01 July 2011

Frugal Friday: Weed killer

I've been spending a lot of time, money, and energy trying to get the outside of our house whipped into shape. Unfortunately, we have weeds just about everywhere. I looked at various weedkillers in the store and just couldn't bring myself to pay so much money for the amount of the stuff I'd go through. So I mixed up my own version for pennies. You'll need:

Salt (as much as you can get to dissolve in your water)
Hot water (about 3 gallons)
Dish soap (a teaspoon or so)

Simply dissolve the salt into the water and add the dish soap. The soap helps the briny solution stick to the plant, and the salt is a desiccant that dries out the plant. Spray it as close to the roots as you can for maximum effect. It might take a day or so for the roots to really absorb the salt, but should pull out easily (I scrape them up with a flat shovel) once the plant starts to look dried out and crispy. A few notes about this recipe:

- It is not selective and will kill ANY plant, so don't use it around your prize-winning roses.
- It has the potential to poison the soil for several years (depending on your salt concentration), so this is best used for cracks in the sidewalk and driveway, or any other place you don't want anything growing.
- It will probably work best if there hasn't been rain for a couple of days, and rain isn't expected for the next day or so. If the weeds are thirsty they'll absorb more of the saltwater, and the concentration of salt will stay higher without rain.

I think the best part of this is that I don't have to worry about tracking any chemicals into the house. Clara and Zibby spend too much time on the floor for me to risk that!


Anonymous said...

For nearly instant weed-killing results, try pouring boiling water over them--guaranteed to work!

Sarah said...

You're right - boiling water is an effective weedkiller. Its one downside is that it won't keep them from coming back. Most of my weedkilling needs are in the sidewalk cracks, which is why I use the saltwater solution - they don't come back so easily.

Anonymous said...

Was that first Anonymous remark from someone in the family with first hand experience at killing plant material with boiling water? Inquiring minds want to know.....

Christina Banker said...

I suspect that was Catherine with the boiling water and MOM with the inquiring mind.

Sarah said...

Definitely MOM with the inquiring mind. Don't know who chimed in with the boiling water tip!