Ask a Question forum→Homemade Weed Killer

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(Zone 5a)
Jun 16, 2015 4:53 PM CST
Recently saw this weed killer mixture on Facebook: 1 gal. Vinegar, 2 cups of Epsom salt and 1/4 cup of Dawn dishwashing liquid. Can this be used to kill weeds in a flower or plant garden so long as you just spray on weeds?
Missouri (Zone 6a)
Plant Identifier I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Jun 16, 2015 6:09 PM CST

Never heard of it. But I am interested, so maybe others will have some knowledge.
I wonder if the vinegar does anything to change the soil ph or anything like that? Whatever you use, you don't just want to kill weeds, you want to still be able to grow in the dirt when your done!
(Zone 5a)
Jun 16, 2015 6:14 PM CST
You're definitely right in that you wouldn't want to poison the soil for use "down the road". The FB posting compared it to Round Up and but not harmful to bees. Hope someone that reads this knows it's safe. Thnx for replying!
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Jun 16, 2015 7:20 PM CST
Most of the recipes I have seen use table salt. Epsom salt is actually use to fertilize plants not kill. Table salt will contaminate the soil in your garden. The salt will most likely wash off when you water or when it rains. Even if it doesn't, it will reenter the soil when the plant dies and decomposes. Just spraying weeds with vinegar with a little dishwashing liquid to help it cling to the weed will kill some weeds.

[Last edited by Horntoad - Jun 16, 2015 8:24 PM (+)]
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Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Bookworm Snakes Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator
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Jun 16, 2015 7:34 PM CST
I have used this in my backyard not wanting to use herbicides near my dog. It kills young weeds but only seems to kill the top growth on larger more established ones. In large quantities I guess the epsom salt would add magnesium to the soil and Vinegar they say can short term change the ph of soil.
(Zone 5a)
Jun 16, 2015 7:48 PM CST
Thnx to all of you who have responded. I think what I need is a chemist who can tell me how vinegar, Epsom salt and liquid soap react!
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Jun 16, 2015 8:19 PM CST
I don't know the answer to your questions, but welcome to All Things Plants, Michgardener !
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Name: Elaine
Sarasota, Fl
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Jun 16, 2015 8:22 PM CST
Another non-toxic way to kill weeds without harming other plants or the soil is to use clear plastic. A plastic bag from the veggie section at the grocery store will kill 3 or 4 weeds at a time or a small section between your flowering plants, if you just put it over them, weight the edges with a rock and let the sun 'cook' it.

We have a gravel driveway that gets overrun sometimes with weeds, and I just buy a $5 painter's drop sheet, spread it over for a sunny afternoon, and poof, all the weeds die. IF I remember not to run over it on the gravel or step on it, I can use it several times.

I've used vinegar/water in a spray bottle and it works quite well for some weeds but not all. The soap acts as a surfactant (as Horntoad said, it makes the stuff stick) but doesn't really help kill anything, and it's rather salty as well, so you don't want to use much.

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
(Zone 5a)
Jun 16, 2015 8:22 PM CST
Thnx, Weedwhacker. We're in the same state, just different areas.

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