How to kill weeds organically

An image of weeds growing on the forest floor

Spring has ended and summer is here, which means that along with butterflies and twittering birds, it’s the season for weeds. After a couple of good showers, they’ll be ready to burst out in full force and take over your garden. If you have an area of your garden that’s overgrown with weeds, unless they’re particularly noxious weeds (bindweed, mare’s tail), you should be able to remove them with organic methods. Here are a few.

Dig out, dry, burn

This method is usually applied to invasive weeds such as bindweed, but it’ll work on others as well. The trick is to try and dig out as much of the root as possible, while taking care that pieces of it don’t get scattered about. Then put these on a large tarp to dry for a few weeks, and when they’re completely dry, burn them. Remember to NEVER compost weeds, as they’ll grow in the compost pile, thus robbing your precious compost of nutrients.

Overwater

This is a ‘light’ solution, meant for non-invasive weeds that are relatively easier to kill. Enclose the root area with a circular frame dug into the soil, fill in with clay, and fill with water to the brim. The enclosure will keep the water from spreading across the soil surface, and the clay soil will expedite the process. In a few weeks (if not days), the weeds should succumb to root rot.

Burn with organic substances

This, as with over-watering, is a light solution – which may in fact benefit noxious weeds. Certain organic substances such as sulfur, fresh manure and [human] urine, can burn plants if used without diluting or rotting. So, get a barrow full of fresh manure from a dairy or farm, and lay it thickly across a patch of weeds. Maybe add in urine to further speed things along. This should make short work of the weeds, and make the area super fertile the next year!

Feed them to rabbits

If you have a pet rabbit at home (or chickens, pigs and cows), they’ll be only too happy to eat the weeds. Rabbits seem to especially like dandelions. Some weeds, however, may be toxic for certain animals, so do the necessary research before feeding them to your pet. This method is best used for weak weeds, because most will grow right back if the roots are left in. However, if you can spare the space and your pets like it, you could turn the area into a permanent grazing ground. Free, unlimited food for the herbivores!

The no-dig method

This is a method popularized by Charles Dowding, and although I haven’t had the opportunity to test it yet, I’ve come across numerous people that swear by it. What you do here is flatten the weeds, and lay down 2-3 layers of cardboard over them. Then cover the cardboard with 6 inches of organic matter, and let it rot down for a year. The cardboard will prevent regrowth while shutting off light, while also enriching the soil.

 

 

2 thoughts on “How to kill weeds organically

  1. This is always an issue along our brick border of our property. It’s hard to reach in the cracks to dig out the roots and I find that pouring vinegar on them seems to help. I like it because a gallon of vinegar is cheap. Its just not a permanent solution as they do come back occasionally.🙄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can try smothering them to block off light. That should kill them completely – although frankly, with invasive weeds, there’s no such thing as a permanent solution. Even weedkillers only slow them down. Bindweed is especially horrible. 😡

      Liked by 1 person

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