3:1. Saltwater solutions should be applied directly to the foliage of the weed. Avoid soaking the roots in the mixture using a spray bottle instead to flush out the weeds.
Salt vs other Non-Toxic Herbicides
There are a few other ‘non-toxic’ herbicides that are highly effective and popular among home gardeners. Each of them has its own benefits as well as its disadvantages.
One such option here is white vinegar. Although by itself it is ineffective when mixed with salt and water, vinegar controls the weeds well. When added to the salt and water mixture, vinegar must be applied carefully as over time it can affect the pH balance of the soil affecting the growth of future plans.
Boiled water can also be used to some degree of effectiveness. The water will not have any residual effects on the soil. However, as with most other herbicides boiling water needs to be appalled very carefully to the garden so as to not damage the plants you don’t want to kill.
Another method of “non toxic” weed control is fire. Surprised? Well yeah, it's a method most commonly used among gardeners, but again this comes with the warning of careful use so as to not cause any damage at a structural level. Flame weeders can be found at most garden centres or nurseries.
Now that you have a list of safe, home-based options, you can clear out those weeds that have taken up your yard with ease without resorting to bringing harsh chemicals into your home.