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Vinegar against weeds: how useful is it?

Vinegar is an insider tip against weeds in pavement joints, since herbicides are banned there. As a home remedy for weeds, vinegar is not as unproblematic as it sounds - in many ways.

Vinegar against weeds: how useful is it?
Vinegar against weeds: how useful is it?

Just a few sprouts, now annoying pests in the bed: weeds are annoying and the strategies for combating them are almost as varied as the weeds themselves. Inexpensive, practical and convenient - vinegar is recommended time and again as a home remedy for weed control, but it has it when used in the garden so its pitfalls.

Does vinegar work against weeds?

To put it straight away: conventional vinegar or vinegar essence diluted with water can destroy weeds in pavement joints and beds in the garden. Plants that are directly hit die a short time later because of acetic acid. However, the weeds do not disappear deep into the roots, never to be seen again - the treatment is more like a chemical chopping off of the plants.

Why is weed vinegar not a good idea?

Vinegar and vinegar essence have an even more serious effect on the soil in the garden or on beds adjacent to paved areas, where the vinegar and water get there, than on weeds. Because vinegar not only provides a pleasantly sour note in salads - if used regularly, acetic acid also makes the soil in the garden more acidic. Plants usually don't like this, so you should always lime to raise the pH to a level that is plant-compatible. Vinegar, and especially vinegar essence, is so highly concentrated that it also affects the life of the soil.

Those who treat natural stone surfaces with vinegar essence often ruin the entire surface, as acetic acid particularly attacks the surface of calcareous stones and leaves permanent stains.

Fighting weeds with vinegar or vinegar essence has its price. And quite a high one - sometimes for your own wallet. Because legally, the use of vinegar for weed control is a dark gray zone.

The use of vinegar as a herbicide is strictly prohibited

All means of destroying weeds are subject to the Plant Protection Act and, when applied, what is known as “good professional practice”. Just common sense. This also means that you follow the instructions for use of the products and that you do not fight weeds with any substances such as vinegar and thus often cause more harm than good.

The Plant Protection Act only allows the use of approved agents - including for controlling and destroying weeds. The moment you spray vinegar on plants and hope that it will have an effect, you use it as a herbicide. And that is neither permitted nor intended for it. In principle a double administrative offense.

Every plant protection product is also examined for its impact on the environment before it is approved by the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL). In order to achieve this, manufacturers have to prove, among other things, that the pesticides are effective and not harmful to users or the environment according to the current state of science. With vinegar, nobody will know the effect on soil organisms or the concentration that destroys weeds but leaves the soil life alone.

More about weeds

What are the alternatives to vinegar against weeds?

Anyone who wants to combat plants chemically should and may only take herbicides from specialist shops. There are even weed killers with acetic acid as an active ingredient, but in exactly the right concentration and chemically processed. The use of herbicides is prohibited on all sealed surfaces, and this includes paved surfaces as well as gravel surfaces or gravel gardens.

As alternatives to garden weed control, regular hoeing and weeding are best. Yes, even if it is more arduous than spraying. A layer of mulch not only keeps the soil moist, but also hinders weeds. If there is some germinating in the mulch, you can easily pull it out of the loose material. But in good time, because you can't chop mulched soil very well. Dense ground covers where they fit are good protection against weeds in the garden. You can use joint scrapers as alternatives on paved surfaces, which are a very good fitness exercise for larger areas.

Weed burners or flame devices, which let the weeds die after a short contact, are more convenient. It is not necessary to burn the weeds completely, the heat shock is enough. However, the treatment has to be repeated regularly. To prevent weeds from settling in the first place, you can fill joints with special weed-inhibiting sand.