I’m still reveling in the arrival of spring. The apple trees are blossoming, the strawberries have white blooms, and the potatoes and onions are planted. But there is a dark side to spring … the dandelions are prolific! So begins my search for natural homemade weed killers.
I use as little pesticides as possible on our property. This works fairly well except for the brick walkway and the gravel driveway. With these we have to ramp things up a bit.
I recently read that boiling water will kill a weed right down to its roots. Hmmm. Water? That’s about as natural as you can get. I decided to try it.
The first place I have tried it is our brick walkway. Here are some shots from yesterday, before the boiling water experiment:
First, I filled a stockpot with water and brought it to an old-fashioned boil.
The stockpot full of boiling water was too heavy and dangerous for me to carry while it was full, so I used a 4 cup pyrex measuring cup to carry the water outside. I also used a heavy oven mitt and hot pad. Yes, they are a little grungy, but that is what I used.
Before I filled the cup with the boiling water, I made sure the door was unlocked, the path was clear, and the cats were safely out of the way.
Now for the weed killing. I poured about a cup or so of the boiling water right on the center of each plant and on its leaves:
I carried the water in the measuring cup until the stockpot was about half full, then I felt comfortable carrying the entire pot of remaining water at once. I poured the water on all the dandelions in the brick walkway and also had enough to pour on some of the weeds along the edge of the walkway. I heated another stockpot of water and repeated the process on some of the bigger plants on the walkway and also several on the driveway:
Here is what they looked like when I was finished:
All in all I had spent about 10 minutes in the actual application, not including waiting for the water to boil. I did some kitchen cleaning while I was waiting for that.
The Next Day – Natural Homemade Weed Killer Success!
The best part came this morning (the day after the boiling water treatment:
Here is a closer look:
Pretty impressive – weeds killed with plain water.
Nature is impressive, too. Take a close look at the dandelion in the upper left. Note that the determined little weed used it’s last bit of energy to open up it’s seed pod. Unless I pull up that white bloom of seeds, the next wind will scatter a hundred or more dandelion seeds in my yard. What a marvel of species preservation.
You may be wondering about the weeds that were treated along the walkway edge and in the driveway. The boiling water treatment was not quite as effective:
Only one of the dandelions on this edge seems to be brown and dying.
The treatment seemed to get a few more of the driveway weeds, but it appears to me that I may have to treat them again to finish them off. Or maybe I needed to use a lot more water with the initial treatment.
(You may need to click on the picture to get it to display clearly. My preview is showing it a little fuzzy.)
All in all, I am pleased and encouraged with this method. It definitely works well on the brick walkway. It is moderately effective on the driveway, but I will continue experimenting. I do know that anytime I boil water, such as for making spaghetti, I will try to toss the hot water on a patch of weeds in the driveway.
A note of caution: this method will kill the roots of any plant it comes in contact with. So make sure that any plants you want to keep do not have a root system right next to the weed that you are dousing in boiling water.
Of course, you must use common sense and protect yourself and anyone around you from getting burned from the boiling water. Use this method at your own risk. Boiling water will cause severe burns. Be careful!
If you have any effective natural homemade week killer methods or recipes, please share them with us in the comments.
Photos by Patti Tokar -Copyright 2014 – All Rights Reserved