This eco-friendly option contains several natural ingredients like salt, citric acid, clove oil, vinegar, and glycerin, which become a deadly cocktail for over 250 types of weeds. Not only will this product kill these unwanted plants, but it can do so within 24 hours of initial use, so you can see the results you want quickly. The easy-to-use spray container doesn’t require any additional diluting or mixing and is ready to treat driveways, flower beds, wells, rock walls, and more straight from the container. For best results, spray this weed killer on warm, sunny days.
There are few things quite as frustrating as discovering a bunch of weeds invading your garden beds or pristine lawn. When non-chemical options such as pulling unwanted plants by hand or smothering them with mulch aren't possible, you may decide to reach for a weed killer. But there are so many kinds to choose from; it can be a bit overwhelming. And some contain harsh synthetic chemicals that can be harmful to more than just your target weeds. Fortunately, many natural weed killers that contain less toxic ingredients such as vinegar, soap, or salt can help you keep unwanted plants under control with less worry about using them around your family and pets. These products may not work as quickly as synthetic herbicides, but they can still deliver the desired result when used consistently and correctly, according to their labels. Here are the best natural weed solutions, conveniently available on Amazon.
Keep unwanted plants under control with these effective products.
Best for Lawns: EspomaWeed Preventer
Made with 20% ethanol-distilled vinegar, this effective weed killer will eliminate persistent chickweed, clover, and more. The multi-use formula is four times stronger than table vinegar alone. Use the included trigger spray to soak the leaves of unwanted weeds. Make sure to avoid surrounding desirable plants or grass, which also can be damaged by this product. Within 24 hours, you should see results. Be sure to keep the bottle in a dry and cool area for future use.
Like the Green Gobbler Weed Killer, this formula from Calyptus uses concentrated vinegar to eliminate unwanted grass and other weeds. According to the label, it’s useful beyond the garden, too; it can be used to clean stainless steel, remove soap scum from bathroom tile, freshen up your patio, and more. Just be aware that it's much stronger than table vinegar, so it is not safe to swallow and you should avoid breathing it in or getting it on your skin because it can cause burns.
Espoma Organic Weed Preventer is made from corn gluten meal, which won't rid your yard of current weeds, but it can work as a precautionary tool. When used correctly, it dries out the roots of annual weeds as they start sprouting from seeds and prevents them from growing. This product should be used twice annually, once in the spring and again in the fall. It not only discourages weeds from growing, but also provides nitrogen to your lawn. This nutrient will make your grass appear greener and more lush right after you apply it. Plus, your kids and pets can safely play in your backyard immediately after application.
Like the Espoma brand product, this preventative option is 100% corn gluten meal. The convenient pellets will both deter weed sprouts and feed your shrubs, lawn, flower beds, or vegetable garden. Happy customers say it is “amazing,” “easy to apply,” and a “safe pre-emergent.”
While most organic herbicides only work on grown weeds, you can use corn gluten meal as a pre-emergent on lawns to prevent the germination of weed seeds. “Corn gluten meal is a classic base component, which controls weeds by inhibiting root formation,” McKenzie explains. Plus, corn gluten also contains nutritional properties that can help your lawn grow lush and green.
If you want to maintain your lawn and garden without using synthetic chemicals, the best organic weed killers are formulated with natural ingredients at the right concentrations to be safe and effective. Bustle reached out to Bryan McKenzie, a former landscape designer and co-founder of Bumper Crop Times, for his expert advice on the most effective ingredients to look for and how to apply them.
McKenzie says a 20% concentration of vinegar, or acetic acid, is “deadly for weeds,” and effective against smaller annual weeds and a few types of stronger perennials. Because of the high acidic content, it’s important to follow safety precautions when using vinegar. Be sure to wear protective gear, store it properly, and keep it away from stone walkways and wooden decks to avoid corrosion.
Pre-Emergent Weed Killer
When it comes to pesky perennials like dandelion, ammonium nonanoate may be your best bet. “Compared to acetic acid, it has a more powerful action, so it’s recommended for eliminating adult perennial weeds,” McKenzie explains. The naturally-occurring fatty acid (also known as soap-salt) is also more effective against vines, moss, underbrush saplings, and tree suckers than acetic acid, according to McKenzie.
Some organic weed killers contain salt (sodium chloride.) It’s a great option for killing weeds on your driveway or patio, but because it can seep into the soil, it’s best to avoid using salt on your lawn or garden bed.
Finally, according to McKenzie, a 5 to 10% essential oil component such as citrus oil (d-limonene) or clove oil is “proven to have notable herbicidal action.” Clove oil has the additional benefit of being a natural insecticide and pesticide.
The most common organic weed killers are post-emergent, which means they can destroy weeds that are already grown but won’t be effective at destroying seeds. For maximum effectiveness, McKenzie advises, “Organic herbicides work best on younger weeds, so hurry up to apply them as soon as you notice intruders.” He also recommends applying the herbicide when you have “full sunlight and temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit.”
Contact weed killers only kill the part of the weed that it has been applied to. Translocated weed killers work their way down to the root system after application, effectively killing the entire plant. These types are very common for spot weed removal.
Emergent weeds between cracks can be spot targeted with a contact killer. For large areas, use a pre-mix and a yard sprayer. For smaller areas, a ready mixed spray bottle will suit your needs.
Prior to chemical use, weed killing was done by mechanical means. Pulling them by hand or tilling them under were the most common practices for getting rid of weeds. Essentially, had it not been for the agriculture of food plants, weed killing may have been an afterthought in society. But with the coming of the first chemical synthesized as an herbicide, called 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, and commonly abbreviated as 2,4-D, weed killing became an industry unto itself.
The newest herbicides are made from natural or organic substances like citric acid, garlic, clove oil and vinegar. Generally, they are of the contact variety and they are completely non-selective, meaning that they will kill any plant they touch. However, these are the safest herbicides available today, and many can be used around kids and pets without harm.
If you’ve ever spent an appreciable amount of time in a garden or dedicated your weekends to landscaping your property, you’ll know weeding is an essential (and time-consuming) chore. Let’s face it, who really wants to be bending over repeatedly to pull these ragged invaders from in between rows of vegetables and away from the sides of your walkways? A dedicated weed killer makes this unenviable task much easier, and depending on the type you choose, can have lasting effects which prevents weeds from returning for months and even years in some cases. We’ve selected some of the best weed killers on the market today as well as providing a weed killer buyer’s guide below to help you determine which type is best suited for your needs. Check this top list of the best weed killers in 2021.