Weeds can be controlled without the use of chemical weedkillers. Organic weed control methods can be used to smother weeds by limiting the light needed for growth, act as a barrier to prevent seed growth or by physical action such as pulling and burning.
Organic Weed Control Methods
Using boiling water as a weed killer is an inexpensive, simple and non-toxic method of eradicating weeds. Pouring boiling water directly on the weed controls the growth by scalding the weed’s leave or breaks down the plant’s cellular structure. In some cases, 3 to 4 applications will be sufficient over a period will kill the weed entirely. Boiling water is ideal for use on patios, driveways and weeds growing in cracks.
Mulch suppresses the growth of weeds by limiting the light they needed grow. Organic mulch such as wood chips, leaves and grass cutting is biodegradable and fairly effective at weed control. Organic mulch is not just effective at controlling weed growth it also provides soil improving nutrients and in some cases enhances the look of your garden. The RHS has useful information about types of mulches and their usage.
Newspaper act in the same way as organic mulch by limiting the light weeds need to grow. To be effective, a layer of 1/3 of an inch is required. Newspaper can act as a base layer for organic mulch for additional weed growth prevention.
Vinegar is a well known natural weed killer and requires several applications to get the job done. Household vinegar can be used on most weeds in the early stages of growth but for older weeds undiluted vinegar with a higher concentration will do the job. Research carried out by the United States Department of Agriculture indicated that spraying weeds with vinegar has a 85% to 100% kill rate.
Weed pulling and hand forking is also effective method of removing weeds from your garden. Remove the weed all the way to the root to prevent further growth. Weed pulling is labour intensive but very effective to control small weed infestations.