Did you know that you can effectively use salt to kill weeds? These tips will help you do it properly and with amazing results!
Well, here we are. Another summer, another chance to try to do a little better job of keeping our huge yard a little more presentable. In the name of honesty, I have to tell you that every year we start out pretty well and but we used to end up failing miserably by the end of the season. We do get a little better every year and we always learn a thing or two! Things like this obvious little trick: using salt to kill weeds. It’s true!
There are a lot of different ways that you can control your weeds without using harsh chemicals, but I have to say that salt has become my favorite for our particular weed problems. We live in an open area where seeds from every weed known to man can blow in and land somewhere on our property. We have weeds hiding pretty much everywhere and of course tons of weeds and wildflowers growing along the banks of the creeks. Getting rid of the weeds altogether is just not an option.
No Time for Yardwork
The biggest problem for us is when we get weeds growing in between the bricks on our walkway or driveway. That can lead to our house starting to look a little bit abandoned and it drives me crazy! The worst part is that we often go for weeks without really having any time at all to dedicate to yard work and things just kind of snowball from there. A few years ago I decided to take what little time I did have for yard work and try to mostly focus on learning how to keep the walkway weed free. Guess what? I’ve actually been pretty successful at it and it’s really making a difference with how our house looks when you pull up into the driveway. Here’s how I did it!
How to Use Salt to Kill Weeds
You absolutely can use salt to kill weeds and get them under control if the problem is already out of control, but if you can prevent them in the first place, even better! The earlier you start with this program in the spring, the better. Actually, you can do things to prevent weeds year-round. If you salt your walkways for the mailman in the winter, you’re preventing weeds! I noticed a huge difference this year in the places that I did a really good job of salting during the winter. In the areas where I didn’t salt, the weeds started to grow and I ended up with something that looked like this after salting in the spring.
It’s better than the green foot-high weeds that were there the year before, but definitely not ideal. If you have something like this, you can pull them out after they’re dead or just wait, and they’ll eventually just crumble away.
Using water along with your salt can really help increase its effectiveness. Certain weeds will react right away to just straight salt, while others seems to need water added before you start to see results. If it seems like your weeds are resisting the salt, add some water and then wait. It might take some time, but it will work! The great thing is that once the salt gets to work, the results last much longer than other natural methods, and even longer than some of the store bought eco-friendly weed killers that I’ve tried. To use water with your salt, first wet the weeds and surrounding area with the hose or a watering can, then apply the salt. Come back a few hours later and give everything a good soaking with the hose. If it’s a day where you know it’s going to rain, even better! Let the rain do the work for you!
Re-Apply Once in Awhile
While using salt is a powerful method, it’s not quite as strong as you might think. I find my results have been lasting for about 3-4 weeks and then I’ll start to see signs of growth again. At that point, I just spot-treat the new weeds. It only takes a few minutes and the re-growth will happen less and less frequently over time.
To Use in Flower Beds
Because this method does prevent any kind of plant from growing, it’s recommended only for areas where you know you’ll never want to plant again, like walkways, driveways, or patios. If you have a really stubborn weed in one of your flower gardens though, you can safely use salt by cutting the top off of the weed and sprinkling about a half teaspoon of salt directly into the weed from the top. Once it’s good and dead, pull it out and almost all of the salt should be removed with it. I’ve also shared a recipe in the past for a homemade weed killer that you can pour right on the leaves of any weeds you want to kill. So that’s a good solution too if your flower bed is really overrun.
Use it Sparingly
Like I’ve mentioned before, you want to use salt to kill weeds and weeds only so you definitely don’t want to use this anywhere that you’ll be wanting to grow flowers, veggies, plants or shrubs in the future. Be mindful of the fact that if you overdo it, you do risk some salt running off of your walkways and into neighboring flower beds and lawns. From my experience, this risk is pretty low as I can almost draw a line on the border of my lawn with the salt and have only the grass that I want to die turn yellow without harming the rest of the lawn, but of course this is with very conservative use and only when necessary! I love the results I’ve been seeing and I love that it fits into my very tight schedule without me having to worry about kids running around in a yard where I’ve used harsh chemicals that may hurt them.
After weighing all of the pros and cons of using salt to kill weeds, and after gaining such a sense of peace of mind now that I’ve learned to manage this problem, I completely recommend you try this out if you have the same walkway and driveway issues that I’ve had! It feels amazing to be weed-free!
Now, if we can just figure out a way for it to take less than three hours to cut our lawn, we’ll be all set! 🙂
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- The Creek Line House Gardening Archives
Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.