11 Ways to Kill Garden Weeds

Keep unwanted weeds from infiltrating your garden with these simple remedies.

From Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things (Reader's Digest Association Books) and

common lawn problems, weedsBaking Soda

Looking for a safe way to keep weeds and grasses from growing in the cracks of your paved patios, driveways, and walkways? Sprinkle handfuls of baking soda onto the concrete and simply sweep it into the cracks. The added sodium will make it much less hospitable to dandelions and their friends.

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Bleach

Do weeds seem to thrive in the cracks and crevices of your walkways? Try pouring a bit of undiluted bleach over them. After a day or two, you can simply pull them out, and the bleach will keep them from coming back. Just be careful not to get bleach on the grass or plantings bordering the walkway.

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Borax

Get the jump on those weeds that grow in the cracks of the concrete outside your house by sprinkling borax into all the crevices where you’ve seen weeds grow in the past. It will kill them off before they have a chance to take root. When applied around the foundation of your home, it will also keep ants and other six-legged intruders from entering your house. But be very careful when applying borax — it is toxic to plants.

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Bottles

When using herbicides to kill weeds in your garden, you have to be careful not to also spray and kill surrounding plants. To isolate the weed you want to kill, cut a 2-liter soda bottle in half and place the top half over the weed you want to spray. Then direct your pump’s spraying wand through the regular opening in the top of the bottle and blast away. After the spray settles down, pick up the bottle and move on to your next target. Always wear goggles and gloves when spraying chemicals in the garden.

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Carpet Scraps

Place a series of carpet scraps upside down and cover them with bark mulch or straw for a weed-free garden path. Use smaller scraps as mulch around your vegetable garden.

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Salt

Those weeds that pop up in the cracks of your walkways can be tough to eradicate. But salt can do the job. Bring a solution of about 1 cup salt in 2 cups water to a boil. Pour directly on the weeds to kill them. Another equally effective method is to spread salt directly onto the weeds or unwanted grass that come up between patio bricks or blocks. Sprinkle with water or just wait until rain does the job for you.

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Shower Curtains

Those old shower curtains will also come in handy next time you do any landscaping with gravel or bark chips. Just place the shower curtain under the mulching material to prevent annoying weeds from poking through.

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Spray Bottles

Fill one with undiluted white vinegar to get rid of the weeds and grass poking out of the cracks in your concrete, as well as ants and other insects — but be careful not to spray it on your plants; the high acidity could kill them.

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Vinegar

Are dandelions sprouting up in the cracks of your driveway or along the fringes of your patio? Make them disappear for good by spraying them with full-strength white or apple cider vinegar. Early in the season, give each plant a single spritz of vinegar in its midsection, or in the middle of the flower before the plants go to seed. Aim another shot near the stem at ground level so the vinegar can soak down to the roots. Keep an eye on the weather, though; if it rains the next day, you’ll need to give the weeds another spraying.

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Vodka

For a quick and easy weed killer, mix 1 ounce (30 milliliters) vodka, a few drops liquid dish soap, and 2 cups water in a spray bottle. Spray it on the weed leaves until the mixture runs off. Apply it at midday on a sunny day to weeds growing in direct sunlight, because the alcohol breaks down the waxy cuticle covering on leaves, leaving them susceptible to dehydration in sunlight. It won’t work in shade.

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WD-40

Don’t let pesky prickly weeds like bull and Russian thistle ruin your yard or garden. Just spray some WD-40 on them and they’ll wither and die.

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