If you have ever owned or cared for a lawn, you must have faced the issue of getting rid of unsightly and unwanted weeds that seem to multiply out of nowhere. Weeds can take a heavy toll on the overall health and beauty of the garden spread, sometimes inducing serious damage to the soil too.
Pulling out a few weeds every day isn’t a bad idea but when the weed count gets overwhelming, you need to get proactive and come up with an effective weed control plan. In this discussion, we discuss the role of simpler, household weed killers like salt.
Using household weed killers like salt
Most of us are drawn to the lure of using commercial weed killers that contain potent chemicals. These work great on any unwanted growth in your lawn but the problem with these chemical herbicides is that some of them are costly and many can prove harmful to the lawn’s flora in the long run. This situation calls for a home-made remedy—something easily available, inexpensive and hassle-free like salt!
Does salt kill weeds?
As strange as it sounds, salt is an effective weed killer if used properly. It works simply by dehydrating the plant and disturbing its internal water balance, ultimately killing it. Using salt as herbicide depletes the soil of its nutrients, making it unsuitable for growing any plants over next few years. Therefore, it is advisable to use salt only for small scale or large scale weed control projects with the intent to not plant any flora in the treated soil area for some time.
Sodium chloride vs sodium chlorate
Sodium chloride is the chemical name for salt and sodium chlorate is a previously legal ingredient which was used in commercial weed killers. Sodium chlorate is made by producing electrolysis reactions between sodium chloride and water at high temperatures in a process called chloralkali. It’s a non-selective herbicide and was used to kill weeds in a variety of areas including ditches, roadsides, and along fences.
In 2009 the European Commission voted against the use of sodium chlorate in their list of accepted herbicides. This was in part due to the fact that sodium chlorate was a highly explosive chemical and had detrimental health effects if digested.
Recipe for using salt as a weed removal agent
Using salt as a substitute for chemicals herbicides is a cost effective and easy. To start, take table/rock salt and water in a 3:1 ratio and mix until the salt dissolves. The quantity of salt can be increased gradually until the salt starts affecting the target plant and the solution begins eliminating the weed.
Adding a bit of white vinegar and dish soap increases the effectiveness of this mixture. Vinegar and soap bring down the water’s surface tension, allowing it to be absorbed by the plant more easily.
Salt might be cheap but can be an effective weed killer to remove unwanted plants in areas such as your garden, pavement, and lawn. Extreme care should be taken while using it on weeds as it can kill your desirable plants too. We suggest using a funnel when applying this solution as it prevents splattering on other plants. Once applied; water the weeds and any nearby plants as this will help mitigate the damage caused by salt water and force the salt to seep down to the roots of the plants.
Some precautions must be taken while using salt as a weed killer. You should never pour salt directly on the ground as it can damage the soil and all the plants around the weeds.
This soil will not be able to support any kind of plantation for a longer period if it is repeatedly exposed to salt in such a callous manner. The best practice is to use diluted salt and apply it directly to the weeds. Also, make sure you do not run the salt in your eyes or ingest it, as it can harm your health.
Most seasoned gardeners will opine that for the occasional problem of seasonal weeds, salt can be a handy way out. However, if you are facing a chronic expanse of weed, you might want to explore stronger, more established weed killers.
For a similar article featuring homemade herbicides read, does bleach kill weeds?