Horticultural Vinegar for Weed Control, Part 2


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


 

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.

CCBGSI
5/27/2018 10:55:44 PM

Like dissolves like. Waxes are closely related to oils chemically. Plant leaves have an outer waxy coating called the cuticle. The purpose of the vinegar,soap, and oil, is to soften and dissolve at least part of the cuticle, letting the sun dry out the leaf. Soap will also help disperse oil into small droplets in solution, making it easier to spray. In addition, the oil and soap help the vinegar cling to the leaves. Most likely, the vinegar not only softens and/or dissolves the wax but also contributes to drying out the tissue beneath the cuticle and to cells bursting after taking it up. The combination is more effective than any one of the ingredients alone.


CCBGSI
5/27/2018 10:50:03 PM

Like dissolves like. Waxes are closely related to oils chemically. Plant leaves have an outer waxy coating called the cuticle. The purpose of the vinegar,soap, and oil, is to soften and dissolve at least part of the cuticle, letting the sun dry out the leaf. Soap will also help disperse oil into small droplets in solution, making it easier to spray. In addition, the oil and soap help the vinegar cling to the leaves. Most likely, the vinegar not only softens and/or dissolves the wax but also contributes to drying out the tissue beneath the cuticle and to cells bursting after taking it up. The combination is more effective than any one of the ingredients alone.


Tanya
5/23/2018 6:42:03 AM

Hi Miriam- Thanks for these informative articles. I would find it helpful to understand more about what actions the other ingredients actually take on the plants. For example, why would you need add dishsoap or the various oils to the recipe? Thanks again!






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