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11 ways to control weeds without chemicals

By: Networx Systems on Aug. 13, 2010, 11:07 a.m.
bottle of vinegar in a garden

Photo: Bella Baita B&B View/Flickr

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Vinegar, other organic herbicides

Herbicides aren’t all made of nasty chemicals. Organic soaps, plant oil blends and even common household products are all used as natural herbicides. Concentrated vinegar is perhaps the most common.

Some research suggests vinegar, or acetic acid, is not as effective as some believe. Micheal D. K. Owen, an extension weed management specialist at Iowa State University, said vinegar does not kill root systems or some larger weeds.

However, Lanini said his research shows drenching targeted weeds with vinegar can kill them, without any risk of toxic runoff. It is not selective, meaning it may kill everything it strikes. It also may be dangerous. Avoid eye contact and always follow label directions, even with natural herbicides.