In my FB newsfeed recently, an item appeared about white vinegar being a weed killer. Intrigued by this, I looked further into it across the internets. There I found a number of blog posts about how this works. So, here's another one.
Always on outlook for simple, sustainable and effective ways to work in the garden, and to live my life with the smallest foot print I can, I gave white vinegar a try.
It's NOT a weed killer, rather it's a detriment to the growth of the weed above ground, or any plant that the vinegar lands on. It's not selective, and some plants seem more effected by it than others.
I took some photos to share, but I can't find them. I've been using it for the past 3 weeks in my garden, so the initial impact of how effective it works is no longer evident. I'm impressed. I have 3 sides to my community garden plot that are not being used. The weeds are over grown, it impacts my plot. The vinegar works great ant inhibiting new growth along my fence. It's buying me time to get to these areas with paper and mulch as long term solution.
It does not kill the plant, but it singes the the foliage, and stops the plant from advancing in size. The plant will spend it's energy recovering and regrowing the existing foliage instead of advancing the growth further.
Adding some dish soap is more effective than not, and I found that Proxi brand dish soap works significantly better than Dawn. I had both in my house, so I tried both. The dish soap makes the vinegar sticky, and when spayed on the plant, it stays on the foliage longer than just running off.
Get a spray bottle, and my ratio was 2 tbls. of soap to the 32 ounces in the spray bottle I use. That's it.
The ph in the vinegar has minimal impact on the soil, and in my opinion, in the home garden,or around the house, there is no need to use anything other than the standard 5% acid vinegar sold in supermarkets. I've seen people suggest using pickling vinegar, which has 9% acid, but unless you have it readily available, there is no need to go out of your way to acquire it.
There is a product called horticultural vinegar, and that has 25% acid. That will burn your skin, and it's not necessary for home gardening use in my opinion. Why risk injury to yourself when you don't have to?
Also, it's almost 10 times the price per gallon as the standard, 5% acid vinegar you buy in the supermarket. Keeping the Economy chapter from Walden by Thoreau in mind, the supermarket version is practical and effective.
This post gives you more detailed information about the research going on about vinegar as an organic herbicide. Just think, that hassle of the weeds growing between the cracks of the sidewalk can be taken care of with this simple, sustainable and effective solution.