Gardening Advice

How to Get Rid of the Weeds in the Lawn Without Killing the Grass

damiangretka /

There is no doubt that weeds are the biggest problem that could make an otherwise perfect lawn look poorly maintained. They develop quickly and before you know it, they are already stealing the soil’s nutrients and getting in the way of the grass’ proper growth.

But how can you get rid of the weeds without harming the grass? We are glad you asked! Because we know of a few tricks you can try to make the pesky intruders disappear.

Table of Content:

Natural ways to kill weeds without harming the grass

Chemical weed killers are a dime a dozen. A main concern among lawn owners, though, is the effect these chemicals have on the environment and the residue that will be left after treatment. If you are also worried, then testing eco-friendly home remedies for permanently getting rid of weeds is worth a try. Unlike chemical products, though, take into consideration the fact that these may take more time to work and may not give the expected results with specific types of weeds.

Killing weeds with vinegar

Vinegar can serve many purposes around the house. It is considered a toxic-free cleaning alternative and it can help you kill off the weeds in the lawn the same way it helps you remove germs.

Remember, though, that it’s best to stick to white vinegar, which is broadly distributed in stores. The most suitable product to help you get rid of weeds naturally should contain 3% to 5% acetic acid. Due to its acidic properties, though, it needs to be applied carefully and in the right manner, so it does not harm the soil.

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Stronger vinegar with up to 20 % acetic acid, also known as horticultural vinegar, is available, too. While you may be tempted to use it because it looks stronger and, therefore, should provide more effective weed control, better reconsider. It can be dangerous for both your health and the environment because of its corrosive power.

It is better to test with the less aggressive vinegar. And once you get it, here is what you have to do next:

  1. Get an empty and clean spray bottle.

  2. Pour the vinegar in. You can mix it with water or add soap, as vinegar and 1-2 tablespoons of dish soap could be an even more effective weed killer.

  3. Stir well until the ingredients blend.

  4. Apply the natural solution to the weeds’ covered area, but be careful not to get it on the grass or the soil itself. Just cover the plant you want to remove. Apply it only when there is a dry and sunny weather forecast for at least a few days since this will speed up the drying process. This will also give you peace of mind that rain will not wash off the vinegar solution and transfer it into the soil.

  5. Check the results in a few hours and follow up with more spraying if needed.

  6. Remove the weed when it’s dead.

The amount of weed-killing mixture you prepare will depend on the ground you need to cover. After a few hours the weeds should begin to dry, changing their colour from green to yellow. Keep in mind, though, that several treatments may be required before the weed is dead for good.

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Using boiling water to kill weeds

This is a considerably harmless way to tackle those pesky green intruders in your lawn. Pouring hot water on the weeds also qualifies as the cheapest option, since all you need is plain H2O.

The boiling water method is most convenient for killing large patches of weeds since it’s not always easy to stop the water from spreading to the grass. The liquid will not harm the soil but could still kill some grass blades in proximity. If that happens, consider planting new seeds on the spot.

Once you boil enough water, try pouring it on the weed’s leaves, as well as the stem. However, seeds that are already in the ground will hardly be affected by the water. If you see new weeds emerging in the same area, make sure you remove them before they have a chance to grow and take over your lawn.

Since this is hot water, be extra careful not to get any of it on yourself. Keep your hands and feet covered and as far away as possible when treating the weed-affected area.

Water can kill weeds in another form – as steam. For the purpose, you will need a gardening machine with steaming power. Thanks to the powerful stream flow it produces, the weeds turn from green to black pretty fast. However, this is a more suitable method for treating paved areas, large weed-infested areas or just the weeds in the edges of your lawn.

Pulling weeds by hand

Hand plucking is the easiest, cost-free and efficient method to prevent an infestation. Usually done during soil preparation, this is without a doubt also the safest way to enjoy a weed-free lawn. While you may not be very excited about it at first, in time you may find out that this is actually beneficial for both you and your lawn. In fact, hand weeding is considered a stress-relieving activity by many gardeners. 

It is important to take those weeds out the moment you see them grow. While it may be hard and it may take you more time, you have to be careful and take the whole weed out, roots and all. This will guarantee the efficiency of this method.

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The chemical way to remove grass weeds without killing the lawn

FrankHH /

If you are set on trying some specialised products for eliminating the unwanted plants in your lawn, then you will need the right herbicide. There are basically two types:

  • Selective herbicides – These are meant to kill specific kinds of weeds. Such are the broadleaf herbicides, which provide control over dandelion, bindii, clover and the likes.
  • Non-selective herbicides – As the name suggests, these are more generic products. They can kill everything and usually work down to the root.
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Preventive measures to keep the weeds away

Once you get the weeds out, they’d better stay out. For that to happen, though, you will have to pay attention to your lawn regularly and take measures early. Some of the things you can do include:

  • Fertilising twice a year – This will guarantee that your grass will stay strong and be less likely to develop weeds. The process is best done either early in the spring, when the grass is waking up, or in autumn when the lawn is going into dormancy.
  • Applying the proper weed control products –  The success of a weed killer depends on your ability to choose and apply it at the right time. It all comes down to pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides. The first ones are meant to block germination of the weed seeds, while the latter are meant to kill already existing weeds. Some of those are even combined with fertilisers, so your lawn can benefit even more from the application. If you are looking for an organic pre-emergent weed killer, you can give corn gluten meal a try.  
All weed killing products are available in the specialised store. We suggest that you consult with someone if you are having doubts about a product’s efficiency and suitability for your lawn. You can always get a lawn care specialist in the area to inspect your lawn and take care of a weed situation or another issue for you.
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  • Vinegar may be a natural weed killer, but you have to be careful what kind you use. Stick only to milder products with 3%-5% acetic acid. 
  • Before opting for chemical weed control, make sure you have the right products. Keep in mind the following things: what’s the type of weed, are you tackling full-grown weeds or taking care of the seeds, too. 
  • The most certain way to always have a weed-free lawn is to give it your attention and care regularly. Having a busy schedule doesn’t always leave much time for it, but having a reliable and skilled lawn care professional at your disposal can make a difference.  

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