Vinegar has proven to be an effective alternative to dangerous commercial weed killers. What it lacks in residual action, it makes up for ineffectiveness and earth-friendliness. But what makes vinegar the perfect alternative for weed control? And how exactly does it work? Let’s uncover what makes vinegar so effective as a weed-wrangling, all-natural weed killer.
What is vinegar made of?
Vinegar is made of water and acetic acid. It’s this acid that makes vinegar an effective weed killer.
Typical white vinegar (like the kind you find at the grocery store) contains 5% acetic acid and 95% water. While 5% of vinegar is great for cooking and cleaning, it isn’t strong enough to kill older weeds or perennials. You’ll need a higher concentration of acetic acid to take down tough weeds, and that’s where 20% vinegar comes into play.
20% vinegar is the real deal.
This isn’t your grandfather’s vinegar. The amount of acetic acid in 20% vinegar takes the product from ordinary food additive to powerful herbicide! When you spray vinegar on weeds, the acetic acid damages and dries out the leaves. This process is known as desiccation. For stubborn weeds, you may want to add dish soap to the mix to reduce surface tension. The soap serves a surfactant, which allows the vinegar to soak into the leaves, instead of potentially beading up and running off of the plant.
Does vinegar kill all types of weeds?
Yep, 20% vinegar will take care of dandelions, clover, creeping charlie, musk thistle, and other tough weeds. Just keep in mind that vinegar is a non-selective herbicide, so it will harm any weed it touches. Use a pump sprayer to spray weeds directly and avoid desired plants and grasses.
Also, for best results, try spraying vinegar on a warm, sunny day. Rain can reduce the effectiveness of the weed killer, and strong winds can carry the vinegar and harm desired plants.
You can find a bottle of 20% horticultural vinegar in the garden section of your local department store, or you can just order it here at Factory Direct Chemicals. Just remember to handle the product with care.