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Natural weed killers

I am looking for effective, alternative weed killers that do just that, but don't harm or pollute.  We have read using boiling water will kill the foliage but not the roots and that a mixture of vinegar, salt and washing up liquid is effective.  Has anyone tried this mixture and would you recommend it, or do you know of any other alternatives please.  We have unwanted plants (not all weeds) growing in our gravel driveway which we would like to dispose of, I have managed to remove at least 50% of them, but the rest are well rooted in. Thanks


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 20,397
    Vinegar, salt and washing up liquid is what people have been using in France for drives now that Gylphosate is no longer available. Not suitable for where you want to plant though. I haven't used it yet but friends say it works. I don't know in what proportion. They said they bought vinegar in DIY places, not supermarkets.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 4,053
    Any solution of the above strong enough to kill deep rooted weeds will surely harm/pollute the soil and organisms???
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,299
    My sister has  place in Spain where diesel is used as a weedkiller on gravel drives
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,137
    That must be pongy 😱
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 33,299
    Lyn said:
    That must be pongy 😱
    I suppose the heat makes any surplus evaporate
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,850
    I'm not trying to be clever or rude, but what do you mean by "natural", GD?  And by a weed killer which doesn't "harm or pollute"?  Washing up liquid isn't exactly natural... just look at the list of ingredients!  And vinegar and salt are both chemicals (acetic acid and sodium chloride).  Salt kills many creatures and is used for that purpose (as a slug killer) by some gardeners.  You might get away with using them on gravel, but how do you know what combination is safe?  And how do you know they won't leach through the soil to contaminate nearby areas?

    I've just Googled vinegar and plants.  It can indeed burn off the top growth of plants, but only at stronger concentrations than household vinegar.  If you use the 20% strength (which may be the sort you get at DIY places), it's more effective, but only on annual weeds - it won't kill the roots.  In addition, it is very caustic if you breathe in the fumes - so not exactly harmless.  

    My grandfather hoed his gravel once a week... labour-intensive but effective.   And natural, and harmless.  :)
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,555
    I agree with Liri.   Noting "natural" about weedkillers because chemiclas will harm other organisms.  That leaves pulling by hand, digging with a fork, barriers to light so they can't photosynthesise or hoeing and "off with their heads" so the roots eventually give up from starvation.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • I have weeded the driveway in the past, the driveway is gravel set into a plastic mesh which holds the gravel in place, often seen in business car parks. Hoeing is out of the question for this layout.  For the first 3 or 4 years handweeding was adequate, but I can no longer manage it, and OH says he won't hand weed but is willing to use weed killer which of course I am against using for all the reasons stated above.  However we read about this vinegar alternative to Glysophate which seemed like a more natural substitute. 
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,137
    In our garden centre they’ve got weed killer for sale which says without glyphosate, I wonder what that is?  Must have a look next time I’m that way. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 3,601
    I was going to suggest one of these heat devices - a modern form of flame-thrower, but with plastic, that may not be possible. I think your problem is a real warning to any of us who might be thinking of ways to retain gravel paths and driveways. Work out how to keep it weed and debris-free first.
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