I love that our xeriscaped front and back yards don't require a lot of water. What they do require, however, is vigilance when it comes to weeds. Unwelcome green leaves pop up throughout our gravel landscaping during the spring and fall. Without attention they can quickly take over. And then the dreaded letter from the HOA will follow...
For years we've used weed killers like RoundUp to kill weed sprouts. I've never felt great about using RoundUp but for a long time didn't know what else to do. The weeds can be so abundant that physically removing them was too time consuming (although I have discovered a tool that really helps! I'll tell you about that in a minute.). Several years ago I saw recommendations for using vinegar or vinegar solutions to kill weeds. I wanted to try it but life felt so busy and I didn't want to spend time and money on something that might not work. Especially when weeds can take over seemingly overnight. It's a flimsy excuse but there you go.
Well last month I finally, finally made trying a homemade weed killer a priority. And guess what? It's amazing! I wish I had done it years ago! (Blerg!) The solution I'm mixing up not only costs much, much less than commercial weed killers but it's effective and so non-toxic I'm pretty sure you could drink it without getting too sick (although I am not recommending that!!). You definitely can't say that about RoundUp.
I looked at several homemade weed killer recipes and saw many variations of the one I'm using. Here's what I'm doing...
To a one-gallon sprayer I add:
+ One gallon of vinegar
+ One cup of salt
+ One tablespoon of dish soap
To finish, I screw the spray top on and swirl the solution thoroughly to mix it. The recipes noted that it's important that the solution be well-mixed before each use. And that's it! Then I amble through our yard to spot-spray any weeds. I find yard puttering enjoyable and have always kind of liked getting rid of weeds. Now I enjoy it even more because I have the satisfaction of not using commercial weed killer.
Additionally, I have found a weed remover tool that makes physically removing weed fairly easy. It's a long wooden handle with a sharp, two-prong metal fork of sorts on the end. To remove a weed I insert the metal prong next to the weed and turn the tool. The ground is loosened and the weed with the roots either pops up or is easy to grab and remove. Depending on how many weeds we have I'll walk through the yard and physically remove them instead of spraying them.
Maintaining a yard in the desert is quite different from other climates but it seems that everyone deals with weeds. My friend Sherrie in Nova Scotia told me that she has found using straight vinegar to be effective in killing weeds as well as boiling water. Using vinegar only would be an even easier recipe so I might try that next.
Do you have any yard triumphs or weed prevention tips to share? I'd love to hear.