Shop Products
Houzz Logo Print

Vinegar/Salt Weed Killer

16 years ago

Does anyone have the "recipe" for this natural weed killer?

I believe you also add dishwashing detergent. I don't

know the proportions of each amount. If anyone can post

the recipe and any comments on your experiences using

this solution, I'd really appreciate it! I had a neighbor that used to use this around edging so he didn't

have to use a weed wacker and it really worked great.

Comments (58)

  • JAYK
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Toxicity certainly does relate to non-target effects, although persistance is an additional factor. Toxicity to various organisms differs of course, and these assessments are important in understanding potential impacts. The impact of Roundup, as used on a weed target, on the environment (non-targets, etc.) is typically lower than many other materials, including soaps or detergents adequate to kill or dessicate weeds. Soaps can be very toxic to aquatic organisms in particular, and soap based herbicides need considerable concentration to kill weeds. Of course the surfactant in Roundup formulations presents similar impacts, however they are needed in far lower concentration to do their job. Neither should be used where there is a potential for the material to enter streams, ponds, or wetlands.

    And while the glyphosate active ingredient in Roundup takes longer to break down than most soaps or surfactants, it is tightly bound to soil particles during the microbial degradation process and presents negligible effects to non-targets during that interval.

    Here is a link that might be useful: WSU article

  • Related Discussions

    Weed prevention in outside paver patio?


    Comments (8)
    I have a paver driveway and every spring the weeds come. You can just fill a spray bottle with plain old vinegar and it should get rid of them without too much effort. You might want to add some of the "sticky sand" available at Home Depot to fill in the gaps (it's a gluey sort of sand which makes pavers stick together better) and give less room for dirt and weed seeds to settle into.
    ...See More

    POLL: How do you control weeds in your yard?


    Comments (44)
    I read that some people use Round-Up on poison ivy. I just want to caution that, if you burn poison ivy, even when it is dead, it can put off fumes. Breathing the fumes can give you the rash in your mouth and throat. So don't burn it, dead or alive. Wear protective clothing, including gloves and a mask, when clearing out poison ivy. Pack in trash bags and secure well. Some areas have people that will come out (for pay, of course) and clear your poison ivy. I have also used Round-Up on it; although am reconsidering that now.
    ...See More

    Ugly corner flower bed!


    Comments (30)
    Firstly I would spend time making it bigger, then add a fast growing or well established tree in that corner, then the rest you can build on and make as a feature in time. It will be much nicer to view than a little put together garden that is obviously hiding an ugly feature. Do something that you will love
    ...See More

    Weeds between stones


    Comments (14)
    There's no permanent fix, unless you pull up the stone and re-lay it on concrete with mortar joints. You can sweep a polymeric sand or dust into the joints, but believe me when I say you'll still see some weeds popping up. Whatever you use as a control product (glyphosate, vinegar, boiling water, flamethrower, the tears of your enemies), just put it into your weekly routine. Small joints like that in a stone patio are tough to get *wanted* plants to grow in.
    ...See More
  • kevin_bartoy
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I agree with aardvark23. It is ridiculous to tout Roundup as some type of better than natural product. Aside from the obvious issues that were brought up in the previous post, buying Roundup is supporting Monsanto, which is a terrible idea for anyone who cares for the environment.

    I have used the vinegar and detergent mixture with much success. We use the Seventh Generation natural detergent and it works fine.

    I have also used vinegar and salt in areas that I do not want anything to grow. I generally dilute a less than a pound of salt for a gallon of vinegar. This mixture is applied around the border of my garden. It caused no ill effects to the garden. And, I disagree that such limited use of table salt will cause harm to the environment. It is quickly diluted by rain.

    The key to these natural applications is to pick a time when you are going to have sunny warm weather with little chance of rain.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Life has taught us ...

  • JAYK
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Ive investigated herbicides of all kinds, including Roundup, for several decades. One thing that becomes clear is that herbicides vary greatly in their toxicity, and their potential to cause problems. Another is that there is a great deal of misinformation about Roundup that is repeated on the internet, making it hard to get to the real facts from a casual search. The internet is not necessarily the easiest place to form good scientific understanding about some things. It is very easy for people with an agenda to mislead readers that are not familiar with toxicological science by selectively pulling pieces of the literature. The link cited is to a non-peer reviewed article from an anti-pesticide group, and it seriously distorts the actual toxicological information.

    Fortunately, there is authoritative information available that provides a good overview. For those interested, I suggest a review of Safety Evaluation and Risk Assessment of the Herbicide Roundup and Its Active Ingredient, Glyphosate, for Humans; by Williams, Robert Kroes and Ian C. Munro for more details.

    PubMed link:

    Their review of all of the literature concluded that the normal use of Roundup herbicide "does not result in adverse effects on development, reproduction, or endocrine systems in humans and other mammals." Or refer to regulatory bodies in Canada, the World Health Organization, the USEPA and most recently the European Commission who have also reviewed the data and concluded that the use of glyphosate according to label directions would not result in adverse reproductive or developmental problems or birth defects. And organizations that care deeply for the environment such as The Nature Conservancy have assessed the entire scientific understanding of this material and use it in some of their most sensitive natural habitats.

    Claims that "glyphosate is acutely toxic to humans and animals" misrepresent the term. Everything is acutely toxic at some dose. Acutely refers to short term toxicity, not how toxic something is. On a comparative scale, glyphosate is of very low toxicity to mammals and most other organisms. Roundup kills plants by blocking an amino acid synthesis pathway found only in plants not animals. It is not persistent like organochlorine insecticides such as DDT; Roundup breaks down completely into natural constituents over time, specifically carbon dioxide, water, nitrogen, and inorganic phosphate/phosphoric acid. In temperate climates glyphosates half-life is about a month.

    As for carcinogenicity, unlike about half of all natural or synthetic substances known, that at some dose will cause cancer in laboratory animals, glyphosate has actually been found to be non-carcinogenic by every world agency that assesses these characteristics.

    For those who care, glyphosate based herbicides have long been off patent, therefore they can be purchased from corporations with no ties to Monsanto whatsoever.

    And just so it is known, I dont sell Roundup or any pesticide, nor do I encourage anyone who doesnt want to use it to do so. My intention is always to provide the most accurate information so that good and safe decisions are made. It is important to remember that natural is not always safe. While dilute vinegar used as a herbicide is not going to present any problems, some of the current vinegar products sold to control weeds are of 20% strength, which is seriously corrosive to eyes, and as such, requires a DANGER label on the product.

    Here is a link that might be useful: PubMed link

  • sylviatexas1
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I never have seen any posts from jayk other than the ones where he's touting roundup.

    wonder where he works...

  • malorn
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Personally..I have killed more poor plants by mixing the wrong concentrate of a soap mixture than by using I use no chemicals and the creeping charlie has figured that out!

    Then again..I've done in plants by just looking at them!

    However..a good debate on these issues.. (even better when sources can be documented) makes me a more informed gardener..

  • Kimmsr
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    All of the commercially available "weed killers" simply cost too much. I'd rather spend my money on flowering plants than something that kills them.
    As Rachel Carson said many years ago, "Can anyone believe it is possible to lay down a barrage of poisons on the surface of the earth without making it unfit for all life?"

  • soitgoes
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    As has been stated, The Nature Conservancy does use Roundup in sensitive areas.

    It depends on what you are trying to kill. We have a lot overrun with Japanese Knotweed. I am pretty sure the knotweed is worse for the environment than is the Roundup, since it is ruining most of our riparian areas here in the Northeast.

    I try to do as much manual weed control as I can, but when I need something else I will carefully use Roundup. Whenever possible, we cut back the weeds and paint the stumps with a 50/50 mixture of Roundup and water. This prevents overspray onto healthy plants.

    This method is also helpful for difficult-to-kill things like wild grape, Tree of Heaven, and invasive "wild" roses.

    I don't like chemicals as a rule, but when the lot has been vacant for about 60 years and is overrun with every invasive weed known to man, there is really very little choice. Again, even the Nature Conservancy uses Roundup on knotweed, as there is no other way to kill it and manual removal is impossible. In fact, manual removal is nearly impossible for any spreading weed that grows from rhizomes; pulling them just breaks up the rhizome and causes it to spread faster.

    As for vinegar, my understanding is that the grocery-store strength vinegar is only moderately effective. You need to get 10-20% strength vinegar, and the bottled kind is only 5%.

    Vinegar is a great household cleaner, though!

  • aardvark23
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    jayk-I'll go through your points one by one:
    You are right, the internet makes it easy for people with an agenda to distort an issue by providing selective information, but isn't that exactly what you are doing? I provided the link I did because the article summarized may peer reviewed articles in an easy to understand way.

    Interesting that you point out that the link I provided came from an anti-pesticide group, especially in light of the literature review that you provide. As I'm sure you know, Ian C. Munro is a VP with Cantox Health Sciences International. As their website puts it:
    "For the past 20 years, we have been helping clients resolve complex scientific and toxicology issues, develop scientific and strategic regulatory and compliance plans, and facilitate timely regulatory global approvals. We optimize success and minimize client risk through broad expertise and knowledge."
    Cantox is a hired gun that helps companies downplay the risks of potentially dangerous products including a reports that advocating the safety of both Agent Orange and dioxins.

    One of the other authors GM Williams also looks like a scientist for hire based on his research on Aspartame while working for an organization linked to NutraSweet and Pepsi.

    In other words, this literature review is not the objective scientific work you make it out to be. Cantox Health Sciences International was paid to conduct it and it sure looks like Monsanto did the paying.

    Acute Toxicity: True, acute refers to short term toxicity, but to say that "Everything is acutely toxic at some dose." also misrepresents the facts. There are two designations for substances that are so safe they are effectively non-toxic (No observed adverse effect level is a general scientific term and Relatively Non-toxic).

    You then go on to say that "On a comparative scale glyphosate is of very low toxicity to mammals and most other organisms." First, I notice that you say glyphosate, but we know that roundup as a formulation is more toxic than glyphosate alone. Second, compared to what? Other pesticides? Sure, but pesticides are designed to kill things. We were talking about Roundup compared to vinegar. Since you were concerned about the use of the term "acutely toxic" lets us LD50 as a measure. The Oral LD50 of Glyphosate in rats is in the 4,000-5,000 mg/kg range. A 7% Acetic Acid solution (vinegar) has Oral LD50 in rats of 47,286 mg/kg, which by the way puts it firmly in the Relatively non-toxic category.

    Carcinogenicity-There is actually very little research done on this topic. There are studies documenting increased cancer rates in those exposed to Glyphosate, and Monsanto's own studies show increased incidents of cancer in lab animals. In 1985 the EPA considered a Glyphosate Group C carcinogen before changing the group. Also, the surfactant used in Roundup, POEA, is contaminated with 1,4 dioxane during the manufacturing and 1,4 dioxane is a carcinogen.

    If you want peer reviewed articles on the mutagenic and reproductive impacts of roundup I would be happy to provide them.

    You say that in temperate climates the half-life of Glyphosate is about a month, but Monsanto has reported half lives as long as 141 days to the EPA. And as I'm sure you are aware, half-life refers to the time it takes for half of the quantity to degrade. So with a 30 day half-life, it doesn't mean that all of it is gone after 60 days, rather, 25% remains.

    Since you are so confident of the safety of roundup I guess I'd pose this question to you: Would you rather drink a 5% solution of acetic acid (vinegar) or a 5% solution of roundup? Personally I prefer vinegar in my salad dressing.

    As others have mentioned, nearly all of your posts seem to be promoting roundup and you say that you don't encourage anyone who doesn't want to use roundup to do so, but isn't that exactly what you are doing? Posting a message saying that roundup is safe and that vinegar won't kill the roots of the plant. I really do have to wonder about your motives.

  • soitgoes
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The post saying vinegar can be eaten and Roundup cannot is totally missing the point.

    Grapes can kill a dog, but that doesn't mean they are dangerous to people. Roundup might be poisonous if you drink it, but no one is asking if it's save to drink. We are talking about its environmental safety as a weed killer.

    Salt is safe enough to eat but can make a dead zone out of the ground. Very toxic to the ground over time, as a matter of fact, and to the environment (hence the Dead Sea). It is absolutely horrible to the environment but it is wonderful for rinsing your mouth after you've had dental surgery.

    So what is safe to ingest is an absolutely disengenous argument when talking about weed killers.

    Proving a point with a bad analogy is not proving a point at all. Again, if Roundup was so bad I don't think the Nature Conservancy would tout it, and certain weeds are much more harmful to the environment than the things that kill them.

  • JAYK
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago


    Im distorting no facts. The link you provided is to a non-peer reviewed article that deliberately distorts by cherry picking references from studies to create a false picture. It in no way is trying to present a true view. The link I provided is to a peer reviewed examination of the known literature. I could have also directed readers to examinations by the World Health Organization, or the European Union which came to the same conclusions. Are they also on someones payroll?

    Your comments:
    "Acute Toxicity: True, acute refers to short term toxicity, but to say that "Everything is acutely toxic at some dose." also misrepresents the facts."

    How does this misrepresent? Even water is toxic at some dose, and certainly vinegar is. Saying something is "acutely toxic" does not refer to the level of its toxicity.

    "There are two designations for substances that are so safe they are effectively non-toxic".

    And since you bring it up, glyphosate is in the category, FIFRA category IV, essentially non-toxic.

    ""On a comparative scale glyphosate is of very low toxicity to mammals and most other organisms." First, I notice that you say glyphosate, but we know that roundup as a formulation is more toxic than glyphosate alone."

    Yes, the product Roundup contains a surfactant, like a detergent, to help it spread and penetrate leaves. It has similar toxicity to other detergents. The formulated product is still of low toxicity and about the same in acute LD50.

    "Second, compared to what? Other pesticides?"

    No, I was comparing it to all substances. It is of very low toxicity.

    "The Oral LD50 of Glyphosate in rats is in the 4,000-5,000 mg/kg range. A 7% Acetic Acid solution (vinegar) has Oral LD50 in rats of 47,286 mg/kg, which by the way puts it firmly in the Relatively non-toxic category."

    My comment was "diluted Roundup as it is applied" was less toxic . It is. It is used at 1-2% strength by the applicator in the garden. Vinegar is used full strength. This places Roundup about 1/5 the toxicity of vinegar as measured by the oral ld50 for rats. BOTH are of low toxicity.

    "Carcinogenicity-There is actually very little research done on this topic."

    Actually, there is a large amount of investigation on this topic. So much so, that regulatory bodies around the world, including IARC, have deemed glyphosate as Non-carcinogenic.

    "Also, the surfactant used in Roundup, POEA, is contaminated with 1,4 dioxane during the manufacturing and 1,4 dioxane is a carcinogen."

    And half of soaps and detergents, even organic products, contain tiny amounts of 1.4. dioxane. And similarly, all ethoxylated surfactants have some level of this compound. The amounts in Roundups surfactant have been reduced in the last 20 years to very low levels, also remember that toothpaste and shampoo also have ethoxylated surfactants. None of these exposures present an appreciable risk, anymore than the carcinogenic hydrazine naturally occurring in a serving of mushrooms or the carcinogenic eugenol naturally present in cloves in a pumpkin pie present any appreciable risk.

    "I really do have to wonder about your motives."

    The majority of my posts on Gardenweb over the years have had nothing to do with Roundup, and I would much rather discuss growing plants rather than controlling them. However I believe it is important to bring supported facts to the table when misinformation is being passed along. When I post, I have come to expect comments casting aspersions about my motives/source of income etc. from those who would rather not enter into a discussion about the science of pesticide toxicology. To be clear, I have no monetary, familial, employment or any connection with Monsanto, or any other chemical firm. I have spent probably a grand total of 10 dollars on herbicides over the past 10 years for my own garden. I do not "tout" Roundup or any product on Gardenweb, but when someone posts misinformation about it, I do think I have something to offer in explaining the supportable facts since I've been investigating many of these issues for a long time. After all that is what this forum is all about; those in the gardening community sharing the best information possible with other interested people. And pesticide safety is a huge concern of mine. Understanding the actual science about these materials keeps all of us safer.

  • kevin_bartoy
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    If you have the time, I highly recommend this documentary concerning Monsanto and Roundup.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Life has taught us ...

  • happyvalleyherbals
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi all, I was searching for natural herbicide recipes when I came across the info below before finding your website. I thought I'd share it to help clarify some points. Also listed is the link from where it came with much more info if your'e interested.
    Hope this helps Deb

    While there are many different recipes out there for a homemade weed killer most of them are based off of the following:
    1 gallon of white vinegar
    1 cup of table salt
    1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap
    Mix everything together making sure the salt is completely dissolved. You can then pour this into a spray bottle or one of those weed sprayers you can get at any garden center. You spray this solution directly on the weeds you want to get rid of preferably on a hot day. One thing to remember with this solution is to not get it on anything you dont want to kill and dont spray it on the soil. It is non-selective in what it kills meaning it will kill any plant life it comes in contact with and it will sterilize the soil for up to two years depending on how much you get on the soil.

  • kevin_bartoy
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    That is the recipe that I use as well. And, just make sure that you spray it on a day when you are expecting some heat and sunshine. It works wonders.

    Also, I realized that the link to the documentary "The World According to Monsanto" may not have worked from my previous post.

    So, you can find the documentary here:

    I really encourage everyone with an interest in gardening and plants to watch this film.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Life has taught us ...

  • pampuff
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I was on the Internet tonight and was looking for a natural inexpensive way to eliminate dandelions.

    Here are a few of the concoctions that I found. If it doesn't rain tomorrow, I will give them a try!

    Thought I would pass them along. Let me know if any of them work!

    Pickle Them:
    A 5-percent concentration of vinegar, similar to that found in household vinegar, is an effective weed killer against annual and perennial weeds such as dandelions, foxtail, velvetleaf, smooth pigweed and thistle. It works in the garden or greenhouse.

    When applied to the weed foliage, the acid in the vinegar acts as a contact herbicide that kills the plants but does not persist in the soil or cause water or other pollution. For older perennial weeds, you may need to apply vinegar more than once. Try heating the vinegar for added punch.

    We used: 1 gallon of white vinegar, 1 lb. table salt, and 8 drops of liquid dish soap. We put it in a pump spray bottle thing, and sprayed it on. An hour or so later, we checked, and the dandelions were shriveling. Today, they are dead. The grass, I'm happy to report, is fine.



    Yucca Extract, Olive Oil, Garlic Oil, Citrus Oil and Molasses. Those ingredients work as sticking, wetting and emulsifying agents, which makes the vinegar work more effectively.


    2/3c water, 1/3 c white vinegar, and 2T liquid dish soap

    For weeds in cracked pavement, a kettle of boiling water works just fine, too

    Take full strength vinegar, gently warm it on the stove then pour in a spray bottle, spray on those dandelions that pop up on your lawn.

    Give weeds a stiff drink of alcohol.
    Mix one to five tablespoons of alcohol--depending on how stubborn the weeds are--with one quart (4 cups) of water in a spray bottle. Shower weeds with the spray. Don't let the alcohol get on garden plants as it may damage their leaves.

    Soap weeds to death.
    Mixed 5 tablespoons of liquid soap (such as dishwashing liquid) in one quart (4 cups) of water in a spray bottle. Coat the weeds with the soapy water. Works best on hot days.

    Pour household vinegar into a spray bottle and evenly coat weeds with it. U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists recently confirmed this in tests. Vinegar is really five percent acetic acid in water, and it burns the plant, especially on sunny days. For extra strength weed killer, look for pickling vinegar, which is nine percent acetic acid. Don't get the vinegar on your garden plants, as it can kill them too.

    Here are two homemade recipes to try. Both should be used only on plants that you want to get rid of, taking care not to spray any on surrounding plants. These are most effective when used on emerging weeds.

    1 tablespoon of gin
    1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
    1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap
    1 quart of hot water
    Alternate version:

    1 gallon of distilled vinegar
    1 cup of salt
    1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap
    Spray these directly on weeds in the garden or pour directly into cracks of walks and driveways.

    Mix together

    1 gallon white vinegar
    1 pound of table salt
    1 oz. lemon dish soap

    Spray directly on weeds..

    or ....................................

    Sprinkle Baking Soda.. directly on weeds.


    1 oz. gin
    1 oz. lemon dish soap
    1 oz. white vinegar
    32 oz. water spray bottle fill with balance of water.
    Spray weeds.

    (Personally, I think this is a waste of good alcohol! I would use one ounce of gin and if the weeds come back, I would place the remainder of the gin in a glass of ice, add tonic water and lemon, and continue to drink until I am so drunk that I can't see the weeds and don't care!)

    Best of Luck!

  • bananababe
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    so, if all the vinegar recipes JUST kill the above ground growth, the plant will grow back? how do I kill the root too? I've got some killer mint someone planted before I lived here and i can NOT get rid of it!

    Those who have used roundup, does it actually kill the plant and keep it from coing back or just the above ground growth like the vinegar solutions? mint is so hardy I don't think the vinegar solutions will keep it down for very long.

  • JAYK
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    All contact killers only affect topgrowth and perennial type weeds will regrow. You'll have to retreat repeatedly until the weed is controlled. Weeds vary in their ability to come back. Mint is notorious for being able to withstand topkill. Systemic materials such as Roundup will travel through the plant into the root to control it. Any widespread growing stoloniferous plant like mint, quack grass etc., will likely need spot retreating though, since sections can easily be missed.

  • linnea56 (zone 5b Chicago)
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    These vinegar weed killers are non-selective, though, right? They will kill any plant? Id like to find something that will kill lawn weeds like Creeping Charlie without harming the grass.

  • JAYK
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Yes, all contact materials are non-selective.

    Here is a link that might be useful: creeping charlie IPM

  • clarkdry
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I actually WANT a dead zone along the alley side of the block fence in my mom's backyard. she had about 20 years worth of live and dead crabgrass coming up from the base of the fence, she'd just use a weed whacker once per year to knock down the highest grass so that the city wouldn't send her a notice telling her to do it.

    There was a mound of soil/crabgrass/roots/dead matter running the length of her 70' wall. I chopped it all away with a pick ax and a spade, from about 18 inches out, right up to the concrete foundation of the wall and about 8 inches deep. I still see some severed roots that I can't get to manually, so I want to scorch this strip of earth. Ive already liberally sprayed some roundup, mixed triple strength, along the base of the wall and down into the 8" deep trench where I can still see some roots.

    Would it be a good idea to mix up some vinegar and salt and pour it along the base of the wall as well? Total death and devastation is my goal for this strip of the planet, any plants in the area can just find another place to live. I read one pound of salt to one gallon of vinegar in the replies above, that sounds good and strong, if I use that mixture and give the strip of earth along the wall a heavy spray out of a roundup pump sprayer, will it kill the soil forever or at least until I die (Im 45)? I have a bucket at my disposal and if a wimpy little spraying wont do it, Im more than willing to mix it up in bulk and pour it over the area.

  • lolajackie_Yahoo_com
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Help! Can someone let me know if the salt in this
    recipe will affect the concrete on a public sidewalk?
    I have an enormous problem with weeds/grass in the cracks
    of the bad they are beginning to push the
    concrete up.
    I don't want to make it worse; can't afford to replace
    I heard that just vinegar and dish soap will kill the
    weeds, although I'm not sure of the proportions.
    Any advice would be most appreciated! I'm getting

  • henpeckerssociety
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Round-Up is a Monsanto product. Monsanto is one of the biggest lobbying bullies our world has to deal with. It would shock you what they own and what is a subsidary of them. Their donations to political figures and organizations is outstanding!

    Out of curiosity I googled glycophosate and one of the first sites that came up is:
    Gee, would you consider them as one of those anti-pesticide groups? I don't. It may be worth reading their warnings on glycophosate.

    Wikipedia lists this info:
    The active ingredient is the isopropylamine salt of glyphosate. Glyphosate's mode of action is to inhibit an enzyme involved in the synthesis of the amino acids tyrosine, tryptophan and phenylalanine. It is absorbed through foliage and translocated to growing points. Because of this mode of action, it is only effective on actively growing plants; it is not effective as a pre-emergence herbicide.

    Some crops have been genetically engineered to be resistant to it (i.e. Roundup Ready). Such crops allow farmers to use glyphosate as a post-emergence herbicide against both broadleaf and cereal weeds. Soy was the first Roundup Ready crop.

    Glyphosate is an aminophosphonic analogue of the natural amino acid glycine and the name is a contraction of glycine, phospho-, and -ate. The molecule has several dissociable hydrogens, especially the first hydrogen of the phosphate group. The molecule tends to exist as a zwitterion where a phosphonic hydrogen dissociates and joins the amine group. Glyphosate is soluble in water to 12g/L at room temperature.

    Glycophosate is considered a salt. Soap is consider a salt. The issue with detergents and plants is whether they have phosphates in them. Pure soaps generally don't contain phosphates. Check the ingredients first.

    There are no phosphates in the combination of CH3COOH and NaCl. The combination produces sodium acetate and hydrogen chloride. It may be the oxidation of hydrogen chloride that affects the plants more. Sodium acetate is generally used as a cleaner.

    Vinegars are always diluted and store-bought vinegars do not exceed 5% acetic acid. Vinegars over 10% dilution are used as herbacides.

    You got to consider that any type of weed killer is going to have positive and negative qualities to it. It's a matter of how one outweighs the other.

    I had an old gardener once told me that regular bleach diluted with water (1:4) sprayed on weeds during the mid of day will be as effective as most of the weed killers on the market today.

    Little bits of info:
    Chlorinated pool water will not kill a plant. Consider how much water is leach into the ground from every swimming pool in America.

    There is a lot more chloride in sea water than in tap water.

    Chlorine is in over 80% of crop protection products.

    Just remember what is in table salt ... NaCl.

    Table salt and water will kill weeds too. Maybe sticking to a basic mix of any of these ingredients with water would be anyone's best bet to killing weeds.

  • henry_kuska
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    A link to a 2000 Round-Up published scientific "safety study" has been presented in this thread. Is that study the "last word"? Information on this question can be obtained by the use of Google Scholar.
    Google Scholar includes how many times a published scientific paper has been cited (in this case 135 times) and provides links to the actual abstracts of the published scientific papers that did the citing:
    And each of the cited papers may have a list of papers that cited it, etc..

    Here is a link that might be useful: link to Google Scholar search of 135 citing papers

  • buddyrose
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    question: after I spray my weeds with Round up, do I then pull them out? Or do I wait for them to wither and die? Dead, brown weeds are just as ugly as green weeds... maybe uglier.

    Should I buy a weed whacker?

    Here's a BEFORE photo of my yard. Now there's so many weeds, I hardly see stones or red pavers.


  • buddyrose
    13 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I found this online from a blog at the University of Arizona gardening site after I posted here:

    Do not pull or hoe the weeds out until they are completely dead. If weeds are removed before the chemical can move into the roots, they will just regrow.

    So I got my answer. I'll wait a week to rip out the ugly dead weeds.

  • Sarahms_yahoo_net
    11 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    i think this website sucks go to hell

  • douglasont
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    wow so many reactions. i take no chances with my pet or kids so i can spray twice with vinegar (or more) vs once with a chemical that i don't trust. simple.

  • strobiculate
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    If toxicity were really that important...look up the oral ld50 of glyphosate and compare to caffeine.

    anyone for Starbucks?

  • budbackeast
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hello Sarah (,

    This website is a forum. You know, a place where folks get to discuss things, share information and espouse things they honestly believe to be true. What is it that you find so sucky here, Sarah?

    Your dismay might be unwarranted. Is it that some people disagree with others, including perhaps, yourself? It's a forum. What did you expect?

    But in my personal desire to retain your attendance, I ask you directly to please explain not why you are so unhappy with this forum, but rather, I ask you to tell me what you believe is the best overall approach to the subject being discussed. Sarah, please tell me and perhaps the others here exactly where we are going astray? How can I help you, and equally, how can you help me and the others?

    We are all here because we are frustrated by the darned weeds which are ruining our lawns, gardens and walkways. If you can help the rest of us, if you know something which we obvioulsy do not, I for one would be very grateful if you would clue us all in on it.

    In this particular forum page, I actually enjoy watching the experts go at it from differing sides of the battle for the heart of the viewers. Nobody is being mean here, they are just passionate, and that is a wonderful thing.

    Please don't leave us, Sarah. Not if you can add to the dialogue. Not if you have some helpful hints that I can try, and trust me, I am open to just about anything when it comes to eliminating weeds. If the forum itself is really all that bad, then could you please email me personally? My name is Bud and my email is I for one would apprecite you helping me, and I will try to implement whatever you believe might help.

    Thank you. I hope to hear from you.

  • RpR_
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I have used gasoline, the old varnished type, not fresh, where I truly wanted weeds dead.
    Gasoline is not like oil and does not poison the earth any worse than RoundUp.

    If you want to use a "gasoline" type product that does not have added nasties like auto gasoline use White Gas, or Naptha, it will work fine. (Coleman fuel is naptha)

    No additives, no alcohol, just naptha.

    It will not "poison" the water supply and unlike RoundUp there are no complex chemical mixtures to worry about.

    If you think gasoline permanently poisons the ground, it did keep my parking lot, crushed granite, mostly weed free for a few years, unlike RoundUp which has been mostly a waste of money (other cheaper brands have worked better and longer) but now they are back including, grass seeds blown on by mowing.

    I do not have any varnished gasoline sitting around but this summer instead of wasting money on poisons that only work half-@ssed, the fuel I use in my lanterns will substitute.

  • Kimmsr
    10 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    RpR, it is illegal today in most places to pour gasoline on the ground, even if you are using it for "weed" control. The glyphosate products are approved by the USEPA for unwanted plant control while gasoline is not. Those plant poisons tht are approved, however, are only used by those that do not seem to care about the world they wil be leaving their grandchildren because they are poisoning the drinking water for them.

  • Laura.FL
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Some of the remarks going back & forth in regards to personal expert opinions about the healthiest/best way to prevent weeds while keeping the environment safe was repulsive. We are all in the same boat & supposed to be using our intelligence rather than negligence and/or ignorance. That is why I ended up on this website anyways. I couldn't believe one of the later posts bragging about using gasoline as being their best remedy? Isn't that against the law? But then again, many things should be unlawful for our environment. I am very interested in learning on my own & through other sources about environmentally safe products & procedures. I hope that this website can be beneficial for everyone in a positive way. Thanks!

  • b2alicia
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'm no expert on anything, but I am really trying to avoid using any chemicals in my yard. They are expensive, I worry about my doggie, and I just don't like the idea of it, so here are my solutions so far.

    1. crabgrass - none of the pre-emergent treatments worked for me. One solution I read about, though, has actually worked. The crabgrass takes over in a weakened area with weak grass, so right after the mowers came, I picked one section at a time. I sprinkled good grass seed right on top of the crab grass, covered it with good compost, hand-raked it in, and watered that section every day for about a week. The crabgrass is gone.

    2. dandelions - they thrive in yards where the top soil is low in calcium. (can't remember where I read that.) So the deep roots of the dandelions are drawing up minerals from deeper soil layers so that when they die above ground, they will leave the minerals there. So, instead of adding chemical fertilizers, just using compost containing bonemeal over your lawn should do the trick. Or, if I recall correctly, put your egg shells in a container of water, and empty that where they tend to grow.

    3. BINDWEED - the worst,IMO - and really, from what I gather, no way around it besides work, work , work. I read something important here on GW about a study done at a university, that says:
    The first 8 inches of growth are DRAINING nutrients from the root. Any growth beyond 8 inches is FEEDING nutrients to the root. And the root system is incredibly long and interconnected. And there is not really any way I will ever be able to pull out all of the roots. But if I pick it every time I see it, hopefully it will weaken the root system over time. That's my plan for now. And paying the little neighbor girl every few days to pick it too!

    I am fascinated about the Roundup issue, and I'm trying to avoid it as long as possible.

  • jonimoxie
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Most recent studies published in the newspapers are that they feel they have determined a connection between Roundup and Parkinson's. Something to consider. I agree with as much hand pulling as possible and mulching and filling in instead of altering solutions. My biggest problem is between the stones in my driveway and that probably will just require power washing and spreading new sand.

  • plnelson
    9 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    As other have pointed out, topical weed killers like vinegar are very short acting so it has to be re-applied frequently which can get expensive if you're doing a large area. I'm looking for weed control on a 460' trail which goes around my garden in into the woods.

    Weeds around here (central New England) are not just an aesthetic issue - Lyme disease is endemic here and walking through tall weeds is a good way to pick up ticks.

    There are lots of published studies on glyophosphate that show it to present relatively low environmental and human risks - the biggest problem with it is that there are lots of resistant weeds and grasses including ones that grow on my trail!

    Environmentally salt is much worse than glyophosphate because glyophosphate breaks down quickly whereas salt does not - it just moves downhill, killing everything in its path, and into water tables.

  • Dianesgarden1
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    To organic nut: epsom salt is not salt but a combination of sulfate and magnesium. Please read the latest USDA reports on the medicinal and agricultural uses of this product. It is always wise to use the minimum of any product on the environment but the combination of vinegar and epsom salts seems less destructive than round-up (which, by the way is not showing up oin breast milk and is NOTas harmless as other posters implied)

    Here is a link that might be useful: USDA report on uses of magnesium sulfate (epsom salts)

  • gardenrescue2012
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    This topic really drives me crazy. I don't trust Roundup. I have a client who found the recipe containing vinegar, Epsom salt, and Dawn online. However, I am scratching my head over how Epsom salt is going to do much of anything. They want it for the driveway, areas that they never want weeds to grow. I'm mildly concerned over salt drift, should they decide to use NaCl instead.

    Meanwhile, the local master gardeners extension just issued a statement against the vinegar/salt/soap solution, recommending commercial chemical herbicides instead.

    Sigh. Any time you want to put a chemical substance on a living thing to kill it, it is going to be complicated on some level. It has this pro feeling a little lost sometimes.

  • cannedam
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Are you under the impression that vinegar + salt +soap is not a chemical solution? It is acetic acid, sodium chloride, and sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, cyclohexanediamine, ethanol, and various surfactants. Dish soap is acutely toxic to aquatic life. Pour an ounce of dish soap in a pond and watch the fishes float.

  • scribal
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thank you cannedam!
    Between years of relentless exposure to marketing and inadequate science education it's hard to have a conversation when words like "natural," "organic," and "chemical" have been emptied of meaning.
    To me "natural" means occurring in nature, like oxygen. Or arsenic.
    "Organic" means containing compounds made from carbon (all life on earth contains carbon). It means something else in the marketplace obviously.
    "Chemical" means something that is chemically stable, like oxygen or distilled water or arsenic.
    The point is these words used scientifically do not have the meanings that are casually inferred in popular culture. It is hard to have a meaningful exchange when you are speaking different languages.

  • hdknuffke
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thank you all so much for this thread. I laughed out loud several times, and unlike Sarah, I greatly enjoy the debate and 'range' of experts.

    I have used the recipe: one gallon of 5% vinegar, one cup of salt (table, kosher, or rock salt), and one tablespoon of dishsoap to act as a surfactant to keep the vinegar on the leaves. It works. It kills both broadleaf and grasses (although some more resistant than others).

    I live in a semi-arid climate (southeastern Colorado) where we have water restrictions and can't control weeds with ivy and other ground cover (although believe me, I'm trying!). We have xeroscape with barrier and rocks (or mulch) intermixed with flowering bushes. I used the vinegar/salt mix where we won't ever plant--on our "fake grass" or lawn turf, whatever it's called, on our breeze pathways, and on our brick patio). It's a double benefit for the brick patio because it deters ants from making their home in the patio and destabilizing it.

    I have a small pond (I know, I know) and it creates a little micro-climate that supports local vegetation that outpaces the weeds (particularly coyote willow). Perhaps this is called selective weed propagation?
    I do not spray anywhere near the pond or uphill of there. I don't spray near my garden, since I want cucumbers not pickles. I am working feverishly to plant trees and bushes that survive out here as a way of providing shade that might allow ground cover to one day grow. But until then it's about weed control.

    One last thought, I have a one year old that crawls around everyday outside and a million bunnies (hence all the weeds) and other small critters. My daughter eats pickles, so I feel much more comfortable with the vinegar/oil compared to anything else. Plus I can prepare it in the kitchen or elsewhere, without worrying---unlike any other poisons. I guess it's a matter of what you're comfortable with.

    Good luck!

  • Kimmsr
    8 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Even the salad dressing vinegar, 5 percent Acetic Acid, used properly can kill plants. Do not dilute it anymore then it already is, spray during the hottest, sunniest part of the day, and realize you may need to spray often. Do not add salt, oil, or anything else to that vinegar.

  • mhuss2201
    7 years ago

    I have been using Vinegar as a weed killer for the past 3 years. I buy the white vinegar for $2.20/ gallon at Wal Mart. Roundup is usually $10 or more per gallon. You do not add anything to the Vinegar and it will kill almost any weed I find in less than 8 hours. This is the cheapest and most efficient way I found to kill weeds. I live in Florida and we have plenty of weeds to kill in my Rock beds around our home. Vinegar alone or even diluted a little will kill Weeds!!!

  • gardeninglife
    7 years ago

    I used salt in a playbed with pebbles and fabric in it, it was most effective for me. Since its in a bed it will mostly stay there and eventually wash down into any openings from long gone weeds it helps keep weeds from coming back up and you honestly dont need much

  • lizsol
    7 years ago

    How far away from my Jasmine Ivy and my oak tree can I spread the salt? Thanks!

  • lazy_gardens
    7 years ago

    Liz .... salt dissolves and travels through the soil. If a heavy rain takes the water sideways, the salt goes with it. If the roots extend under the play area, the plant gets salted.

  • lizsol
    7 years ago

    lazy gardens, thank you so much! I have not been able to find the answer anywhere!

  • linnea56 (zone 5b Chicago)
    7 years ago

    I can't see the article, just the list of articles on the left of the blog. The "Smackdown..." title, but can't find the actual article to open. Is there something I am missing?

  • jackcrowley1
    7 years ago

    Our HOA
    has 1 mile of fence line between pasture land and the road. In July 2015 I
    purchased 1200 pounds of Cargill TopFlow sodium chloride fine ground I used a
    Scotts professional spreader on the max setting of 15. After 1 week all grasses
    and most weeds are dying. Crabgrass, thorny weeds and vines look fine. Will
    repeat this in 3 weeks and again this winter (2015-2016). Hoping this is
    enough. Spring 2016 will tell. Looking
    for a 5 year solution. I may have to reapply 1x per year, but that is fine,
    compared to every 3 mos of Eraser (Round Up equiv) and I can do this in 1/10th
    of the time.

  • dwinfiel
    5 years ago

    I find it interesting when people talk about organic-versus-inorganic or chemical-versus-non-chemical or natural-versus-synthetic. interesting indeed. Everything is chemical. Everything is natural. Unless of course it came from the moon or lets say Mars. Folks there is nothing new under the sun. It is plant or flesh or mineral.

    I am not smart enough to evaluate the toxic value of Roundup, Vinegar, cyanide or French Fries. Too much of any of these will properties kill you. Each of them are natural.

    A cotton shirt is from natural resources.

    A nylon shirt is from natural resources.

    Ammonia nitrate is from natural resources.

    A hydrogen bomb is from natural resources.

    Too much of anything will kill one or more people.

    I think that potassium is necessary for our continued life.

    I know that too much potassium in our system is lethal.

  • warren propheter
    4 years ago

    I own a landscape business. I never use salt in my gardens but I will use vinegar . I use vinegar to clean my aquarium pumps I have more than $20,000 worth of saltwater fish and corals not one has die using vinegar and have used it for more ten years Don’t put in aquarium water. Salt and vinegar kills people if you eat or drink it come on the oceans are fill with salts all the food you eat has salt in it ,you should be more worried about sugars . Sugars kills more people than salt or vinegar. Use 2 table spoons of vinegar in a spray bottle do not spray on other plants you want to keep . Stop worrying about everything and enjoy your life.