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Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

Posted by Todd_In_Texas Zone 8A Dallas (My Page) on
Sun, Jun 26, 05 at 13:59

I've read a lot about using vinegar as an organic weed killer (herbicide) and since my daughter uses the back yard as her playground I was interested in using it there. It'd be nice to use an organic "Round-Up" that I can spot spray weeds and not worry about her running barefoot back there the same day.
I understand that regular vinegar in grocery stores is only 5% acetic acid and that concentrations of up to 25% or so are sold for horticultural use. However, I wanted to give the regular stuff a try.
I went to Wal-Mart and got the cheapest thing of regular old vinegar I could find. I got 1 gallon for $1.47. Here's a pic of the lable:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
I found one clump of weeds in my bermudagrass and one other kind of weed in the cracks of our porch. The conditions when I sprayed it were:

Temp: 93F Degrees
Humidity: 34%
Partly-Mostly Cloudy

I sprayed them with the 5% vinegar and then took another picture about 3 hours later which I've posted below:
Before
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
After
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
...and the weed on the porch...
Before
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
After
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Hey... for $1.47 a gallon that's a pretty good deal compared to Round Up. Just thought you all would like to see some before and after pics of my test. I'm sure the 5% stuff works best in warmer temperatures and when there's a lot of sun but it wouldn't hurt to give it a try.
-Todd


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

  • Posted by jean001 z8aPortland, OR (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 26, 05 at 17:03

Don't get too excited as yet. Vinegar kills only the top growth on well-established plants.

So plants such as the 2nd one -- oxalis -- will be baaaack!

The reason? Oxalis has a fleshy root which can easily generate new top growth.


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

also note that vinegar is corrosive to concrete used continually ...... but it does beat roundup as an alternative to digging, especially in the pavement cracks :)

Bill


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

I have no doubt vinegar only kills the foliage on weeds. But I'd have to think that even if it take more than one application the weed will eventually be choked off and die. Multiple applications aren't a problem and the price still keeps it cheap.

The main reason for trying vinegar is that it is a much safer alternative than Round Up. I can spray vinegar and not worry about my 2 year old running around barefoot.


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

Todd:
I'm on my way to get a gallon of vinegar! Thanks for the pictures.
-O


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

Todd, good pictures and I agree completely. When I've tried vinegar on young sheep sorrel it did weaken or kill the root, though. It's good to find this alternative to hand weeding and chemicals.


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

Thanks Todd. Great to see before and after shots too.
Sally


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

I found oxalis to be the only weed that vinegar actually completely killed. It was not the species in the photo though- it was a smaller, purple leaved one with yellow flowers.
One trick is to put a glug of dishsoap in the mix, it causes the vinegar (or any other organic sprays) to bond to the leaves of the waterproof weeds.


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

Does this kill the grass too?

Thanks,
Chris


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

Chris,... From what I understand this affects grass as well. The vinegar/acid burns the top foliage and can eventually chokes off the plant. Some established weeds may continue to come back however. You just have to use it for spot-spraying weeds. Todd


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

It definitely kills St Augustine - about 3 days later. When I spray vinegar in the lawn I use a piece of cardboard with a hole cut in the center to spray through. Probably a better idea would be to use two pieces of cardboard with 1/2 holes cut in adjacent sides. That would make the hole size more adjustable.

I use 20% vinegar. When I use it on oxalis, you can almost watch the leaves shrivel up. At the end of 20 minutes the weed is shriveled up like your 3-hour picture. In 3 hours you cannot find anything left of the oxalis. Poetry in motion.

You should remind that vinegar is a foliar spray, not a soil drench. You don't use very much.


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

3 thoughts to add: 1), while the 20% vinegar will do a more thorough job than the 3% household vinegar or 5% pickling vinegar, it can be hard to get. It is also a STRONG acid, you have to handle it with great care, both with regard to it splashing on you and breathing fumes in enclosed areas. 2) Vinegar is relatively ineffective in temperatures below 60F, and higher temperatures and direct sun make it much more effective. 3) I found that adding a small amount of liquid soap (I used Dr. Bronner's) or dish deteregent made it stick better and thus was more effective. I started out measuring a teaspoon, but that got old fast (I had to keep track of the spoon, clean it off so I didn't get soap all over everything else, etc......) so now I use a small glug (a 'glig'?) to add to the vinegar.


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

The reason your plants died was because you poisoned the soil...Hort 20% vinegar works by removing the wax surface of the plant leaves so the plant quickly dehydartes. It takes just a bit to work when applied cotrrectly.

It does not work on plants with large root systems such as warm season grasses...or poison ivy...etc...

There are severasl univ. studies on the matter...

Also, it is a good pH down product when dilluted properly...


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

Vinegar will kill only the green area it comes in contact with. You may need repeated applications to kill some plants - I sprayed fairly large grasses in my gravel drive, killed off the existing leaves, but more grew from the crown. I had to go back and really soak the clump to finally kill it off. I think I will learn to love grass growing down the center of my quarter-mile drive!

I had some poison ivy in a spot where pulling it (suitably protected, as I react badly!) was not an option. I sprayed it with 3% vinegar about 3 times, as it came back, and did manage to eradicate it. BUT, it had been there not too long, so didn't have a root system that went for yards. The BIG vines, like honeysuckle, greenbrier, big poison ivy, etc., will only be discouraged by vinegar - it isn't systemic like Round-Up. With enough discouragement, and maybe over a year, they will go away.

I have been told that the pH altering effect of vinegar is very short acting - the soil recovers back to what it was in a month or less. Not having read the direct citation, nor tried for myself, I can't say for sure. However, it is my understanding that most of the pH altering substances break down and need to be reapplied, whether over months or years. None are a one-time solution, but if vinegar's effects last such a short time, I doubt it's worth it. After all, if you get any on the plants, accidentally, you might kill that plant!


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

Not to change the subject but if poison ivy is your problem, goats are not allergic to it and will eat it to the ground.


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

Not in my flower beds, they won't!!


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

Will this work on clovers as well? Will this formula kill plants in the garden if they get sprayed?

Thanks.

Here is a link that might be useful: Veterans Flag Depot


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

Hmm...Good so far, but vinegar only kills the top layer of grass, what should i use to kill the weed forever? I have tried many diff. products, but they keep growing back...anyone got a solution? Thanks
Mary,
www.FreeGardeningBooks.com


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

usvets, the vinegar will kill off the green leaves it comes in contact with - it is not a systemic herbicide, only a contact one. It will kill off the clover that gets wet with it, but may not kill off underground roots. The clover may resprout from the roots and need re-spraying, possibly more than once. If you spray it on a plant you want to keep, unless you wash it off at once, and possibly even then, it will kill off whatever it touches. Be careful to spray only what you want to kill.

Mary, many grasses evolved to withstand repeated grazing. Therefore, they have a good capability to grow back from their roots or crowns. If you don't want to use a systemic herbicide, such as Round-Up, then you will have to be persistant on well established grasses. If you can get them while they are young and their root system is small, then one spraying may work. Otherwise, persistance.... If you get really fed up, then digging them out will also work - you will have to fill in the holes with topsoil or compost, and maybe be sure you have dug out all the roots....

Strong rooted perennial weeds are the same - you have to keep after such weeds as curly dock, horse nettle, poke weed, honeysuckle vines or any of the others that have deep roots and come back, bigger and beter, year after year. Persistance WILL work, just maybe not in a summer. You have to exhaust the reserves of the root....


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

For weeds growing in concrete cracks, i use boiling water (poured straight from the tea pot). It does a good job for that application. I do not use it in flower beds or the lawn because it is a little difficult to control and it kills whatever it comes in contact with, including organisms in the soil, etc.


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

Over on Digg.com It was suggested that adding gin to the vinegar and water would improve the weedkilling abilities of the solution.

Here is a link that might be useful: Don't know how long the link will be good.


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

A quote from the link:
robrob says:

man, i originally read the title as "Make your own Killer Weed".

this is obviously a let down.

lmao


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

If I spray vinegar in between the cracks on my slate patio, how long does the smell last? Will it discolor the slate plates?


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

dibbit said:
You have to exhaust the reserves of the root....

This is THE salient point. Not allowing much regrowth of green leaf/stem, over and over, will starve the roots.

Anyone who has ever fought Yellow Nut Sedge knows that it is probably the most formidable adversary a gardener can have. In extensive beds that had been, in many areas, taken over by it, faithfully hand pulling it weekly (getting very little root, and seldom any of the nuts) made it manageable in one growing season.

Spraying with a top kill such as vinegar is faster and easier by far than hand work. At a bargain price too.

rangier


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

I've had a lot of luck with repeated vinegar applications.
Doesn't kill everything on the first spray but most
weeds will give up the ghost after a few weeks with
no leaves. Its also been experience that hort vinegar is
verrrry hard to find unless you want it in a 50 gallon
drum. There are some organic herbicides I've seen retailed with vinegar, lemon juice, and clove oil.


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

Coeng, the vinegar smell should be gone overnight - if it persists, a good hosing should dilute it and dissipate the smell.

Since muriatic acid is a common cleaner for stone such as granite, I very much doubt vinegar (especially if you are using household or pickling vinegar, as opposed to the horticultural strength) will hurt slate - it might have an effect on limestone and possibly on marble, however. If you are in doubt, try in an inconspicuous corner, and see what happens. If it should look like the slate is being affected, wash it down well with water. And if you want to be REALLY sure, wait a couple of hours so the sprayed weeds/grasses are affected, and then wash the whole patio down.


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

From reading this thread it would appear that a vinegar herbicide would not be a good choice for killing off pasture grass to plant a new lawn. Does anyone have any organic recommendations for that use? Every hear of a herbicide called Weed Zap. I've been told by Peaceful Valley Farm and Garden in Grass Valley, Calif that will work.

We have an acre to kill before planting new grass. Some of it is brown due to not getting watered much this summer.

Thanks for any help anyone can give.


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

I have an organic pepper field. Pepper doesnt emerge on soil yet. I have weed problem. Bermudagrass as a weed in my pepper field. Can vinegar kill the bermudagrass. It is enouhg for me that kill only leafs. If it kills the leafs, I can use it several times.


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

Does anyone know if this will work on Dandelions?

Here is a link that might be useful: Fine! Bead That Way!


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

I have been using plain 5% white vinegar to kill unwanted plants for a few years. Through trial and error, I have found a way to kill even stubborn weeds, including established poison ivy. I take a wooden dowel or a long thick screwdriver and push it into the soil next to the stem. Make sure you go down as far as you can (maybe 10-12"). When I withdraw the dowel, a deep hole remains. I pour undiluted white vinegar into the deep hole until it fills to the top. I then spray the leaves of the plants with the undiluted white vinegar. After several days the poison ivy is dead and, so far, has not come back. In driveway cracks, I do the same thing, only with a smaller instrument. If you can find something to make a deep "puncture" into the soil the vinegar will work better. If not, repeated treatments to the leaves have always resulted in death to the undesirables. I will try adding some dish soap to the vinegar too. I have always done this in the summer so I can't say this will work in cooler temps.


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

uniquebec - good suggestion using the dowel or screwdriver to penetrate down to the root

I used boiling water on weeds in my gravel driveway to discover it only killed the top growth. Your method may take care of the root problem!


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

Vinegar is very effective if temperatures are above 70 degrees F. and if you mix in, per gallon of regular or cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon per gallon of Ivory dish detergent and 2 tablespoons per gallon of canola oil. Repeat spray when leaves started to green up again, which depends on temperature and moisture. I studied and honed the vinegar method after writing my book 'Weedless Gardening' (Workman Publishing, 2001), and now buy vinegar in bulk.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lee Reich


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

I can not see the images in chrome or IE.
Please let me know how to get these images

Here is a link that might be useful: poison ivy photos


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

It's an 8 year old post...those images are dead links (aka, images gone) at this point.


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

I tried it - the vinegar, salt and Dawn recipe that's all over Pinterest - and it did not work. It was neither cheaper not better, especially if you add the "repeat applications" part.

Here is a link that might be useful: Glyphosate VS vinegar


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RE: Regular Vinegar as Weed Killer (With Pics)

Burn it with Fire! Seriously, they make propane torches for weed killing. And it burns the top, plus if you cook the soil a little, it kills the root also. Completely non-toxic and also probably pretty fun to use. A propane tank runs about $17 bucks to fill around here and will probably run for 10 hours or more.

CH


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