How To Kill Weeds Without Damaging The Garden

How to Kill Weeds Without Damaging The Garden?

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Weeds are invasive, but it seems that even when you try to kill them they can still indirectly damage your lawn.

This is because to deal with them, you might end up destroying the surrounding grass and soil in your garden! What are you supposed to do if weeds are growing in your lawn, competing with grass and plants for sun and other nutrients?

Should you use chemicals to kill weeds? Although these might seem to be the easiest option to try, they can be harmful to your grass, pets, and health. That’s why it’s a better idea to choose other, more natural weed-killing solutions, and the good news is that these are effective.

Here are some easy ways to treat your garden to a weed-free experience, without the negative side effects.

Let’s start with prevention because preventing weeds is much easier than killing them.

Use Mulch To Prevent Weeds From Growing

Mulch to prevent weed

One of the easiest ways to deal with weeds?

Make sure they don’t have a chance to grow in your garden in the first place!

Putting mulch on your lawn helps to prevent weeds from taking root because it prevents them from getting enough sunlight. You can apply mulch to the top of your soil in flower beds.

You should aim for a three-inch layer of mulch and you can make your own by using materials such as wood chips, bark chips, and pine straw. These materials all work well to block out the sunlight so that weeds can’t start to grow.

Tip: When using pine straw, make sure you only use it as mulch around plants that like acidic soil because it tends to increase acidity. Examples of plants that love acidic soil include sweetcorn, azaleas, and daffodils.

Wash Them In Vinegar

Herbicide as vinegar

Did you know you can make your own natural herbicide?

White vinegar is a natural ingredient that you can purchase from your grocery store. It’s got weed-killing properties because it has acetic acid.

While the white vinegar found in stores usually has five percent of this acid, which is sufficient to kill most weeds in your garden, you might need something a bit stronger.

As Tree Hugger reports, you can find industrial-strength white vinegar in garden supply stores that contain up to 20 percent acetic acid, but using it requires caution as it can be harmful to lung, eye, and skin health.

How to apply the vinegar: Put it in a spray bottle and spray it onto the leaves of the weeds you want to kill.

Make sure you don’t spray other plants and soil too much as this can damage them. It’s probably a good idea to get close to the weeds when spraying the vinegar onto them to prevent the vinegar from spraying onto other plants.

When spraying more concentrated acidic vinegar, such as ones that are of the industrial-strength variety, make sure you cover your skin, eyes, and mouth as it can be harmful to human health.

Dig Them Up

Digging up weed

While pulling out weeds by hand makes sense and seems like the easiest option, it doesn’t really work that well.

Weeds tend to have long roots, and if those remain the weeds can continue to plague you. So, you want to get those out to successfully eliminate weeds from your garden.

If you’re wondering how to kill weeds by removing them by hand, you have to get down and dig them out, making sure to be careful that you don’t disrupt the roots of nearby plants. You can use a hoe to remove weeds with shallow roots but makes sure its blade is nice and sharp.

Always make sure you slice the roots of the weed just below the soil’s surface as this won’t loosen the soil too much which can end up exposing seeds to the light and cause them to germinate, as HGTV reports.

What about pulling weeds with longer roots?

A garden knife or hand weeding tool can work well. While time consuming if you have lots of weeds to eliminate, removing weeds from your garden by hand with the right tools can be effective. 

Stop Overwatering Your Garden

over-watering the garden

It’s always a good idea to water your plants as much as they need, as not more.

This saves the precious water resources and ensures plants are healthy. It also prevents weeds from taking hold in your garden. The trick is that you should give your garden a deep watering when they need it, instead of opting for light watering.

Light watering prevents lawn grasses and plants from sending their deeper roots into the soil but it causes weeds with shallow root systems to grow, as ABC Home and Commercial reports.

Give Them The Solarizing Treatment

The Solarizing Treatment

Solarizing means covering weeds so that they can’t get sun.

If you want to try something that’s easy and doesn’t require much effort on your part, then this can work nicely, but it takes a bit of time to show results.

You’ll need to use plastic sheets to cover areas of weeds in your garden.

Interestingly, this works well in full sun conditions because heat will accumulate underneath the plastic sheet and bake the weeds, killing them off without you having to do anything.

You should leave the plastic over the weeds for between four and six weeks, during which time the weeds will become brown and desiccated, as Eco Watch reports.

Look After Your Lawn

If you care for your lawn, this will have the result of also preventing weeds from trying to enter your garden.

A healthy lawn basically protects against weeds.

You should look after your grass in the following ways to repel weeds.

  • Fertilize your grass. If you’ve given your grass fertilizer to nourish it with nutrients, this can naturally keep weeds at bay. The reason for this is because strong, healthy grass can fight small weeds that try to grow, as SF Gate reports.
  • Mow your lawn often. This will have the effect of decapitating unwanted weeds so that they will end up dying. The added bonus of mowing your lawn is that by removing plant heads, you will prevent weeds from being able to spread their seeds all over your lawn.

Sprinkle Them With Salt

Salting weed

Some weeds can be trickier to remove, especially when they crop up in small spaces such as cracks in your walkways.

They’re unsightly too, but you can remove them with boiling water and salt.

Pouring boiling water regularly is a common natural weed-killing strategy, but by adding salt to it you can make it even more powerful for those stubborn weeds.

Put one cup of salt into two cups of water and bring it to the boil. Then pour this mixture over weeds to kill them.

You can also use salt in another way: spread salt onto the weeds directly and sprinkle them with some water, as Reader’s Digest reports.

Give Weeds No Space To Grow

perennial plant

Once you’ve eliminated weeds from your garden, you want to ensure they don’t come back.

An easy way to do this is with a bit of garden planning.

If weeds have no space to grow, then they won’t be able to take hold.

You can squeeze them out of the picture by planting thick ground cover in your garden or planting perennial plants that create shade on the ground underneath them to prevent sunny spots where weeds can grow.

Pro tip: If you’re trying to throw weeds some shade, make sure that the grass you’re trying to grow will be able to withstand shady conditions, otherwise it will become a casualty of your weed-killing spree.

Related Questions

What grass can grow in the shade?

Fine and tall fescues are types of grass that grow well in the shade, while warm-season grass types such as Zoysia and St. Augustine will also thrive in such conditions.

St. Augustine Grass

Can you throw pulled weeds into the compost?

Composting weeds can work, but always make sure they get covered to block out sunlight as soon as they’re thrown into the compost pile, otherwise they could go to seed and cause you other problems.


You might feel stressed out by the sight of weeds in your garden.

But as we’ve outlined in this article, there are easy and natural ways in which to eliminate weeds and prevent them from competing with other plants in your garden.

You don’t need harmful chemicals to get the job done. Use one, or a few, of the above weed-killing methods and see your lawn bid farewell to weeds for good.

Last Updated on August 20, 2022 by Gustaf Johansson

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