Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Vinegar Beyond Salad

esigner,How to remove algae, horticultural vinegar, vinegar as cleaner

Hello fellow readers, Vinegar goes beyond salad. Using white vinegar in household cleaning is inexpensive and effective. While it leaves your house smelling like a pickle, the more natural approach is well worth it. Plus, vinegar can help control weeds.

Horticultural-grade Vinegar

Ron from Hope asked if I had heard of horticultural-grade vinegar as a weed killer in the garden. I recently learned of the horticultural grade while searching for algae remedies for my natural stone patio. Spray a mix of one-third vinegar to two-thirds water. It will not only kill algae but will help prevent it from growing back.Designer,How to remove algae, horticultural vinegar, vinegar as cleaner

In a nutshell, horticultural vinegar is more potent (typically 20 percent acidity) versus the 5 percent acidity of the household stuff. You can find horticultural vinegar in home stores, garden centers, or online.

Vinegar Weed-Killer Recipe

John from Stone Church, PA, shared his vinegar and salt weed killer recipe: 1 gallon of household white vinegar and 1 cup of table salt mixed with one tablespoon of liquid dish soap. With or without salt, vinegar is nonselective in what it kills, including desired plants. The household vinegar will only kill the top of a plant, though the salt added may give the one-two punch. But salt will remain in the soil, which is not good in the garden, as you can tell by looking at plants impacted by road salt used in the winter.

Horticultural-grade vinegar can kill roots too.

The 20 percent horticultural-grade vinegar can kill roots too but is especially caustic if inhaled or in contact with your skin or eyes, so wear protection. It’s a rumor that vinegar provides fertilizing benefits to your garden. It doesn’t increase the pH levels in soil either, as the effects are temporary unless used in substantial doses. I’d only consider using the salt with vinegar remedy or horticultural vinegar for persistent weeds in gravel driveways, paths, or cracks in sidewalks or walkways.

Designer,How to remove algae, horticultural vinegar, vinegar as cleaner

Algae on my patio: The moss is a keeper, so keep the vinegar clear of the joints!

They say adding 1 cup of orange or citrus oil to a gallon of horticultural vinegar is far more effective. Either way, it needs to be applied on a sunny, above 70-degree dry day, with no rain in the forecast to be effective. Then keep pets away for a few hours until the application dissipates. Of course, the old pull and dig technique may be better. Plus, it’s a great way to relieve stress – take it out on your weeds! Garden dilemmas? and your favorite Podcast App.

Column Updated 6/30/22

Other vinegar tips :

  • Spraying vinegar or sprinkling it in sandboxes or play areas helps deter ants and keeps cats away.
  • Soak garden tools in undiluted vinegar overnight, then rinse them to remove rust.
  • I’ve heard vinegar rubbed on the fur of a skunked dog works well. Thank God I’ve never had to try this, but if I did, I’d use the household variety and rinse it off after the rub down.
Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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