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natural weed seed killer

To apply this natural weed killer:

For something a little stronger than old-school weed pulling, but still natural and toxin-free, try these DIY, homemade weed killers to wage the war on weeds with ingredients most likely laying around the house—your beautiful lawn and outdoor plants will thank you.

Don’t go crazy, though.

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Learn how to kill pesky weeds as safely as possible with homemade weed killers made of natural ingredients you probably already have on hand.

Yes, your lawn is manicured and beautiful and your lawn care regimen is polished to perfection, but did you know that such care can actually make a lawn more susceptible to weeds? Dandelion, crab grass—basically anything with a seed—loves to work its way into neatly clipped grass and Pinterest-worthy gardens.

One natural weed killer to keep those unsightly greens at bay? "Keep the lawn long, so it takes longer for seeds to work their way down the ground," says Leslie Reichert, founder of Green Cleaning Coach. Or try the old-fashioned, labor-intensive method: "Sometimes you can't control exactly where the weed killer disseminates when sprayed. If you're afraid of brown spots in your lawn, a weed puller and a bucket can be your best bet."

Try this homemade weed killer as part of your spring lawn care. Ingredients:

Apply vinegar with a spray bottle, pump sprayer, or brush. Like other natural herbicides, vinegar cannot differentiate between weeds and other plants. Do this early in the morning, when there’s little wind, to avoid contaminating nearby plants. Vinegar’s killing properties are activated by the sun, so try this on a cloudless day, which also ensures that rain won’t wash it off before it works its magic.

With numerous kid-, pet- and earth-friendly ways to rid your garden of pesky weeds, here are nine stand-outs to put to the test.

Did you know that corn gluten meal is birth control for seeds? Sprinkle it on your garden and it will keep weed seeds from germinating and growing into plants. Of course, corn gluten meal will keep any seed from germinating, so don’t try this on your vegetable garden until your plants are established and you’ve finished planting seeds.

Vinegar

Cover your planting areas with mulch and you’ll keep weed seeds from coming into contact with the soil in the first place. Mulch will also keep sunlight from reaching seeds that are already underground, so they won’t get a chance to sprout. Mulch offers the added benefits of retaining moisture and breaking down to enrich your soil. And it looks really pretty, too.

You can rid yourself of weeds the old fashioned way—pulling them by hand—if you’re vigilant. Wear a dedicated pair of gardening gloves for the task to avoid inadvertently transferring seeds elsewhere. Good gardening tools like a claw or sharp trowel can help you loosen the weed roots from the soil first. Pulling a weed completely out by the root is the only way to ensure it will not return.

Scald those pesky weeds with boiling water. Just grab your kettle off the stove and bring it to the garden. Pour a stream of water carefully on the crown of each unwanted plant. Tough perennial weeds with long tap roots may take two or three applications, but will eventually stop coming back. Use your hot pads, of course, and definitely take the precaution of wearing long pants and close-toed shoes.

Smother weeds and prevent new ones from growing by covering them with old newspapers. A thick layer of newspaper will keep sunlight from reaching weed seeds, so they can’t sprout. Wet the soil first, and then lay your newspaper down, wetting it thoroughly again before covering with mulch. This is a great way to recycle, and as a bonus, you’ll encourage earth worms to come and stay.