Vinegar has proven itself to be a reliable alternative to dangerous commercial weed killers. What it may lack in residual action, it makes up for with effectiveness and eco-friendliness.
But what makes vinegar the perfect alternative for weed control? And how exactly does it work? Let’s find out why vinegar works as a weed-wrangling, all-natural weed killer.
What is vinegar made of?
Typical white vinegar (like the kind you find at the grocery store) contains 5% acetic acid and 95% water. While 5% 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. That’s where 20% vinegar comes into play.
How does 20% vinegar kill weeds?
When you apply 20% vinegar to weeds, the acetic acid damages and dries out the leaves. This process is known as desiccation, which is the removal of moisture.
The amount of acetic acid in 20% vinegar takes the product from ordinary food additive to powerful herbicide. 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 of the plant instead of beading up and running off 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 Green Gobbler. Just remember to handle the product with care.