By this time of our summer season, many of us have lovely, lush flower and vegetable gardens and gorgeous landscaping in full bloom. In turn, those pesky weeds grow right along side our desirable plantings so what’s an eco-friendly gardener to do when it comes to getting rid of fast growing nuisances? Here are 3 great eco-friendly ways to combat weeds.

1) Douse them ~ Whether you choose scalding hot water, vinegar, baking soda or salt, any one of these methods will help kill your unwanted weeds. Use scalding hot water on areas like concrete and cement pavers where weeds are solitary from other growings. You can even reuse water you’ve cooked with (think boiled potatoes and pasta) for an extra eco-friendly boost.

Because vinegar will kill any living plant, be careful to spray only what you intend to do away with. A 50/50 water/vinegar mixture should do the trick. For extra power, use during a non-windy, high sun day in order to utilize the heat from the sun’s rays. You can also add a small dab of dish detergent to help the mixture cling to the weed.

Both baking soda and salt will cause damage to surrounding soil so take care to use only these techniques in areas such as driveways and sidewalks. Because it impairs soil for future growth, be wary of runoff as well.

2) Get to the root of it all ~ In combination with the above mentioned solutions, the laborious nature of hand weeding can be lessened. Let the effects of your methods sit 24-hours and then pull the whole root of the weed to help prevent regrowth. Use a hoe around/under the root if it’s deep to make it easier to pull. It’s best to attack weeds when they’re young. Their root systems aren’t as hardy and will be much easier to pull. Also, they will come out with much more ease after a good rain, minimizing your efforts.

3) Cover ~ Mulching with an environmentally friendly material can dramatically derail the growth of weeds. You can begin with wet newspaper or wet cardboard and then cover with straw or arsenic free bagged mulch. Anything between 2”-4” of cover is a fabulous weed deterrent.

Although the toughest weeds will likely require more than one treatment of whatever technique you choose, early prevention is still the best. Stay on top of your weeding and your outside beauty is sure to flourish.