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Seven Deadly Weedkillers: Salt

June 1st, 2009 · 2 Comments

I have been working my way through the Seven Deadly Homemade weedkillers.  I have had various degrees of success with each based on the type of weed that I was using it on.  Bleach and Vinegar both worked but only on the grasses, not on any weed with any substance.  However, I have found one that does work but BEWARE.

Salting the Earth

At the end of the Third Punic War in 146BC, the Romans supposedly sacked the city of Carthage and salted the fields surrounding it thus rendering them unusable.  It’s questionable whether they actually could afford to do this as salt was expensive but you get the idea.  Salting the earth has been used as a method of making earth incapable of growing crops.

You can make your garden a deadzone by sprinkling a pound or two of salt on it.  It definitely works.  I have a small brick patio in front of my door.  It invariably grows every type of grass and weed in between the bricks.  I sprinkled a small amount of salt on the bricks and swept it into the cracks in a small area.  The grass and weeds died in that area.  When it rained, it washed the salt down towards the house and the salt killed the weeds in an area more than twice what I sprinkled.

Salt is NOT something that you want to use in your vegetable or flower garden and I would be hesitant to use any even in a driveway that had a grass border.  It remains to be seen how long it will continue to poison the soil but the Spanish and Portugese used it to punish traitors. I believe it must be effective for quite some time.

These are some things you should know about using Salt as a weedkiller:

  • It is not selective.  It will kill weeds, flowers, vegetables.
  • It lasts and has a cumulative effect. If you spread enough salt on an area to kill stubborn weeds, chances are you will not be able to grow anything else on it either for awhile.
  • It will spread with rain. How much it spreads depends on the amount you use and the rain you get.
  • It is effective.

The bottom line for me is that I will probably continue to use it on the brick patio because I will never grow anything there intentionally.  I would not use it in my garden by either sprinkling it on or spraying it on as it does tend to accumulate and I believe that using enough to kill the weeds would be detrimental to the soil.   I won’t recommend it as a weedkiller because people tend to believe that if a little is good then a lot is better.

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Tags: Gardening

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ViDD // Apr 4, 2010 at 2:31 am

    how much salt did you put down? 1 cup, 1quart? how big an area? 1 square foot, 10 square feet?? thanks!

  • 2 Cindy // Apr 4, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    I used about a half a pound on a 10 square foot area. It did eventually wash away/in and weeds grew back but it took it a good long time. Use with caution.

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