8 Ways to Get Rid of Weeds

8 Ways to Get Rid of Weeds
Adapted from an article by Jeff Yeager of The Daily Green

1. Master the art of weed-pulling
It sounds simple, but if you've ever tried it, you know that some weeds are much tougher to pull than others. Dandelions and other weeds of the taproot variety have a mighty grip. Try watering the area directly around the weed or pulling weeds after a rainstorm, when the ground is softer. Also, insert a knife blade, screwdriver or "dandelion puller" alongside the deep root and pry it loose a little before pulling.
2. Pour boiling water on them
When you boil potatoes or pasta during the gardening season, you can repurpose the boiling water by draining the pot directly onto the weeds that like to invade your backyard herb garden and patio. A splash of scalding water will shrivel even the toughest weeds in a couple of days.
3. Smother them
Cover low-growing weeds such as clover and crabgrass with several layers of newspaper. Eventually, the lack of sunlight will exterminate them. Similarly, put down layers of newspaper (remember, it's biodegradable) and then cover them with mulch. This is a highly effective way of keeping weeds from sprouting up, and it helps the soil retain moisture.  Do not use any shiny pages.
4. Divide and conquer them
Never underestimate the value of physical barriers such as lawn edgings and retaining walls to keep unwanted weeds from invading your lawn or flower beds. Acting just like a fire break, physical barriers are a long-lasting solution for keeping weeds at bay.
5. Outnumber them
Gardening is all about a competition for resources, where the strongest not only survive but also thrive. By choosing ground covers, flowers and garden crops that will naturally out compete weeds for sunlight, water and soil nutrients, you can dramatically reduce the number of weeds. The same principle applies to controlling weeds in a lawn: Maintain a thick, healthy lawn, and you'll have fewer weed invaders.
6. Pour vinegar on them
Douse weeds with vinegar or a mixture of half water/half vinegar (or better yet, the leftover vinegar from a jar of pickles), and they'll be dead a few days later.  This is a good method for exterminating weeds with long taproots, including dandelions, dock and plantain.  You can plant where you have applied vinegar a day later.
7. Torch them
You don't need to set weeds on fire to kill them; quickly running a flame over them will usually cause them to wilt and die within days. You can buy a propane-powered weed scorcher designed specifically for this purpose at garden-supply stores, or just use a handheld blowtorch. Be careful not to torch poison ivy: Coming in contact with its smoke can trigger an allergic reaction just like touching it.
8. Eat them
Many so-called weeds are edible or have medicinal uses. The young greens of dandelions, dock, chicory and other common weeds can be eaten raw in salads or cooked like fresh spinach. Chicory root is often added to coffee to enhance its flavor. Pick up a copy of a book such as the classic wild-foods field guide "Stalking the Wild Asparagus" by Euell Gibbons, and you may find yourself having weeds for dinner.


  1. I put vinegar in my sprayer and the weeds are turning brown, it's awesome. The grass is harder to kill, but I think the vinegar is running right off it. I'm going to try adding a little dish soap to see if it helps. If nothing else, the grass has been easier to dig out the next day! Thanks!

  2. I've also used rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. If you spray it on a weed on a sunny day, it will dry it right up. Be careful about not getting it on the grass or other plants. Little boys like to use a magnifying glass to scorch weeds! (With supervision, of course.)

  3. Prevent weed growth by mulching heavily (6" thick if you can) with whatever organic material you have on hand. I have used straw, grass clippings, dry leaves, and peat moss--all have worked great. Intensive plantings (planting close together at appropriate distances) also shade the soil so that weeds won't grow.

  4. I heard about the vinegar method in one of Caleb's classes a few months ago. I tried it this past weekend by spraying the weeds in my sidewalk with undiluted white vinegar. Two days later most of the weeds had shriveled and died. YAY!