vinegar is a great weed killer

Discussion in 'Garden Pest Management and Identification' started by JCardina, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    For those who want a "green" solution to weeds that actually works I can confirm that white pickling vinegar (7% acetic acid) makes an amazing plant killer. Spray it on any leaf you want to kill on a hot sunny day and within 10 minutes it's starting to turn brown and shortly afterwards the leaves are completely dead (none took longer than overnight).

    It works by stripping off the waxy coating on leaves that prevents them from dehydrating too quickly.

    No need for expensive or potentially dangerous chemicals, just make sure it's at least 7% acetic acid (stronger would be better but not as available but "Pickling" vinegar is usually at least 7%) and put it in a cheap plastic spray bottle and you have a plant killer. It will kill almost any leaf you spray it on depending on how waxy they are some will be more resistant (that's why 20% would be even better) but it works great on dandelions, thistles, grass etc etc. For dandelions just spray the leaves and the center of the flower.

    Dandelions and others with a long tap root will need a subsequent application because it won't kill the root, just all the leaves, but as long as the leaves are dead the root will die in pretty short order.

    I'm going to hack a Swiffer WetJet mop so I can refill it with vinegar and use it's built in battery powered sprayer to do large areas conveniently (I have a lot of gravel trails in the back of our property that I want to keep vegetation free), the spray bottle gets tiresome after a while.

    There are commercial formulations based on vinegar now and they contain surfactants to make the liquid spread more evenly on the leaf and not bead up, I'm going to experiment with that as well, maybe dish soap or citrus based organic cleaners.

    Kinda makes you wonder why there are so many complex alternatives like Roundup when plain old vinegar works so well.
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    Maybe, because it doesn't work so well! Not that I like herbicides, though.
     
  3. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    Hot sunny day, 7% or higher vinegar works perfectly, within minutes you can see it working, I'm not sure what doesn't work about it.
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years of Activity

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    That it is only a contact herbicide; anything it doesn't touch goes on living. Roundup is translocated through the plant and kills the roots as well. A major difference in many of the worst weeds, which will sprout again from their roots.
     
  5. timbercheap

    timbercheap Member

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    Round up inhibits the production of an essential amino acid in green plants, so as Michael F correctly points out, as a broadspectrum post-emergent herbicide, it guarentees control with one application on almost any target (the exception being some GM crops and a very few number of weed species in areas of multiple crop rotation/yr). The reason glyphosate is in ubiquitous use is because of its efficacy/dollar spent. In fact the UN FAO labeled this chemical one of the 20 most imporant agricultural discoveries of the 20th century, leading to huge increases in tonnes/ha of food production.
     
  6. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    Round up works, no question, but it's a lot more expensive and the vinegar works well on everything I've tried it on and it's cheap enough to respray a few times for the more resistant weeds that need time without leaves to kill the whole plant. The other issue a lot of people are facing in eastern Canada and increasingly elsewhere is municipalities are banning traditional herbicides and pestisides.
     
  7. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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    Another part of it is that it (the vinegar available at the market) isn't registered with PMRA as a herbicide hence it cannot be sold as such. Excepting the product Ecoclear (active ingredient listed as Acetic acid, I think its 10%) which has been hit and miss in regards to wholesale availability.

    http://www.pmra-arla.gc.ca/english/aboutpmra/about-e.html
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    Re-application of glyphosate is often needed with perennial weeds. This is not due simply to operator error as application directions mention this. In practice there also seems to be an inherent problem with drift injury to adjacent non-target plants, some common ones such as roses and grapes being especially susceptible.

    And some locally common target plants such as creeping buttercup and Himalayan blackberry are not effectively controlled, except in the latter case during a comparatively narrow window in fall. Even then re-spraying is expected to be necessary.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2008
  9. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    Well that's all very interesting but 7% Vinegar and a bit of dish soap are working perfectly for me when applied in the hot sun on a dry day so I'll skip the ecoclear and the glyphosate / round up as unnecessary since I can get the pickling vinegar easily enough and it's relatively cheap.
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    Myself I wonder what effect repeated applications of highly acidic materials to garden soils will have on release of toxic materials like heavy metals and the condition of the soil microflora and microfauna.
     
  11. C8luvs2gardn

    C8luvs2gardn Active Member

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    Thank you JCardina for a great idea! I tried it out on my patio and it worked like a charm! It is almost impossible to pull up the weeds growing in the gaps between the pavers, so I tried the vinegar & dish soap solution and within an hour everything was shriveled up and brown. Everything that is except the wild woodland violets - I've got them everywhere, and yes including in the garden. Problem is they come up everywhere and I only have room for so many.

    The best part of this weed solution is that I didn't have to worry about letting the cat and dog out (or being able to sit out there myself!), so thanks again for a 'green' solution to the weed problem.
     
  12. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    You're welcome. I've been using it all over and there are a very few things it doesn't work on but all the most common annoying lawn weeds it does. I've perfected the mix and use an ounce of dish soap per gallon of 7% pickling vinegar and one of those garden sprayers you pump up and set the sprayer wand to a very fine mist.

    I thought I would have to re-treat the dandelions with their long tap roots but we're in a drought right now and it's hot and sunny and all the dandelions I sprayed have yet to come back at all.

    Cheers!
     
  13. jimweed

    jimweed Active Member

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    I think I would stick with Round Up after reviewing some MSDS sheets. Seems Acetic Acid is slightly more toxic to the soil as well as fish, and has a dermal exposure value 5 times more toxic to humans and pets then Glyphosate. Even oral exposure is almost twice as toxic. For the health of my pets I would use Round Up any day.
     
  14. Analogdog

    Analogdog Active Member

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    I tried the use of 1qt vinegar, 1 cup salt, and 1/2 cup detergent on dandelions in the cracks in my driveway, and as advertised it killed all the leaves dead. Unfortunately the leaves are now resprouting, and I will need to reapply. Grass in the cracks appears deader than a doorknob.

    In the lawn it appears to have killed the dandelions dead, without leaving a significant kill radius. 999 more to go.....
     
  15. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    Yeah right, 7% vinegar is pretty toxic in oral exposure, look at all those poor souls who die every year simply by eating pickles they bought in their local grocery store. Someone should really do something about that...think of the children.. ;)

    Do you work for the Round Up people or something, this is the worst hogwash I've seen online in at least an hour. :)
     
  16. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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    >Yeah right etc.<

    Is everyone here now talking about the same kind of vinegar?
     
  17. JCardina

    JCardina Active Member

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    Well it's my thread and I've stated repeatedly Pickling vinegar 7% acetic acid. Nothing labelled "vinegar" comes much stronger than that which I've ever seen. The poster might be referring to pure laboratory grade acetic acid for all I know but if they are they should probably step away from the keyboard and learn how to read and comprehend first.
     
  18. jimweed

    jimweed Active Member

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    Well JC since you put it that way, I do prefer vinegar on my french fries instead of Round Up. But it doesn't change the facts of science or what the MSDS sheets say. Has there ever been anyone poisoned by Round Up?
     
  19. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years of Activity

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  20. jimweed

    jimweed Active Member

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    Actually I was referring to the registered use of Acetic Acid as a herbicide "Ecoclear" it is 25%, but when mixed at 1 to 3 ratio with water it is still applied at about 8%. Sorry if I offended your use of 7%.
     
  21. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years of Activity

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    for some reason I recollect the ready to use Ecoclear at the garden stores at 10%. I find it annoying when forum members attack one another when the proven and posted science shows clear discussion and facts. If we argue on the premise that someone in the loop is lying its all heresay and in the long run, immaterial.

    FWIW I dont think you 'own' a thread when you start it, thats kind of odd logic. Does the fact that someone started a thread mean that no one can post an alternate opinion?
     
  22. Concern

    Concern Member

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  23. crownjohnsons

    crownjohnsons New Member

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    it is hard to believe vinegar is so effective but I always prefer natural pest control methods. They are pretty safe.
     
  24. Gardener1

    Gardener1 Active Member

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    Amazing post, thanks a lot for the tip
    i had been looking for a good cheap weedkiller forever and this will do just fine
    thanks again
     
  25. jimweed

    jimweed Active Member

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    Wow, I have never read such crap in my life. And to think that someone might actually believe this... is scarey.

    Glyphosate is made from Glycine and Phosphate:

    Glycine:( Glycine is utilized in human body to help construct normal DNA and RNA strands) ref..(http://www.aminoacidsguide.com/Gly.html)
    Phosphate:Phosphates are chemical compounds that are found in the human body and throughout the natural world. ref...(http://www.livestrong.com/article/4...f-phosphates-in-the-human-body/#ixzz2QAJNSb8m)

    Without these compounds already in your body...well, good luck.

    Andre Leu, you took the true scientific facts and completely reversed them. For anyone who is interested in some Glyphosate facts, well...just think pretty much the exact opposite of what Andre says, and you will have your facts.

    Sorry Daniel I hope this is not offensive, I just had to voice my opinion. When I read that link I just had to respond.

    Hope all is well Daniel, Paul, Ron B, Micheal, Douglas, it has been a while, cheers...Jim.
     

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