We’re all looking for ways to keep our lawns weed-free going into fall, and now a lawn care expert is sharing his top organic, pesticide-free tip for getting rid of pretty but pesky lodgers such as daisies, dandelions and buttercups.
When it comes to getting rid of lawn weeds, 'alcohol is the answer,' says Carlos Real, managing director of Total Lawn (opens in new tab). 'While it’s a bit unusual and may seem like a waste of perfectly good alcohol, clear spirits are a common kitchen cupboard item that can help remove weeds.'
Using vodka to kill weeds
The best approach for getting rid of weeds is to dilute the vodka – you could also use another strong clear spirit, such as gin – with water and spray it onto the problem area to give your weeds a hangover from hell, says Carlos.
'Try to do this on a sunny day, as the combination of sunlight and vodka can leave your weeds feeling thirsty and dehydrated, causing them to die out,' he says.
Why it works
'The reason vodka works so well on weeds is that it's highly flammable and can evaporate quickly, within a few days,' explains groundkeeper and advisor to outdoor furniture company Patio Productions (opens in new tab) Stacie Krljanovic.
'As soon as you spray it over a weed, the vodka will evaporate into the air very quickly. The plant will then begin to dry out because of this evaporation process, which eventually leads to its death.'
Stacie adds that whilst vodka does not kill weeds permanently, it will however, attack the roots of the weeds and prevent them from growing back for a few months.
If you’re looking for an alternative organic way to kill weeds as part of an effective lawn care regime, you might consider alternatives to alcohol, says Daniel Carruthers, director of Cultivar Greenhouses (opens in new tab).
'I haven’t seen enough of the use of vodka to gauge its effectiveness, but for people who don’t want to have liquor around for this purpose, there are other at-home substitutes you can try to kill weeds with first.'
Daniel recommends neat lemon juice – 'not mixed with anything, very eco-friendly' – and vinegar mixed with water as liquid weedkillers, or sprinkling offending intruders with salt or baking soda.
Jayne Dowle is an award-winning gardening, homes and property writer who writes for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. She was awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021.
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