Ask a Question
Notify Me On Question Update
Email this Question
I am trying to find an organic solution to spraying weeds in the vegetable garden, such as morning glory. Would a mix of vinegar and lemon juice spread to the roots of the vegetables also, or could it be used? If so, do you have any information on proportions for the mix?
Rate This FAQ
Sadly there are very few good organic herbicides for perennial, persistent and quite annoying weeds like field bind weed. Even our best chemical herbicides will not completely control this aggressive invader.
However, there are some organic herbicides on the market that have the “burn back” characteristics of the chemical glyphosate (trade name Round-up and others). These include organic herbicides like AllDown (citric acid (5%), garlic (0.2%), acetic acid, yucca extracts, water (94.8%)), Matran 2 (clove oil (33.7%) and acetic acid), Xpress (thyme oil (10.4%), clove oil (10.1%), acetic acid, molasses, water (79.5%)), or Nature’s Avenger (natural citrus oil based non-selective herbicide). Each contains various combinations of natural oils or acids. As you can see some of these say that they have acetic acid (vinegar) in them but say nothing about the strength of that vinegar or what percent of the solutions are vinegar or water. Most of the organic chemicals (trade names) are available on the internet.
In some work done by the Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory (part of the US Dept of Agriculture) on using vinegar as a herbicide, they showed that vinegar can kill several important weed species at several growth stages. Vinegar at 10%, 15% or 20% acetic acid concentration provided 80-100 percent kill of selected annual weeds, including giant foxtail up to 3 inches in height, common lambsquarters up to 5 inches, smooth pigweed up to 6 inches, and velvetleaf up to 9 inches. Control of annual weeds with vinegar at the 5% acetic acid concentration (most products sold in grocery stores contain 5% acetic acid) was variable. Canada thistle shoots were highly susceptible with 100 percent kill by 5% vinegar, however, there was re-growth from roots. Sadly, established perennial weeds (like bindweed) usually will not be killed by vinegar. Even under repeated applications to the growing tissue, they still came back.
One needs to be very careful with concentrated acetic acid as it does burn and can injure the user if you get it on your skin or in your eyes or throat (inhale it). So watch out if you decide to use it. You can try and make your own but unless you get the concentration of the acids up to high levels, they are not that effective.
You also need to remember that these are contact herbicides and will damage any green tissue they come into contact with. So if you are using them in the vegetable garden, they will “burn back” the vegetable as well as the weeds. So be extra careful.
Hope this helps.
Submit Your Suggestion
Other Questions In This Topic
- Last year when I was about to harvest my corn from my yard I found that something got to about half of it before I did. I don't think it was insect because of the nature of the damage; I suspect birds. On the ears in question the husks were literally shredded and each kernel picked out. I know there are blue jays nesting in the area but this was the first time any thing like that happened. I don't think it was a mammal since the stalks were intact and not collapsed from the weight of what got at the ears that were devoured. Do you what causd this to happen? Is there something I can do to prevent that from happening this year? Thanks
- We planted apple trees last year. When do we spray for cottling moths?
- I have an older crab apple tree that is focal point of my small yard. About 3 years ago the leaves became infected with powdery mildew. I have been told to not do anything with this, as it will eventually go away and the tree will fine - but over the years it has gotten much worse each spring. There are only about 60% of the leaves that are starting to look healthy by mid-June. Over all, the leaves are withered and this year we have very few blossoms. Another problem: The tree also has four large limbs that come out of the trunk. I noticed that there seemed to be wood pulp inside a place where a branch was cut off years ago. I scooped out the pulp and found that some bug or other creature has created a cavity that goes 6” into the 10-12” diameter limb and a large man’s fist could easily fit into the hole that has been created. While inspecting the hole I discovered a ¼” or so hole in the very back of the cavity, but no sign of the culprit. The limb seems to be doing fine, as the leaves on the branches from this limb are in no better or worse shape than the rest of the tree. I had my tree pruned by a highly recommended person this spring, in hopes that this would help with my powdery mildew problem. I love my tree, what should I do next about my perpetual powdery mildew problem and the unknown culprit who is dinning on my tree limb?
- When moving into our new home I removed two small quaking aspen trees. Even though the main trees are gone there are a good multiple dozen shoots that are coming up all over the lawn. How do I get rid of these for good...hopefully without ripping up my entire yard? Also my neighbors all have these aspen trees and I would like to "treat" the baby shoots coming up on my side of the fence line without damaging their trees. Is that possible?
- What trees, perrenials, shrubs etc... grow best in Utah (landscaping yard)?
- I have an apricot tree in my backyard that is loaded with apricots. We have not sprayed the tree with anything, but I would like to use what I can of the fruit that is not 'buggy'. The apricots have red/brown spots on the skin, my research tells me it might be a fungus. Would the fruit be safe to eat if it was cooked and then canned? Also, I would like to transplant some of my fathers raspberry bushes, when is the best time to do that?
- I have a flame amur maple approx 5 feet high and has been planted since spring of '07. It has turned a very pale yellow color and has several branches where the leaves look like they have been burned. It is getting sufficient water. I've noticed that other flame maples stay green and I have read that it should. I don't know what is wrong with it. Help. It also did this last summer. I have applied some iron and it did green it up a little more but not much.
- I just bought some property with what I think is a Bartlett pear tree. The tree seems to be in good condition but the fruit skin develops a coarse brown covering. What causes this?