Weeds are perhaps the worst gardening challenges avid home gardeners encounter. These stubborn plants grow anywhere and are hard to eliminate from your green zone. Perennial weeds die in the fall but thrive with new growth in spring. They reproduce by seeds and may even spread by stems and root systems.
You cannot expect to pull them out with your hand, even if you have a small gardening space. Using chemicals is an option, but they contain toxins that can harm healthy plants and people. It’s a tricky situation as chemicals seem to be the only feasible way to get rid of weeds, but they have evident health risks.
Fortunately, you don’t have to get down on your knees and break your back for long sessions of weed pulling. You can explore several natural alternatives to grow a weed-free garden without harming your greens, health, and the environment.
Before digging deep into the solutions, you need to be aware of the culprits and the harm they can cause.
Chemical Weed Killers: How Dangerous They Can Be
Although herbicides like Roundup are widely used in commercial agriculture and gardening, there are no doubts regarding the harm they can cause. In March 2023, a federal judge passed a settlement involving 230,000 Roundup claims from people seeking compensation against manufacturers. The claim is based on the fact that the manufacturers failed to provide a cancer warning label.
Earlier in 2020, the Roundup lawsuit payouts and settlement amounts touched a massive $10 billion as Monsanto/Bayer resolved more than 100,000 lawsuits. The active ingredient glyphosate is the primary culprit inducing severe consequences such as cancer, specifically non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
TorHoerman Law notes that anyone developing cancer or other diseases due to Roundup use may be eligible for compensation. However, it is vital to consult a Roundup specialist lawyer to assess your eligibility and start a claim against manufacturers.
Here is a list of potential hazards of chemical weed killers like Roundup:
- Human health risks, from mild ones like allergies, nausea, and headaches to life-threatening conditions such as cancer and neurological problems
- Residue in food, making it harmful for human and animal consumption
- Environmental hazards such as water pollution, soil contamination, and resistance development
- Harm to beneficial soil organisms, insects, butterflies, and birds
Getting Rid of Weeds Naturally
Now that you know how hazardous chemical weed killers can be, you will surely want to know about organic methods and alternatives. Here are a few tips to eliminate weeds from your garden without using chemicals:
Invest in Soil Solarization
A preventive, organic method, soil solarization uses radiant heat from the sun to kill weeds even before they sprout. But you need to invest extra effort in re-landscaping the weed-filled patch to minimize the hassle of weed control in the long run. The process requires covering the affected area with clear polyethylene mulch or tarp to trap solar heat in the soil.
Use Garden Mulch
Mulching is an effective, natural method to prevent weed growth in your garden without using a bit of chemicals. The best part is that the option is accessible because most home gardeners already have it on hand. Applying a two to four-inch layer around your plants is good enough to suffocate weeds trying to grow in your garden.
Try Natural Weed Killers
You may want to settle for chemical herbicide as a shortcut if soil solarization seems like a lot of work and mulching doesn’t help. There are natural alternatives that can reduce weeds and ensure a thriving green space.
- Boiling water is the easiest way to get rid of unwanted plants. Stubborn plants require regular watering with boiling water, so be ready for multiple trips indoors.
- Vinegar is a natural herbicide you can trust to keep garden weeds at bay. Use a spray bottle or pump sprayer for accurate application because you don’t want to harm the surrounding plants.
- Create a natural herbicidal soap with equal parts vinegar and dish soap and spray it on the affected areas. You can add table salt to make the concoction extra-effective, but you should use it sparingly only on stubborn weeds.
The Bottom Line
Besides using these chemical-free weed-killing techniques, you must watch out for these culprits and pull them out every time you spot them. A healthy, weed-free garden should be a priority, but not at the cost of your health.
Avoid using quick fixes with chemical herbicides because they can be toxic to your health, garden, and surroundings. Ensure that you don’t have them on your gardening equipment list because they don’t deserve a place in your home.