Why I {Almost} Screamed at My Neighbor (plus Easiest DIY Weed Killer Recipe)

Natural Weed Killer - Super simple and No Toxins!!!

Confession time. I can get pretty worked up when I see folks polluting the environment and thinking it means nothing.

What’s a little RoundUP here? Or a little toxic chemical house cleaning stuff dumped down the drain, right?

I mean, I get it. I need grace too. It took me awhile to quit eating sugar (read What is Candida-The Beginning of My Sugar-Free Life) but chemicals have ALWAYS bothered me.

I’ve never done well around perfum-ey cleaners, personal care products (like ultra-stinky hairspray [see my Alcohol-Free Hairspray that Works to see what I use now], cigarettes, or any such chemical nasty offenders.

I clearly remember walking through the perfume department of malls, or the detergent and house cleaner aisles of grocery stores, feeling like I was going to a faint.

You too?

Truth is, there are so many toxins in the world that it is making a HUGE impact on our environment.

And on our health.

I wrote about it some in Could You Have Heavy Metal Poisoning and Not Know It? and Candida, My Childhood, and 5 Causes of Gut Dysbiosis.

That’s why I pretty much refuse to use any chemical or otherwise toxic product on myself–or in our home.

So back to my “anger problem.”

Last week was one such time that the urge to scream nearly overtook me. I was driving down the road (with my sons in the backseat) that I really almost screamed at a neighbor.

He was standing there, in his driveway, seemingly inconspicuous to other passersby—

But to me, he was a health hazard.

Unleashing his poison on the world.

And on my family.

One spray at a time.

There he stood, aerosol can in hand, spraying his driveway weeds.

They had to go, right? So that can was the way to do it.

I slowed down when I saw him, and with each spray I could feel myself getting more and more frustrated.

I wished I had a camera in hand to use him as a feature in this blog post, but alas, the camera was at home.  (good thing for him, eh :)?)

My kids are used to me and my “non toxic thinking.”

Me: “Ugh – look at that!”

Boys: “What, Mom?”

Me: “That guy is spraying his weeds with that icky stuff! Doesn’t he know what that will do to the environment?!”

I almost screamed. But I didn’t. I’m sure my boys were glad about that.

Yes, I get frustrated about this stuff.  The toxins that are being spewed willy-nilly into our environment and onto our food with rarely a thought about the consequences we are going to have to pay for this.

The price tag is big, folks.

Cancer. Autism. Autoimmune disorders. All of these have toxins as part of their cause. I am convinced of that.

And the research says it too.

So–what’s a natural crunchy “paranoid about toxins” mom supposed to do about Driveway Weeds?

Let ‘em grow and deal with frustrated neighbors and shame about the progressively more shabby appearance of your driveway?

Nope. There’s a better way.

And it’s super simple.

Sadly, our driveway weeds had gotten pretty out of control. You can see it just fine in the top photo, but here’s a clear shot without the title so you can get the full impact.

Natural Weed Killer - Super simple and No Toxins!!!

Driveway being overcome with weeds–Eek!

Yes, I was getting pretty embarrassed. My driveway looked like the beginnings of a giant Chia Pet. Sigh.

I did a bit of research about driveway weeds (you can imagine that Google and I are pretty good friends, huh?) and found out a few things:

1.  Don’t try to pull the weeds out.  You likely can’t get the roots out and they will just grow deeper and stronger. Not at all what we want, righto?
2.  There are a bunch of recipes for killing the weeds. I tried one that looked the most promising, and it worked, but I found something easier and cheaper.

Here’s how I got rid of the weeds in my driveway.

No aerosol can.

No toxins.

And it was kind of fun too :) !

Natural Weed Killer - Super simple and No Toxins!!!

Driveway Weeds getting pretty brown. Might need spraying again.

Natural Weed Killer - Super simple and No Toxins!!!

Check out the length of the roots on these babies! Pull gently to get the whole thing out!

 

I must say, I am thrilled with how much better our driveway looks now.

The weeds are gone and so is the embarrassment.

 

Natural Weed Killer - Super simple and No Toxins!!!I mean, my family is more important than how our house and driveway look, but I still prefer it not look totally neglected, you know?

What natural weed-killing techniques have you used?

Shared at The Nourishing Gourmet.

Comments

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  1. We were doing some landscaping and wanted to put down weed cloth and mulch, be needed to kill off the grass first. I told my hubby that vinegar would do it, so he proceeded to go to a small grocery store and buy ALL of their gallons of vinegar! The clerk was a bit confused, and he just said something about vinegar being good for cleaning and stuff. I was glad that vinegar isn’t an ingredient for bombs or something destructive, because I think he would have raised some red flags. ;)

    And the vinegar worked wonderfully.

    • We might have to do the same thing! Did you have to adjust the pH of your yard before you did the work? Hi Kristen, by the way!

      • Hi Adrienne! :)

        We didn’t do anything with the pH. My husband just wanted to kill everything green in places where it is hard to mow so that we could put down weed cloth and then mulch. I want to stick some flowers in there, maybe next year, but I have no clue how long the effects of the vinegar will remain! Maybe then I’ll have to check pH?

        • Got it. We are thinking about reseeding the whole lawn so it’s a different issue.

        • just a tip…a super easy way to kill grass is to thrown a thick layer of compost down righ tover the top of it. The grass dies and mulches right into the ground…works like a charm for me and all the people I have shared this tip with…no one can believe it is so easy!

          • Nice! Someone just shared that boiling water would be cheaper than the vinegar. Obviously compost is pricey and maybe harder to do – did you have a good source for inexpensive compost? I think we have a source for manure but that might take awhile too!

            • I order froma local garden company…in BULK!! And if I need less than a unit for free delivery, I coordinate to have other neighbors share with me!

  2. We’re so much alike! I’m always flipping out when I see that RoundUp bottle coming out on our street. Especially when I can smell it in my house when it’s used across the street. I love your weed killer concoction. I’ve been using hot water, which works just great, but it’s time consuming. I have to boil a pot of it, carefully take it out to the driveway, then dump it on the weeds while I’m sure my neighbors watch me out the windows and wonder why I don’t just eat the weeds like I do the ones in my yard. Now, a spray bottle of vinegar water I can handle! As a matter of fact, I have one for housecleaning that I’d be happy to spray on the driveway! Thanks a million – I’m gonna go try this, like, right now.

    • We were doing the hot water for ants. And it bugged me too how long it took.

      My neighbors think we’re nuts. Like one just offered the other day to RoundUp our backyard. No thanks. Yes, his yard is much more gorgeous than ours. But I am trying to get healthy not toxic. Love your post, by the way!

  3. Oh thank you for NOT saying to use salt and/or baking soda! I see that all over the internet and it makes me pull my hair out! Vinegar is a wonderful way to take care of those weeds. My husband, who is a horticulturist, uses vinegar the same way. And my Dad always used a high pressure spray nozzle on his hose to get rid of the weeds in the cracks. Both are a whole lot safer!

  4. LOL! That is so me….I love my neighbors but get so irritated sometimes too! I am the neighborhood hippy, and I am proud to organize yealry compost orders. My garden draws the people in, and then I can TEACH, one baby step at a time! Over half of my neighbors use compost instead of bark now, and now I am working on them getting away from their toxic grass regimes! Plant little seeds…plant little seeds….. (: we’d be good neighbors Adrienne!

    • Sadly we are inundated w/ black walnuts so our garden doesn’t lure anyone in. And we have strict compost laws. Must.be.in.a.professional.bin. I suspect your yard and garden look better than ours :). I so wish we were neighbors. Maybe we need to just keep trying.

      • I do the hole-in-the-ground compost method. Your neighbors (or the authorities) don’t need to know it’s there. Basically, you dig a hole in your garden somewhere, throw in food scraps (no meat or dairy, just plant-based scraps) and lay some sort of cover over it so the neighbors don’t notice the hole. When it’s full, you dig a new hole, using the dirt to cap off the old one. It takes about 2 weeks for the food to turn into dirt, longer for citrus and banana peels. Food stickers NEVER compost, so be sure to remove those. (You can still read the print if you dig them up a year later.)

  5. ps, I use vinegar or my weed torch for the cracks!

  6. I’ve used this vinegar idea before as well. I also like to dump my canning water on weeds in the driveway. Works great!

  7. After I can a batch of whatever or cook up some pasta, I dump the used boiling hot water on the weeds along our paths. Works great and easy to reapply. I concur with Shannon about not using a saline solution. I sheepishly have to admit that I’ve tried that w/hesitation. Glad to see you recommend something better.

    • So is the concern about salt putting too much sodium into the environment? I have heard about concerns about water softeners but is this small amount of concern? I am not saying I want to do it–I just haven’t researched it. Thanks!

      • There are a few concerns with salt, but for lots of folks, one of the concerns is that salt will begin to disintegrate the concrete. Another concern is runoff–both into the wastewater facilities and environment, but also the immediate surrounding area. Use salt on something, and it will die; where the salt runs off, the soil will ruined for anything that you DO want to thrive, such as flower beds along a sidewalk.

  8. Beth Nicoson says:

    I dump water that I used to boil corn on the cob. It works great but of course, there is only so much so I have to be selective on which weeds get the treatment.

  9. Oh girl I hear you, I go through the same thing. I’m glad to hear that vinegar will kill the weeds, my husband has been diluting bleach to kill them. Some how this just doesn’t work for me.

  10. We are surrounded by cornfields full of GMO corn. Guess what…the weeds in our area are Roundup resistant…as is the corn. And you wouldn’t believe the weeds that we’ve had in our yard.

    • Ugh!

      • Yeah, it’s fun. I do love the house…built in 1920, creaky walls and a definite slant to the kitchen floor…would love to pick the whole thing up and move it to my own piece of property and fix it up. It’s not been really cared for in years, to get a decent yard we would have to haul in dirt by the tons, and then sod. It’s a little strip of agricultural area so there is a sod farm down the road and we share a parking lot with their office. So if the sod is not picked up by Sundays…we get it for free :) We could have a great backyard, but as we rent, we’re not hauling in dirt and they will not pay for it either…it could be an amazing yard.

  11. Thanks for this! I was just dealing with the same issue yesterday, and I have found that boiling water works really well, too. We moved into a place with a very weedy yard. Very! Since I am also rebuilding the soil and vinegar is acidic, it wouldn’t make sense to pour vinegar all over the yard, plus it would be very expensive to get rid of all the weeds that way. I’ve taken to pouring boiling water on thistles, as well as on leaves in driveway cracks. It works slightly better on grassy areas than concrete, because the water soaks in more to the roots; however, I was able to yank out a bunch of weeds yesterday after the boiled water. Not that vinegar is expensive, but the boiled water method was essentially free and for us, has the advantage of not messing up our soil pH. Then I can just save vinegar for the rhododenron!

    Thanks for spreading the word about non-toxic options to Round-Up. My dad got non-Hodgkins lymphoma after a summer of Round-Up use — a very common side effect of glyphosate.

  12. Will vinegar work for poison ivy?

    • I would think so:).

    • Mary: I asked my husband about using vinegar to kill off Poison Ivy (He’s a horticulturist) He says it won’t work, actually. He said if you mix it with Orange essential oil it might work because the Orange oil is a solvent and it breaks down the oils on the plants that are harder to get at. Poison Ivy has a lot of oil naturally (that’s where the poison is) so boiling water is also not a good solution to it. Nor is fire. Both of those will spread the poisons further.

      He said once the Poison Ivy is dead, it’ll still be poisonous for at least 2 years. So you need to pull it out using gloves and protective clothing and double bag it before putting it in the garbage.

      My husband says your best control for poison ivy, surprisingly enough, is goats. Yep. Goats. Says to be careful rubbing up against them because the poison will get on their coats so if you rub up against them, it will get on you, but it doesn’t hurt the goats.

      Hope this helps! :)

      • Wow – fascinating! Thanks for sharing! I should talk w/ you to get info for a post!

        • That would be great! I wouldn’t mind. Though I’d likely steer you towards my husband! :D He is really good at that kind of thing.

      • Thank you for the information from your husband. I have heard that goats are great for taking care of the problem. The poison ivy is in my father’s neighbor’s yard though, so goats are out of the question. But it grows along their shared fence, and my sister and my daughter have gotten it from trimming the weeds along the fence. Interestingly enough, both my father and I seemed to be immune, so I guess we will just have to continue to be the ones to pull it up. I might try some orange essential oil though.

  13. I hear you loud and clear! Our next door neighbor regularly sprays Roundup (even while we are outside playing!) on his yard, which is just dirt right now – he doesn’t even have his final grade! One time my son tossed a ball before I could stop him while the guy was spraying and he told me that we had to put it away for 9 days before it deactivates. Another time, his wife was concerned about a rabbit that was hiding under their truck and refusing to move, and I wanted so badly to ask, “Why do you poison them if you love them so much?!” Ugh!!
    Thanks so much for the weed killer recipe! Honestly, as long as my children can play in it and it isn’t dying, I don’t really care how my grass looks – probably a result of growing up with acres upon acres of ‘ugly’ grass that served just fine as a child. But my partner will be happy to have a healthy option for next summer!

  14. Really? Why would you scream at your neighbor? It’s his choice, whether you agree with it or not. Reading through the comment..persnickety? I see ALOT of that here! Hold on, Look at your comments! So unbelievably judgmental! You’d have to be blind not to see just how unfriendly, biased, and intolerant you make yourselves out to be! Wow.

    • Hi “That mom”. First of all, I do appreciate your commenting, but I do not appreciate readers leaving fake names so as not to be accountable for what they say :).

      I am sure you have thought / felt like screaming at folks b/c of things that “hit home” for you. I have a child with autism and believe me, when you find out all that RoundUp and things are doing to the environment, perhaps you will find that you feel like screaming as well.

      Just because someone has a choice doesn’t mean that it can’t make me angry – and that goes for all kinds of “choices”.

      I think that once you are affected w/ health issues and see how they affect your life, and you find out what the toxins are doing, it puts a whole new “spin” on things.

      We are not judgmental, I don’t think. Just aware – painfully aware of what this stuff is doing. People have been sold a bill of good about “food” and having a perfect lawn, etc. when what we really need is to think about how these things are affecting all people and making everyone sick. Have you seen the stats on how much more cancer and autoimmune issues there are these days? It’s crazy.

      Hope to hear from you again :).

  15. Awesome! I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets a little crazy watching people dump chemicals into the world. Love this vinegar, and now I’m going to go weed hunting.

    You know, for science. ;)

  16. Ugh. My neighbor uses roundup and occasionally “helps” us out by spraying ours too – it drives me crazy! But what’s worse, she recently must have sprayed a branch that likes to try to grow out of the base of one of our trees, and now a whole chunk of our tree is dead.

  17. Does it have to be straight vinegar? would diluted work?
    I’m wondering what a farmer could use on his fields to kill weeds or kill off an alfalfa field to replant something else. Seems like it would take too much vinegar for using on a field. Anybody know the answer?

  18. I love this idea!!! My hubby uses Round-Up (sparingly) and I’ve not complained, but if this will work. Bye-bye poison!

  19. I use leftover boiling hot canning water on the cement part of my driveway. But I have more problems with a section that’s made of rocks. The weeds come in very thick there. So I’ve used leftover boiling pickle brine, with the vinegar and salt. I used it sparingly and kept it away from the edges (lawn), but ALL the weeds were browned over and dead within 2-3 hours.

  20. Chris Savant says:

    I am battling nut grass, I go out almost daily and dig around the new sprouts to get the root and nut/s. I’ve used corn meal and now I will try vinegar -side note- the “aborist” told me I’ll need to use gasoline, hence why I used the quote marks meaning I use that term loosely to describe him. Thanks for the tip!!

  21. I have experienced this all my life … and now that I’ve left the country life for a life as a gypsy …. I see it so often. Humans spraying their yard with something. Weed n Feed, Roundup, grass seed, and it’s all harmful …. what is so important about that patch of anything worth killing everything for …. I will march on and never let go of an opportunity to educate …. thanks for the story.

  22. Vinegar did not work for our weeds (they looked more disappointed than dead), but as noted in the comments, boiling water is great for controlling ants. However, you might need to reseed in spots if they are setting up shop in noticeable areas.

  23. Boiling water works too! After making your morning tea, just dump what’s left in the teakettle onto your weeds! Just make sure your bathrobe is tied shut!

  24. We used vinegar, didn’t work. We used a 50# bag on a 2x10ft section, didn’t work. We used boiling water, didn’t work. Nothing ‘natural’ works, period. Other than using a thick, black plastic film and keeping the grass covered for over 6-8 weeks!! But of course, as soon as the cover is removed, weeds grow back.

    • Ummm…what is growing there?

    • I had a large section of weeds that were in a rocky walkway in Colorado. The vinegar just made those weeds laugh. Ha! Ha!.

      But then I applied more vinegar and covered the area in a large plastic sheet (found in the painting section of the hardware store). I weighed the edges down with bricks to prevent air from getting in. 48 hours later, the heat (it was summer) and vinegar did the trick. But it only works if you are trying to do a large area.

      Vinegar doesn’t work on some of those larger, stubborn western weeds. Sometimes you need to double tap. Hot water, then vinegar. Or vinegar and then heat. It takes a lot more work. That’s why it’s so easy to grab that bottle of poison.

  25. Do it on a very hot day with the sun shining. It works better at drying the weeds out & killing them better.

    You can buy 20% acidic vinegar online just for this purpose (killing weeds) and it works faster/better but it costs more.

  26. David Handel says:

    If you add salt to your weedkiller it works even better plus a little bit of detergent.

    I have been using this for years. Great desiccant.

  27. Stephanei says:

    Yes, well first of all it was his property and if you don’t want your neighbors exercising their freedoms then you need to move to a place where you have no neighbors. Your vinegar solution might work on some things but it does not work on everything. Not everyone shares your attitudes and practices and that is one of the things that makes this a wonderful place to live. We have the freedom to use and purchase anything legal, one of which is weed killer, tobacco, alcohol etc. They are deadly but legal. Sorry but just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean you have the right to take it from your neighbors.

    • Hey Stephanei. I wasn’t saying he doesn’t have freedom but I am frustrated at how duped we’ve become as a culture to use and eat chemicals and therefore poison ourselves and the environment. It wasn’t him I was really upset at – but the situation.

      I hope that explains things.

      That being said, more and more it is happening the other way around – that more natural ways are being taken from us, by the government. The FDA is trying to ban supplements (many of which have been banned in other countries), backyard chickens are outlawed (like in my city) and many such things. This is an old post but the info is still valid and it is all still going on: http://wholenewmom.com/reaching-out/fda-to-ban-natural-supplements-in-us/

  28. Every time I’m done with a canner load I empty the boiling water onto the weeds growing in my driveway. Most is concrete and they come up in the cracks. But I have a section that is landscape rocks which tends to grow a lot of weeds. There are patches of brown all over it where the boiling water has been dumped.