Vinegar soaking to kill weeds. Good idea?

droctApril 14, 2008

I'm considering buying a few multi-gallon containers of White Vinegar from the grocery store (so probably only about 5% concentration) and just dumping it over an old garden patch at my house (been basically unused for god only knows how long before we moved in) that has become overrun with weeds (a number of different kinds, and I'm only just getting into gardening so I can't really quite identify the types yet). Last year I tried spraying some on the surfaces of the weeds with limited success. I'm hoping by pouring on more of the vinegar so it soaks down a few inches into the soil will kill the weeds more throughly. (Hopefully the roots will at least be damaged, so it'll be easier to keep them under control afterward).

My question is this: Is this a good idea? Will this work at all? Will I kill too much good stuff (like bacteria etc) in the soil?

And secondly how long will I have to wait after doing something like this to start planting other things in the area? Will the soil be alright in a week or two? Would I be able to eliminate the vinegar by simply watering the garden after letting it sit in the soil for a few days?

I'm pretty new to gardening, but this year we'd really like to be able to use the garden patch in our yard and grow some of our own food!

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JAYK(8b)

It will work on some weeds, and not on most. It will affect soil organisms in the area, but it shouldn't lead to any long lasting problems as they will repopulate over time.

Hard to say how long to wait before replant. That would depend a great deal on how much the site receives. I would use a several week interval removing the remaining weeds and applying a good compost mulch.

You might also consider using a smothering technique to control your weeds. Cardboard is often used, as is a thick layer of newspapers.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 2:04AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Vinegar, in the 10 to 20 percent solutions not the normal household 5 percent solution, is a plant killer. When applied properly, at the right time, bright, hot sunny day, it can kill all the top growth of plants it contacts. Just pouring it on will not really do much since it must contact the plant foliage. I have seen nothing to indicate what Vinegar does to soil bacteria, but since it will kill plants I would suspect that it would adversly affect soil bacteria in some way. I do know that earthworms do not like Vinegar, even normal household Vinegar.
Rather than pouring something that will cost you a lot of money on your soil, and will not do the job you want done as well as you think, put down some newspaper and cover the newspaper with a good mulch, to hide the paper and hold it in place, and that will kill the "weeds" you have, prevent others from growing, aid in soil moisture retention, and just generally make growing conditions better for the plants you put there.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 8:43AM
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wvbetsy(z6WV)

Rather than using vinegar or weed killer on your flower bed, why not put down six layers of black and white newspaper, then a layer of compost followed by a layer of mulch. The weeds will die and decompose along with the newspaper. Wait a month or so then plant your beds. I do this all the time when I want to create a new flower bed. This way I don't have worry with weeds or grass. The newspaper blocks the light and doesn't allow the weeds or grass to grow. The compost conditions the soil. The mulch keeps the soil cool and helps retain moisture.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 8:29PM
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midnight1957(8)

I am having a problem finding 10% vinegar in the midlands of SC. Where can I buy it, no one seems to have even heard of it here. One person told me to look at canning stores but there is none around here to my knowledge. Any help will be greatly appreciated without having to mail order it because of the shipping expense.

Thanks and have a Blessed day.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 10:59PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Many garden centers carry "weed" controls containing 20 percent Vinegar, called Acetic Acid most of the time, and the people working in these garden centers do not know that Acetic Acid and vinegar are the same thing, or at least vinegar contains Acetic Acid. Is this a problem with our educational system?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 8:55AM
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STARBABY11221_YAHOO_COM

WHY WOULD U SOAK PLANTS IN VINGER.THATS BAD TO KILL PLANTS THEY HELP OUR GARDEN STAY PUT .IM DOING A SCIENCE PROJECT ON KILLING PLANTS I DONT LIKE IT. IM IN THE FITIH GRADE 9 YEARS OLD I HATE IT.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 2:40PM
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