Boiling Water And Plants – Boiling Water Weed Control And Other Uses

boiling water
boiling water
(Image credit: petrovval)

As gardeners, we battle weeds regularly. We do our best to kill off winter weeds that bloom in spring. We fight with annual and perennial weeds that grow in summer. We especially strive to get rid of weeds sprouting and reseeding in our lawn and garden. Few things are more unpleasant and spoil our gardening efforts as much as seeing the weeds taking over.

Of course, over years of attempts, we’ve learned a few tricks to keep the weeds at bay. In addition to pulling, digging, and spraying with homemade weed killers, there’s another simple tool we might add to our weed-killing toolbelt – boiling water weed control.

It makes sense, as even those irritating weeds cannot exist after being scalded. If you’re new to using boiling water in the garden, you may have questions or wonder if this method really works. With a few exceptions, it does, and often quite effectively.

How to Use Boiling Water as Weed Control

Of course, just as boiling water kills weeds, it can also kill our valuable plants if not used properly. A tea kettle with a spout and a heatproof handle can be an invaluable asset when using this method to kill weeds.

The spout allows us to direct the flow of water right on the weeds, while the kettle retains most of the heat. Pour slowly, especially if there is grass nearby or ornamental plants that might be damaged. Pour generously, but don’t waste it. There are likely many more weeds to kill off.

For plants with a long taproot, such as the dandelion, it will take more water to reach the bottom of the root. Other weeds with a fibrous root system near the top of the soil don’t need as much to be taken out permanently. To work most efficiently, you can prune off most of the foliage and treat the roots with boiling water in the garden.

Be safe when using boiling water weed control. Wear long pants and sleeves and closed-toe shoes in case there is a spill or an accidental splash.

Boiling Water and Plants

According to online info, “the heat will collapse the plant's cell structure and kill it.” Some hardy weeds may need more than one boiling water treatment. Using this method makes weeds easier to pull and remove from your beds and borders.

In thickly planted areas or if valuable plants are growing close to weeds, it is probably best not to use this means of weed control there. If you’re removing weeds from your lawn, take this chance to reseed when the weeds are gone. Weed seeds have a hard time sprouting through thick, healthy lawn grass.

Boiling water can also be used for disinfecting soil. If you want to use boiling water sterilization for seeds, seedlings, and juvenile specimens, boil the water for about five minutes and let it cool to room temperature. Then gently pour the water over your soil prior to planting.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.