Weed killers are an essential tool in any gardener's toolbox. Weeds rob plants of nutrition, light and are generally unattractive in a garden or lawn. Besides pulling weeds by hand, there are weed killing solutions to consider. The big decision is whether to use an organic or chemical-based, such as a herbicide, weed killer.
Herbicides are chemical-based solutions, such as MCPP and 2, 4-D postemergent herbicides that kill weeds after they sprout and dicamba,which kills weeds before and after they sprout. The chemicals in the herbicides are absorbed into the plant, moving through it and disrupting its growth, killing it, according to “The Complete Idiot's Guide to Gardening,” by Jane O'Connor and Emma Sweeney. Make sure you follow label directions exactly when applying a chemical herbicide.
Industrial vinegar distilled to 10 to 20 percent acetic acid has shown to be an effective organic weed killer. If this type of vinegar is unavailable, Jerry Baker of “Green Grass Magic,” recommends combining a tablespoon each of white vinegar, baby shampoo and gin in a quart of warm water and spraying directly onto the weed, being careful not to spray surrounding plants. If the weed is stubborn, use cider vinegar instead of the white vinegar.
Corn Gluten Meal
Corn gluten meal, which is a byproduct of the production of both corn syrup and cornstarch, has been shown as an effective organic pre-emergent weed killer of annual weeds such as dandelions and crabgrass, according to the Capital District Community Garden. The corn gluten meal contains both protein and nitrogen and is used as a filler for pet food and as feed for chickens and cows. To ensure effectiveness, any purchased feed to be used as a weed killer must contain, at the very least, 60 percent corn gluten meal.