By Susan Patterson, Master Gardener
Sometimes we gardeners are sure that the weeds are going to get the better of us. They test our patience to the very core, sneaking up where they don’t belong and creeping in where they are hard to pull. While there are many different chemical sprays to combat weeds, some of these can be quite dangerous and costly. For this reason, some of us may consider using salt to kill weeds. Let’s learn more about killing weeds with salt.
Can You Kill Weeds with Salt?
Although killing weeds with salt may seem strange, it is effective when used cautiously. Salt is inexpensive and readily available. Salt dehydrates plants and disrupts the internal water balance of plant cells.
Salt is best used for small-scale gardening where it will be easily diluted by rain or watering, however. If salt is used on a large scale, it can create soil conditions that are not suitable for growing plants for quite some time.
Salt Recipe for Weeds
Making a salt weed killer mixture at home is not difficult. You can add rock or table salt to water until it dissolves. Make a fairly weak mixture to start with – 3:1 ratio of salt to water. You can increase the amount of salt daily until the salt begins to kills the target plant.
Adding a little bit of dish soap and white vinegar helps with weed killing effectiveness. It lowers the surface tension of the water, which allows the salt solution to be absorbed by the plant.
How to Use Salt to Kill Weeds
Applying salt to weeds must be done extremely carefully so as to avoid damage to nearby vegetation. Use a funnel to direct the saltwater to the weed; this will help keep the solution from splattering.
Once you have applied the solution, water any nearby plants well. This will help to mitigate damage and will cause the salt to leach below the root zone of the plants.
Caution: A popular question asked by gardeners is “Can I pour salt on the ground to kill weeds?” This is not a good practice, as it can easily damage surrounding vegetation and soil. The salt weed killing method works best if the salt is diluted and applied directly to the weed. Always use caution when working with salt – do not ingest the salt or rub it in your eyes.