Summer is here and while the lockdown situation eases globally, the weeds in your lawn and garden are guaranteed to get the better of us, or are they?
We are going to uncover the truth behind a common household weed treatment – does salt kill weeds?
Myth or fact, we will find out as well as the expert recommendation as to why you should or should not be using salt to kill weeds.
The common garden weeds are stubborn, to say the least, they creep out of every possible crack and always show up uninvited. They are hard to get rid of and know exactly the most annoying of places to make their home.
There are tons and tons of pesticides and chemical treatments available in the market which end up costing an arm and a leg but offer no guaranteed resolve!
The costly methods work to kill the weeds but they tend to regrow even stronger. So, a cheaper, more effective and reliable solution is wanted by garden owners all over the country.
Salt… is commonly found in all households and costs next to nothing to buy. It has been deemed to be a DIY weed killer online, but we will find out if it truly works. If so, you can wipe out weeds easily using just table salt instead of expensive weed killer sprays.
So, can you wipe out the excessive unwanted growth of weeds using salt?
Let’s find out!
- Salt Treatment for Weeds: Does It Work & How?
Salt Treatment for Weeds: Does It Work & How?
What is Salt?
Well, the normal table salt is chemically known as sodium chloride. It has been recommended by many to be good for killing weeds. Believe it or not, it is true!
The normal table salt is actually an easy and inexpensive way to kill plants, or in this case – weeds. It can be used mixed together with normal water or vinegar and sprayed to kill unwanted plants.
You may be wondering, how that works.
Salt contains sodium, a toxic metal ion that easily dissolves in water. Although it doesn’t look or feel dangerous, it can move along easily through the soil. As a result, it can reach the roots of plants. If the sodium content is high enough, then plants will die whether weeds or any other normal plant.
This happens through a process that you may be familiar with from biology class – osmosis!
When the plant senses more salt in its surrounding environment, it will try to neutralize the environment by excreting water. As a result, the leaves or stems will dehydrate and slowly die out. Salt only kills through direct contact so if you spray on leaves, the leaves will start to change color and die. If it reaches the roots then the roots die and as a result, the plant will die as a whole.
So, although living things need salt, too much of it can kill it as is the case with plants. Not only that, but it can also kill other organisms such as insects,earthworms and slugs, etc. But it can also kill other things like bacteria and fungus regardless of them being good or bad.
Step By Step: How To Use Salt As Weed Killer
Although it may seem straight forward, due to the potential damage it is recommended that you are aware of how to apply it effectively. Here is how to make DIY weed killer using salt:
Step 1: Making A Solution Using Salt
You can make a solution using water very easily. You need to mix 1/3 water with 2/3 salt. So, the salt content needs to be more than that of the water. The stronger the solution the better, but be mindful since you will cause more damage to the soil.
Step 2: Apply It Directly
You can put the solution in a spray bottle or in a bucket or water sprinkler. Then you have to apply it directly on top of the weeds you want to get rid of.
Step 3: Repeat
You will need to apply the salt water solution repeatedly on the weeds until they die. You can store and use the solution for up to a week. Be sure to shake it up before each use or else the salt will simply settle in the bottom of the solution.
Using salt water solution to kill weeds is fairly straightforward. However, we will give you some tipson how to get the best use out of using it.
Alternative Ways of Making Weed Killer with Salt
You can tweak the recipe for making salt weed killers easily.
- Simply, replace the water with vinegar to increase the effectiveness of the solution.
- Also, you can use boiling hot water to slow down the regrowth of weeds.
- You can add a few drops of dishwasher soap and that will make the solution cling on the surface of the leaves or stems.
- You can also sprinkle salt directly for killing weeds but it will take much longer for the salt to dissolve and start working.
Tips For Applying Weed Killer With Salt
When you have more than one way to make the weed killing solution, there must be so many different ways of applying it to plants as well. You are right there is and we will tell you the best ways to do it.
If you are in a hot and humid climate then you can even get away by using just salt alone.Because the soil has enough moisture to dissolve the salt for it to start working. It is also good for rainy weather so that the rain takes care of diluting and dissolving it.
Spraying it is easily the best way to do it and it will give you the most control when using it on paved pathways, driveways and sidewalks, etc. The smaller the spray, the easier it is to treat weeds. You can also spray directly on the leaves to kill them.
If you wanted to get rid of stubborn weeds that are long and strong, you can even use your pressure washer. It will be best for the stems and roots of longer weeds. Also, the pressure will uproot smaller weeds.
The Disadvantages of Using Salt to Kill Weeds
As you can imagine, since salt or sodium has no ability to judge whether an organism is good or bad, it is likely to kill whatever it comes in contact with (in the right amount). As a result, there are certain risks of using salt as a weed killer.
Pesticides or other chemicals tend to break down eventually washed away by water, etc. But sodium will not break down, it will simply travel through the soil towards other plants, or rivers, etc. So, you can imagine all the salt will pile up elsewhere causing unwanted damage.
So, if everyone were to use salt as a weed killing treatment then the amount of sodium in the soil of that particular area would see an exponential increase. Research shows that if too much sodium is exposed to the soil, then the soil may become inactive for as long as 2 years!
That’s right, for as long as 2 years nothing will grow in soil that is excessively high in sodium. The following are some of the risks or disadvantages of using salt as a weed killing treatment:
- It won’t work on a large number of weeds unless the amount of salt is very high
- Too much salt can kill not just weeds but ANY plant
- It is not a permanent solution but excessive use can cause permanent damage to soil
- You cannot use it on lawns as your grass will also die
- You can only use it where only weed or unwanted plants grow
- Overall soil health will deteriorate over time so, it cannot be used regularly
As you would imagine after learning the disadvantages, using salt is definitely not recommended by plant lovers. I do not recommend it as well. However, you may choose to use it to kill weeds ONLY when they are growing in driveways or paved pathways where nothing else grows.
Frequently Asked Questions About Using Salt To Kill Weeds
1. Does salt kill weeds?
Yes, salt works perfectly well to kill not just weeds but plants, in general.
2. Is there a special salt for using for weeds?
It may sound like it, but you really don’t need any special kind of salt for killing weeds. You just need the common table salt.
3. Is it safe to use salt for killing weeds?
Salt is a safe way to kill weeds but it can just as easily become a danger as well. You do not want to use too much or you can seriously destroy the soil health of the area used on.
4. How long does salt need to work?
Unlike chemicals and pesticides, salt only needs water to be activated. So, as soon as it dissolves in water it starts to work. It can take as long as 10 days to see the results of your salt treatment.
In Conclusion: Should You Be Using Salt In Your Garden?
Salt is not too costly and is very commonly available as easy as your dinner table.
Although it may have sounded strange to you much like a myth, salt is in fact effective in killing weeds. Salt causes plants to dehydrate and disrupts water balance causing them to die. Since it can kill any plant, caution is required when using it.
Salt is best to be used rarely for small areas and not for your regular garden area. It is most suitable for the odd weed growth in driveways or concrete pavements. But it can make soil unhealthy so do not use it in your garden or lawn.
So, as a plant lover and nature lover, I simply do not recommend using salt as it can easily become a habit and cause long term damage to soil health and kill all surrounding plants as well.
But if you are able to take all necessary precautions and use it asan herbicide then you should use it only where weeds are and away from your garden area, lawn, other plants or within close proximity to other tree roots.
It is best to get in the habit of tolerance and patience when dealing with weeds, rather than getting frustrated. Use a mixture of home remedies, chemical treatments and physical weed removal for best results.
Let us know your thoughts on using salt as a weed killer and whether or not you would use it!