There are several different classes of sprays for controlling weeds organically in gardens. And when it comes to practical landscaping tips, this post has been one of the more popular.
Spraying Foliage With Organic “Burn” Material
The other way that some herbicides work is to “burn” the foliage. Sprays that strip the protective surface away from the leaves allow the plant to dry out and all the top growth to die. Acetic acid – vinegar – is an example of this kind of “burning” spray.
The problem with this is that some plants have roots that store energy and if you burn off the tops, the roots produce another set of leaves.
The Tricks to Contact Sprays
The trick to contact sprays that burn foliage is to repeat the spraying several times.
You spray the first time and the leaves burn, the plant goes brown and then the roots start producing a new set of leaves. You need to spray again as soon as the leaves start to unfold.
The trick here is to kill the new leaf before it has much time to produce energy for the now-hungry root. If you kill the leaf before the root can replace the energy it took to produce the leaf, the root is now weakened. Some roots die after the second spray.
The bigger roots produce yet a third crop of leaves and your job is to spray yet again when the leaves start to unfurl and unroll. This is going to severely weaken the roots.
It will only be the biggest and toughest of roots that will have the energy for another leaf production and if you get them again, it’s all over.
If you miss spraying and allow the leaf to replenish the root, you essentially start from square one.
There are three kinds of sprays that control weeds organically.
The first is a derivative of soap. These soaps strip the protective layers from leaf surfaces
The second is acetic acid (vinegar) But not household vinegar as it’s too weak. You need an industrial strength vinegar that burns leaf surfaces to control weeds organically.
A third group of citrus based herbicides are coming onto the market. These were previously used as additions to the acetic acid sprays but have been found to be extremely effective at stripping the protective surfaces from leaves and do an equally good job of “burning” the plants off.
You can read about my experiments in controlling weeds with homemade vinegar herbicides here
Burnout Weed & Grass Killer is one of the most popular and effective products on the market (Note that chemical companies are starting to advertise on Amazon on top of the organic products. Do not confuse the two.)