‘You can’t go wrong’: ‘Effective’ and ‘eco-friendly’ weed killers you can make at home

How to remove weeds and moss from lawns

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Weeds can be a nuisance for gardeners, springing up throughout the year and impacting everywhere from your footpath to your lawn. Although there are targeted weed killers available to buy, experts urge gardeners to try non-chemical options instead.

Jamie Shipley, managing director at Hedges Direct told Express.co.uk: “Many gardeners are opting to protect the environment and biodiversity from the harmful chemicals found in some weed-killing products.

“By using an organic weed killer, you can preserve the complex ecosystem which makes up your garden and improve the nutrition levels and structure of your soil, all of which will benefit your garden and plants in the long run.”

Chemical weed killers not only risk damaging your soil but can also impact surrounding plants and foliage, as well as visiting wildlife.

However, there are some “natural alternatives” which can not only tackle weeds but also tend to be a lot easier on your bank account.

Tom Hilton, an indoor gardening specialist at National Greenhouse, told Express.co.uk: “You can’t go wrong with classic weed-killing recipes, such as combining white vinegar, dish soap and salt into a spray bottle.

“While traditional chemical-based options are most likely going to be more effective, you also risk damaging soil or even the plants around your target.”

Salt works to disrupt the water balance, eventually leading the weed to wilt and die.

The acetic acid in vinegar “sucks out the water” which in turn dries up the weed.

Along with salt and vinegar, Mr Shipley also notes lemon can be used to kill weeds due to the high citric acid content.

The acidity of lemons erodes the waxy coating on the outside of the plant, which dries it out and kills it.

However, these methods might be “quick fixes” rather than long-term solutions.

Mr Hilton explained: “Vinegar-based recipes are great for killing off foliage, but unfortunately, they leave the roots mostly intact, resulting in having to break out the spray bottle more often or resorting to a good old trowel.”

In some cases, homemade solutions may be better tailored to weeds sprouting in paved areas, rather than on your lawn and flowerbeds.

Mr Shipley said: “The problem is these products tend to be ‘non-targeted’ meaning they have the potential to harm all plants, not just weeds.

“I recommend only using these in the paved areas of your garden to protect other plants.”

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If you do plant on testing homemade killers on your lawn, Mr Hilton says it is “vital” to spray as close to the ground as possible.

He explained: “Be sure you get good coverage and allow the product to penetrate the roots of any potential weeds.

“This advice is ideal for getting rid of weeds on driveways and paths, making sure all gaps in the concrete are covered as even the smallest patch of uncovered dirt can allow them to propagate.”

The experts recommend using weed killer on a dry day. This will ensure any impending rainfall doesn’t cause the product to wash away or transfer onto unintended surfaces.

Mr Hilton added: “After application, leave the area for a week or two and allow the roots of the weed to completely die off before removal, as agitating the soil before this point can lead to even more growth.”

Though organic weedkillers are sometimes a better alternative to chemicals, ultimately “the best way to deal with weeds is to prevent them”.

Mr Shipley said: “It’s good to put preventative measures in place in later winter or early spring before the seedlings have a chance to grow.

“Hedges Direct’s viewpoint would be that, rather than using chemicals and potentially affecting the soil biodiversity, the most ecologically-friendly approach, where possible, is to dig them out and pop them in the green waste bin.”

Though homemade weedkillers might not work every time, Mr Hilton said: “I would still definitely recommend giving these homemade killers a go.

“If they don’t work for you or you struggle to get the mix right, then there’s no shame in going back to your old products.”

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