Weeds are also called "invasive plants" because they invade your garden and spread. If left unchecked, a weed infestation can take over an entire yard and turn it into an eyesore.
Many people have trouble dealing with aggressive weeds because the poisons and weed killers that work on the weeds also harm your regular garden plants.
The following are all options you can exercise that will target weeds specifically and leave your other plants safe and sound.
This method is useful if your yard or garden is new and not already established.
Wait for your plants and seeds to start growing, and then treat your lawn to prevent weeds from appearing. Using your hands, broadcast a thin layer of cornmeal over garden and landscaping areas.
The cornmeal prevents seed growth, in this case you're aiming to stop weeds from seeding, so this is why you want to wait before spreading it on the ground. Doing it sooner will stunt the good seeds for your plants. Cornmeal will also attract worms that naturally churn and enrich the soil, so cornmeal is a good idea even if you don’t have a big weed problem.
You probably have a weed killer in your home right this very minute. If not, you can buy one at any grocery store: vinegar.
Get undiluted white vinegar and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray the vinegar directly on the weeds you wish to eliminate, and you'll notice results within hours. Unlike many chemically-created weed killing agents, vinegar is a natural and perfectly safe substance for you, your children, and your pets. Vinegar can be safely ingested (though the taste is rather unpleasant), and it can be touched with bare skin. Vinegar is also affordable when compared with formulated chemical killers.
For best results, spray vinegar during a sunny day with minimal wind. The wind can carry vinegar away from weeds, and that’s not what you want. Vinegar can have adverse effects on other plants, but if you spray weeds directly it will not harm your other greenery or the soil itself.
Vinegar is also an effective way to control garden bugs and pests. Spray it in areas where you’ve seen ants, slugs, or stray cats. The smell will keep them away.
3. Baking Soda
You don't have vinegar on hand? What about baking soda? This is another safe product that can be used for weed control. Spread baking soda directly on weed-ridden areas to make the soil less hospitable to weeds. Baking soda can easily be sprinkled into cracks and crevices where weeds appear, such as sidewalks and driveways.
4. Salt Water
You can also boil two cups of water on the stove and add one cup of salt. Be sure to handle the boiling water carefully as you pour it directly onto weeds.
Plain salt can also be used without the water, but you want to exercise caution with this. “Salting the fields” is known for making the soil inhospitable to plant life of all kinds, so you want to be judicious.
Spread mulch in garden and landscaped areas to smother weed growth. If you notice weeds appearing in these areas anyway, cover the area with newspaper. The newspaper will prevent light and air from getting to the soil, and that will kill weeds.
Don’t cover the plants you want to save.
The best natural way to prevent weeds is to maintain a healthy lawn. Thick, lush grass offers little bare soil that weeds can latch onto. Keep your lawn looking good, and you’ll see a lot fewer weeds.
Eliminate weeds safely by treating them directly and keeping your soil healthy. If you treat the weeds directly, you can get rid of the ones you don't want and save all the others.
Weed Killers that Won't Harm Plants FAQ
Is there a weed killer that won't harm plants?
You have dozens, possibly even hundreds, of different weed-killing formulas to choose from if you notice invasive plants around your property. Many weed killers are formulated to target some plants but not others and will clearly list the plants that are safe from the formula on the label.
What weed killer is safe for plants and flowers?
If you want to find a weed killer that will target invasive plants but leave flowers relatively untouched, look for a formula that uses vinegar or acetic acid, which is the active ingredient in vinegar. Formulas that contain a small amount of this ingredient will burn the tops off of weeds but generally have very little power over plants and flowers that have well-established roots.
Can you put weed killer on flower beds?
Weed killers can be used on flower beds as a preemptive strike to prevent weeds from growing. However, you need to take care to avoid spraying the weed killer near the plants you want to keep in the flower bed.
What home remedy weed killer is safe for plants?
Rather than buying a pre-made formula, you can mix up your own DIY weed killer using about a half gallon of water with a few drops of dish soap and a cup of vinegar. Sprinkle in a half cup of standard table salt.
This weed-killing formula is highly effective for all types of weeds and invasive plants because it will dry them out, but it does not have a big effect on well-established plants with strong root systems.
How do you get rid of grass in flower beds without killing flowers?
If you specifically want to target grasses but leave flowers intact, look for an herbicide that is formulated just for grasses. Be advised, however, that all grassy plants (including ornamental grasses) are also at risk if you spray this herbicide carelessly.