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3 Ways to Kill Weeds Without Chemicals

Photo by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/78428166@N00/">Tony Alter</a>/Flickr/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">Creative Commons</a>
Photo by Tony Alter/Flickr/Creative Commons

If you feel like you're not winning the war against weeds in your yard, you may be tempted to throw in the towel and resort to those evil bottles of Roundup.

But wait!

There are natural solutions to getting rid of weeds without the poison, and they can be found right in your own home.You don't have to pull them, and you don't have to eat them (though purslane and dandelion greens are delicious and highly nutritious in their own right).

These methods work best on weeds that pop up in the corners and cracks of your yard, or weeds that cover a large expanse of property. The occasional weed that appears in your vegetable beds or among your grass is still dealt with best by pulling (so as not to harm the surrounding greenery).

1. Boiling water
Pour a pot of boiling water directly on top of the offending weeds. Within days, that scalding water will make even the toughest plants start to shrivel. This makes great use of the leftover water from boiled pasta, so save water and dump it into out into your yard, not down the drain.

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2. Vinegar
For weeds with long taproots, like dandelions and dock, vinegar is an effective remedy for removing them. Douse the soil with enough vinegar to reach the roots, and within days they'll be DOA. This is an especially good method for killing weeds in between the cracks of your driveway. You can also use the leftover brine from vinegar-based pickles; just make sure it doesn't leach into the root zones of plants you actually want to keep around.

3. Newspaper or cardboard
If you have a large space, like a side yard or pathway, that needs to be weeded and covered, smothering your weeds is a foolproof way to eradicate them easily. Lay down thick panels of cardboard (or several sheets of newspaper) over the areas you want to cover, then add a few inches of mulch on top. The lack of sunlight will eliminate all low-growing weeds (like clover and crabgrass) and keep weed seeds from sprouting. Since the materials are paper-based, they'll biodegrade naturally into your soil over time. The mulch will not only protect your soil from moisture loss and erosion, but also prevent any weeds from popping up in the future. Click here for our handy guide to organic mulch.

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