A pet-friendly weed killer is the answer pet owners are looking for. When you have a garden and also pets, things can get a little out of hand. There are weeds growing everywhere in the garden and driveway, but you can’t do much about it. You’re worried if you use a commercial weed killer, it might create problems for your dog or cat. But at the same time, you don’t like the way your garden or backyard looks.
Luckily, there’s a way to keep your garden or yard in good shape without putting the life or health of your pets at risk. You can use materials lying around in the kitchen to make a pet-friendly weed killer. It’s a cost-effective solution that gives you many ways to deal with different species of weeds and invasive plants. Give these recipes a try and keep your pets safe.
Why Choose a Pet-Friendly Weed Killer
If there’s one thing we all know about chemicals is that there’s always a downside to spraying them around. Pets are curious by nature, and your dog or cat would often sniff or lick the chemicals. That could lead to some serious health problems that would require an immediate visit to the vet. But these are not the only reasons that you’d want to make your own pet-friendly weed killer instead of buying a commercial one.
- Chemical herbicides make the area not safe for children for at least 24 hours or more.
- The toxins in the commercial weed killers also kill the other plants, including flowers and perennials you grow in the garden.
- If you spray chemicals in your garden, chances are you will have to get rid of all the veggies that might get contaminated as well.
- Even commercial weed killers that are labeled as safe to use still pose a health risk for pets and children if they touch or ingest the material.
- Toxic chemicals in herbicides stay in the soil for a long time and might even break down into more hazardous materials over time.
- No matter how careful you are, pets will end up touching the chemicals, absorbing them with their paws, and licking them. So it’s not worth taking the risk with chemical herbicides.
Recipes for A Pet-Friendly Weed Killer
The best part about a homemade pet-friendly weed killer is that it won’t cost you nearly as much as buying a commercial herbicide. In addition, you can experiment with the different materials you have in the kitchen. Each homemade weed killer you make will target a specific type of weed. And if the invasive plants that have taken root in your garden or driveway are resistant to any type of weed killer, you can resort to the other alternative methods we detail at the end of this article.
Vinegar Weed Killer
Start by rummaging through your kitchen cabinets and locating the vinegar bottle. You can use any type of vinegar you have, although white vinegar serves the purpose here perfectly. This homemade pet-friendly weed killer is very effective, although it can be too effective. By that, we mean that it might change the chemical structure of the soil so much so that plants will not grow there for a long time.
How to Make it
You will need one gallon of white vinegar, one tablespoon of dishwasher or vegetable oil to make the weed killer stick to the ground, and one cup of salt. The salt, in this case, is optional, although it increases the efficacy of the weed killer. Mix the materials together and shake well. Watch out for the froth that would spill over the sides. Pour the liquid into a spray bottle and put a label on it.
How to Use it
You can spray this pet-friendly weed killer anywhere weeds, and invasive plants grow. It will kill the grass after a few sprays. Use it on a sunny and warm day for the best results. Keep in mind that the salt in the weed killer stays in the soil and will prevent any plants from growing in that spot. It’s more suitable for driveways and other spots where you won’t be growing any plants.
Not all homemade weed killers have to be that drastic. Sometimes you just want to get rid of broadleaf grass without affecting the flowering plants in its vicinity. And for that, clove oil is a wonderful ingredient for a pet-friendly weed killer that also repels rodents and other wildlife. On top of that, it has a pleasant smell that wouldn’t put you or the pets off.
How to Make it
You’ll need two cups of water, 10 drops of clove oil, and a spray bottle. Boil the water first, then add the clove oil. Mix it well, then let it cool down. Fill the spray bottle with the liquid and label it. Keep it in a safe place away from the reach of children.
How to Use it
This is a safe weed killer to use just about anywhere. It targets weeds and grass but doesn’t have much impact on other plants. Also, it doesn’t impact the structure of the soil in any way. Spray the weeds once a day until you get the results you want. If the weeds seem to be unaffected, consider adding another 10 drops of clove oil to the spray bottle. Use caution with this strong concoction and avoid spraying potted plants or your veggie garden with it.
One thing about weeds and invasive plants, they come in different species, and not all of them respond to weed killers in the same way. You might have some success with the vinegar-based weed killer or the clove oil one. But sooner or later, you’ll find a weed species that keeps growing no matter what you throw at it. If that’s the case, then you need a potent concoction with lemon oil at the heart of it.
How to Make it
For this powerful weed killer, you’ll need one cup of vinegar, 10 drops of lemon oil, and one cup of water. Mix the ingredients and shake them well. Let them rest for a while and make sure the lemon oil is not floating at the top of the liquid. Pour the weed killer into a spray bottle and keep it in a safe place.
How to Use it
As with all potent weed killers, you’d need to use your best judgment when spraying this one. It is so potent it will kill any plant it comes in contact with. So avoid spraying it near flower beds, shrubs, or veggie patches. The lemon oil is the secret to this quite effective homemade weed killer. But unlike the other vinegar-based recipe we mentioned above, this weed killer doesn’t have a long-lasting impact on the soil. When you’re done with the weeds, flood the soil and let the vinegar and lemon oil wash away before you replant that area.
Borax Weed Killer
Sometimes you want to kill more than just weeds in your lawn, driveway, or garden. Ants, in particular, are pesky insects that can change the dynamic around the property. So why not kill two birds with one stone and use borax to eliminate both ants and weeds at the same time? Your pets will be grateful.
How to Make it
You’ll need one cup of powdered borax, 2 gallons of warm water, and a sealed container to keep the potent weed killer in. Add the borax to the water and stir it thoroughly. Mash any clumps of powdered borax to dissolve them. When you can no longer see the white grains of borax in the water, let it rest for an hour. Pour the weed killer into a sealed container and label it.
How to Use it
This amount of borax-based weed killer you made is enough to cover about 1,000 square feet of your garden or lawn. Use it sparingly on areas where Ground Ivy or Creeping Charlie grow. Avoid spraying other plants with it since it’s just as lethal to all plants, not just invasive ones.
Alternative Pet-Friendly Weed Killers
Although the above homemade pet-friendly weed killers are quite effective in eliminating weeds and other pesky critters as well, they are not without their risks. Yes, they won’t harm your pets or children, but they will just as quickly kill your rose bushes and rhododendrons as they would the crabgrass and ivy. If only there was a safer way to kill the weeds without damaging the surrounding plants as well. As it turns out, there are many methods to eliminate weeds without having to douse them with liquids.
- Mulching: The best way to kill a weed is to smother it to death. You do that by covering the soil with a thick layer of leaves, pine needles, or shredded oak bark. These organic materials cut off the sunlight and oxygen supply for the weeds, and eventually, they die.
- Tarp: This effective way to kill weeds can only be used on large areas that you have no use of for a few months. It’s a slow but effective method. Spread a large sheet of plastic or tarp over the area where the weeds grow. Pin the corners of the tarp with cinder blocks and keep them there for a few weeks. When you finally lift up the tarp, every plant that used to grow there will be dead.
- Fire: Another way to kill weeds is to torch them. It works like a charm, and no weed species can stand up to the destructive forces of fire. The drawback is, you can only use it in areas where you don’t have garden-variety plants growing. Use extra caution, and don’t go overboard with the flammable liquid you use.
- Manually: A less risky option is to put on your best mittens and start pulling the weeds out. Reach down as close to the ground as you can, grab the weed stems firmly, and pull them out in one go. The weeds will come out along with their roots as well. Burn the weeds at the edge of your property.
- Deadheading: We talked about deadheading roses before. You can use the same technique to prevent weeds from growing seeds. Once they flower, go around plucking those flowers and putting an end to the life cycle of these pesky weeds.