Horticultural Vinegar for Weed Control, Part 2

| 11/14/2017 10:51:00 AM

Tags: vinegar, defoliants, natural pest control, Miriam Van Zant, Illinois,

The advice on horticultural vinegar presented below is republished with permission by Miriam Kritzer Van Zant, President/CEO of Community Conservation Botanical Garden of Southern Illinios. You can reach Miriam and the Botanical Garden at ccbgsi@gmail.com with questions about this recipe and what works in your locality.

This is Part 2 of a 2-part series on on using horticultural vinegar. It gives instructions and formulas for making herbicides and includes new formulas which work in acidic wetland soils. Part 1 explains the reasons to use horticultural vinegar, why new formulas are needed, and considers other relatively non-toxic methods of weed control.

How to Use Concentrated Vinegar

Put on protective gloves and eye protection to handle strong vinegar. It is dangerous to get directly splashed in an eye. In case of getting it on you, rinse off with cool water as soon as possible. You may wish to drink water before and after handling concentrated vinegar to offset the drying effect on the throat.

General Information for Handling Vinegar Herbicides

For mixing herbicides, gently pour vinegar, dish soap and additives of choice together, and either mix them with a stirrer, or also securely cap the mixing bottle and shake the ingredients together. For larger batches, use a funnel to pour mixed vinegars back into the same bottles for storage. Mark them as pre-mixed, and what you've added. Pour into 32-oz hand sprayer bottles, or other sprayer. Write down your formulas elsewhere as well.

The defoliant solution may soon smear what was written on storage bottles. Wear protective eyewear, such as sunglasses or goggles during application. Set the sprayer to a gentle fine mist. Later in the season, additives may become increasingly important, as plants can thicken waxy cuticles on mature leaves.

Spray the solution directly on leaves, from a few inches away. Include undersides if you can. Reapply as needed. Be careful about getting defoliant on the wrong plants, or of it splashing back at you. Exposure to small amounts of residual spray may wilt part of a leaf but will rarely permanently damage neighboring plants, so no need to panic if a little gets on a plant you want to preserve. You may want to rinse a neighboring plant if you’re really concerned about residual spray. I’ve never needed to.

12/1/2017 2:37:13 PM

Thanks for your appreciation Diane, and for the great ideas on your gardening website. The two hort vinegar Mother Earth blog articles were the result of 5-yrs of experimentation. Community Conservation Botanical Garden of Southern Illinois (CCBGSI) is a tax deductible charity. If you want to support this work and other organic gardening and native plant projects, kindly consider CCBGSI when choosing charities to contribute to. Amazon Smile is another way to donate. Miriam at ccbgsi@gmail.com

12/1/2017 2:37:12 PM

Thanks for appreciating the work Diane, and for the wealth of ideas on the Garden Green website. These two Mother Earth blog articles are the result of 5-yrs of experimentation. Donations to CCBGSI help the environment, native plants and organic agriculture, and are tax deductible. Miriam at ccbgsi@gmail.com

11/15/2017 10:20:07 PM

I am grateful for your work on horticultural vinegar, and asking people to contribute their best recipes. It will be so helpful to have a good replacement for glyphosate, 2.4-D and other much more toxic chemicals. Diane Emerson, Garden Green

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