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    Tractor Supply Company

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    How to Kill Weeds Naturally

    Authored by Tractor Supply Company

    Water, sunlight and healthy soil are the essential ingredients for a perfect lawn or garden. Unfortunately, these factors are also the ideal conditions for weeds to take root and grow.

    Most chemical-based weed controllers on the market succeed at killing weeds but also come with some negative side effects. The chemicals can lead to plant diseases, contaminate nearby water sources and hurt small animals, like frogs. They also may be harmful to you and your family if you breathe in the fumes or if the chemicals come in contact with your vegetable or herb plants.

    Luckily, there are several do-it-yourself weed killers that you can try instead. Follow these steps on how to kill weeds naturally without negatively impacting your grass or garden in the process.

    How to get rid of weeds without killing your grass and garden

    Achieve a weed-free lawn with these simple steps:

    1. Pull weeds by hand. This classic method for natural weed removal is also one of the most effective. Make sure you pull the entire weed up by its roots — if some breaks off, the weed might grow back. This technique is easiest to do after a rainfall when the soil is soft.
    2. Sprinkle corn gluten meal. Once you've pulled the existing weeds, sprinkling granules of corn gluten meal over the affected areas helps prevent new weeds from sprouting. The gluten won't harm your existing grass or plants, but it will prevent new roots from germinating, including weeds.

    Other natural ways to kill weeds

    Are you looking for more ideas on how to kill weeds organically? Give one of these tips a try. Note: these techniques are strong weed killers, but they'll also burn out grass and other plants. These tricks are best reserved for weeds that pop up through the soil, along the foundation of your house, or through walkways. When tackling weeds that come in contact with your lawn or other plants, it’s best to stick to the techniques mentioned above.

    1. Create a spray of vinegar, salt, and dish soap. Both vinegar and salt contain acetic acid — a natural compound that breaks down the protective coating on a weed, causing it to die. Create a mixture of one gallon of white vinegar, one cup of table salt, and one tablespoon of dish soap to spray on your weeds. The dish soap helps the acetic acid from the vinegar and salt penetrate the weed and kills it on a surface level. However, it won't penetrate down to the roots, so you may need to spray again when a new weed is starting to grow.
    2. Pour boiling water over weeds. Next time you put the kettle on, use some of that water as a natural way to kill weeds. Boiling water soaks into soil and scalds the roots. You can also add some table salt to the water as an extra weed-killing treatment.
    3. Spray rubbing alcohol or vodka. Each of these dries out weeds. Spray on the surface and pour some at the base so it soaks through the soil to reach the roots.
    4. Lay down mulch. A thick layer of mulch prevents light from getting through, stopping the weeds' process of photosynthesis. Mulch that's about two to four inches thick helps discourage weeds from surfacing. Plus, fresh mulch will keep your yard looking great.
    5. Sprinkle lemon juice over the weeds. The citric acid in lemon juice burns out weeds. Spray some on the surface and pour a little at the weeds’ base.

    The best time to try out these organic ways to kill weeds is on a warm and sunny day. Avoid spraying anything when rain is in the forecast—rainfall may cause your weed-killing mixture to wash onto other plants and grass.

    Whichever method (or methods) you decide to use when tackling your weeds, you'll see the best results by taking action in early spring or as soon as you notice new weed growth. The longer you put off de-weeding, the more time they have to germinate and spread to other areas of your yard. Once you've used some organic weed control around your yard, head to your nearest Tractor Supply Co. store for all the lawn care supplies you need for a thriving lawn and garden.