When the weather warms up in spring, flowers begin to bloom, grass starts to grow and so do the weeds. Most gardeners run to the local garden center to purchase chemical weed killer. Those products work quickly and efficiently, but they also put chemicals into our lakes and streams, and they're hazardous to our health.
Pull the Weeds
Perennial weeds return year after year unless they're removed by the roots. These weeds have underground runners and a taproot. Since the weed runners can grow 2 to 3 feet from the plant, you have to dig deep to eliminate it. Pulling on the plant itself will break the taproot and the weed grows back. A handy weeding tool sold at garden centers has two prongs on the end. Push it deep down into the soil next to the root and pry the weed up out of the ground. Assuming you get all of the root, pulling weeds is the only 100 percent natural treatment.
If you don't feel like pulling weeds, try pouring white distilled vinegar on them. Grandma used vinegar before chemicals were invented. The acetic acid in the vinegar draws out the moisture from the weed, killing it. Some sources insist that vinegar isn't reliable, because it doesn't kill the main root, and the weeds return. It's worth a try and less toxic than chemicals.
Vinegar and Soap
Try 1 gallon of white distilled vinegar mixed with 2 oz. of liquid detergent. This also kills weeds quickly, and some claim it's more reliable than vinegar alone.
Salt works the same way on weeds as vinegar does: it draws out the moisture. Salt kills weeds and the roots as well, but it also kills other plants it comes in contact with, and remains in the soil for a long time. If your goal is to get rid of the weeds to plant a new lawn, use salt carefully and sparingly.
Boiling water does work to kill weeds and their roots. If you have a forest of weeds in your lawn, this might be more hassle than it's worth. Although, if you don't mind running back and forth from kitchen to yard with a pot of boiling water, go ahead. Keep the pets, kids and grandma indoors to avoid serious injury.
Weeds thrive on light. When you cut the lawn too short, exposed weeds thrive in the sunlight. Set your lawn mower as high as possible and weeds will slowly die due to the lack of light.