We are asked quite often about how we create and use our vinegar weed killer at the farm. Without it, it would be simply impossible to maintain the property.
Over the years, we have created a lot of stone walkways, paths, and brick patios at the farm. Add to that a 400 foot driveway that leads to the barn and garden below, and you have a lot of areas that are prone to weeds.
And that is where vinegar has come to the rescue. It has not only proven to be effective at weed control, but keeps us worry free about using any commercial herbicides.
We are proud to keep our little 3 acre mini-farm organic. It is safer for us, our bees, chickens, and of course, our farm dog Jazzy.
Homemade Natural Vinegar Weed Killer
For our homemade vinegar weed killer, we use a stronger substance called horticultural vinegar. Standard vinegar, the type found in your local supermarket can be used, but is has a much lower acidity rate.
Horticultural vinegar can be purchased with a 20 to 30 percent acidity rate. Store bought on the other hand is usually around 5 percent. If you are simply killing tiny weeds on a patio or driveway surface, the lower acidity versions will work, however you need to use it at full strength.
When weeds are at their peak in spring and early summer, we mix our vinegar weed killer in a ratio of 4 parts horticultural vinegar to 1 part water to keep the acidity level high. If they are especially stubborn weeds, we use it at full strength to take care of the problem.
Once summer comes and weeds slow down, we generally will mix 1 part horticultural vinegar with 1 part water. It keeps the acidity rate of the solution between 10 and 15 percent, which is highly effective at controlling the less aggressive weeds.
With the strong solution, you usually see leaves curl and brown within 8 to 12 hours. With the regular vinegar solution, it can be 24 hours or more to see results. Product Links : 20 % Horticultural Vinegar – 30% Horticultural Vinegar
The Best Time To Spray
When using a solution of vinegar weed killer, the sun and heat are your best friends for effectiveness. Just like flowers and vegetable plants, weeds are most stressed when the sun is shining hot.
For best control, spray weeds in mid to late afternoon on sunny days. This is when plants are most vulnerable, and the vinegar absorbs and kills at a much better rate.
How To Spray
We have a lot of driveway and patio space to cover at the farm, so using a sprayer is a must. One thing nice about using a vinegar or vinegar and water solution is that it is pure liquid, so clogging is never an issue.
For small areas, a simple hand-help pump spray bottle works great. We usually keep one already mixed and ready to go. It is perfect to apply to small weeds that appear here and there.
But for large areas, like our driveway and walkways, we use a pump sprayer. When we first started spraying, we used a 2 gallon pump sprayer. It worked incredibly well, but as we continued to add more and more space, we switched to a backpack sprayer. It holds up to 3 gallons, and pumps with a simple hand motion. It is by far the easiest method to spray large areas. And much easier on the back! Back Pack Pump Sprayer
A Few Words Of Caution
Both regular and horticultural vinegar weed killer solutions are non-specific.That means they will kill whatever they come in contact with. Although it is wonderful for taking care of weeds in sidewalks, walkways, and gravel areas, it is not a good solution for using on the lawn or in compact planting areas.
We have used it a few times in the garden walkways for stubborn weeds, but are careful to make sure the spray never comes near our vegetable plants or growing rows.
Vinegar is a natural acid, so it is important to take precautions to prevent burns to the skin and eyes. Always use goggles and gloves to prevent burns to the eyes or skin. In the end however, I will take spraying a natural substance any day over using man-made chemicals to control weeds at our farm.
Happy Gardening! Jim and Mary. To receive our 3 Home, Garden, Recipe and Simple Life articles each week, sign up below for our free email list. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. This article may contain affiliate links.