How to kill mint?

Invasive Mint – How To Kill Mint Plants

While there are a number of uses for mint plants, invasive varieties, of which there are many, can quickly take over the garden. This is why controlling mint is vital; otherwise, you may be left scratching your head and wondering how to kill mint plants without going crazy in the process.

Controlling Mint Plants

Even with the less aggressive varieties, controlling mint in the garden is important. Other than placing barriers deep in the ground to prevent their runners from spreading, growing mint in containers is probably the best way to keep these plants under control.

Plant mint plants in bottomless containers that are sunk deep into the ground or grow them in large containers above ground. When sinking them in the ground, try to keep the container’s rim at least an inch (2.5 cm.) or so above the soil. This should help keep the plant from spilling out into the rest of the garden.

How to Kill Mint Plants

Even under the best of situations, mint can become uncontrollable, wreaking havoc in the garden and driving gardeners to the edge. No garden lover enjoys killing plants, even mint. Invasive plants, however, oftentimes make this task a necessary evil. While it’s difficult to kill mint, it is possible, but keep in mind that “patience is a virtue.”

Of course, digging up plants (and even giving them away) is always an option, BUT even when digging, if just one piece of the plant is left behind, it can oftentimes root itself and the whole process starts again. So if you choose this route, be sure to check and recheck the area for any remaining runners or plant debris that may have been missed.

There are several ways to kill mint without the use of harmful chemicals, which should always be a last resort. Many people have had luck using boiling water to kill mint. Others swear by using a homemade mixture of salt, dish soap and white vinegar (2 cups salt, 1 teaspoon soap, 1 gallon vinegar). Both methods will require frequent applications onto the mint over some time in order to kill it. Be aware that these methods will kill any vegetation that it comes in contact with.

If you still have problems, try covering the mint with thick layers of newspaper, followed by a layer of mulch to smother it. Those plants that still manage to find a way through can usually be pulled up easily.

When all else fails, grab the herbicide. If you don’t feel comfortable using chemicals to kill mint, your only option may be to get a good shovel and dig it all up. Be sure to get under the plant’s main root system, then bag it up and dispose of it or relocate the mint in a suitable container.

Mint is well known for getting out of hand in the garden. Controlling mint through container gardening often helps; however, you may have to consider other tactics to kill mint if this plant becomes unruly.

Note: Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are more environmentally friendly.

Remove mint from lawn

Thank you for using Ask an Expert for help with your mint invasion. Mint is certainly a tough adversary—spreading by both rhizomes and seed.

A sharpened hoe will cut the tops of the plant off. In addition, there are a number of non-Roundup products available– citric acid, high-strength vinegar (acetic acid), citrus oil, clove oil and other botanical oils, iron compounds, and so forth. These can be considered to be natural or organic, but do read and follow all label precautions and directions.

Regardless of the method you choose (pulling, hoeing, or spraying), it is persistence that will win the day. Whenever the plants can absorb sunlight, they are building their root reserves and spreading underground. Whenever they form flowers, seeds will surely follow.

So, keep at it. Don’t let the mint get the chance to build up and spread. Your patience and consistency will weaken the patch over time.

A strong, actively growing lawn is a good competitor. With this in mind, keeping that lawn in top shape with feeding, mowing, and watering is a priority. The iron-compound weed control products will attack the mint without killing the grass. Again, persistence in using the products will be key.

Good luck and happy fall,

It’s been said that weeds are just plants whose virtues have not yet been discovered, but if you’re tired of waiting to find out what those virtues are, you might want to use one of these homemade herbicides instead of the chemical versions.

Many common weeds can be either food, medicine, or unwanted visitors to the garden, depending on the varieties and how you view them. But if you’ve eaten all of them you can, and you still need to get rid of weeds in your yard, it’s far better for you, your soil, and your local waterways to choose a more environmentally friendly herbicide than those commonly found in the home and garden center.

Strong chemical herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides can end up polluting our drinking water, our groundwater, and surface water, so it’s important to consider the longer term effects of using them, and to instead make the choice to use a gentler herbicide, which won’t contribute to the larger issue of water contamination.

The most environmentally friendly way to get rid of weeds is to pull them up, dig out the roots, let them dry in the sun, and then add them to a compost or mulch pile. However, that method can also take quite a bit of time, so if you’re looking for a quicker way to effectively get rid of weeds, one of these homemade herbicides might be the way to go.

Drench with boiling dihydrogen monoxide:

This homemade herbicide is by far the simplest to prepare, and unless you happen to spill boiling water on yourself, is also the least harmful to both people and the environment. Simply bring a big pot of dihydrogen monoxide (that’s a fancy way of saying water) to boil on your stove, and then pour it over the leaves and stems of the weeds you wish to get rid of. Using boiling water is an effective method for killing weeds in places such as sidewalk or driveway cracks, or over a larger area that you’d like to replant after the weeds are gone, as it doesn’t leave any residue or have any harmful long-term effects. As with all of these homemade herbicides, it’s still important to only apply it to the plants you wish to get rid of, as they can easily also kill your flowers or vegetable plants.

Light ’em up with fire:

The application of direct heat to the foliage of weeds will cause the plants to immediately wilt, and repeated applications will kill any leaves that may resprout from the roots. A flame-weeder tool is available from home and garden stores, which allows you to apply flame and heat directly to the weeds without catching the whole neighborhood on fire. In fire-prone areas, weeding with flame needs to be done with some extra precautions, as dried weeds and grasses can easily catch fire and get away from you.

Douse with sodium chloride:

Sodium chloride, or common table salt, is an effective herbicide, and has some historical notoriety for possibly being used to lay waste to the soils of conquered peoples (salting the fields prevents plants from growing there). Because salt can have a detrimental effect in the soil, it’s important to only apply it directly to the leaves of the weeds, and to not soak the soil, especially in garden beds with other, more desirable, plants. Dissolve 1 part salt in 8 parts hot water (it can be made stronger, up to 1 part salt to 3 parts water), add a small amount of liquid dish soap (to help it adhere to the leaf surfaces), and pour into a spray bottle. To apply, cover or tie back any nearby plants you don’t want to kill, then spray the leaves of the weeds with the solution. Be careful to not soak the soil, and keep this mixture away from cement sidewalks or driveways (it may discolor them). Multiple applications may be necessary.

Pickle ’em with vinegar:

OK, so it’s not exactly pickling, but by applying this common household item, white vinegar, to weed leaves, they’ll die off and make room in your yard for more desirable plants. The white vinegar sold in grocery stores is about 5% acetic acid, which is usually strong enough for most weeds, although a more industrial strength version (up to 20% acetic acid, which can be harmful to skin, eyes, or lungs) is available in many garden supply stores. The vinegar can be applied by spraying full strength onto the leaves of the weeds, being careful to minimize any overspray on garden plants and nearby soil. Repeated applications may be necessary, and the addition of a little liquid dish detergent may improve the effectiveness of this homemade herbicide.

Season them like chips:

Another common homemade herbicide recipe calls for combining table salt or rock salt with white vinegar (1 cup salt to 1 gallon vinegar), and then spraying this mixture on the foliage of weed plants. Adding liquid soap is said to help the efficacy of this weedkiller, as is the addition of certain oils, such as citrus or clove oil.

Harness up the 20 mule team:

Borax, which is sold as a laundry and cleaning product in many grocery stores, might not actually get transported by a 20 mule team anymore, but it could help lend a hand in the yard as an herbicide. Add 10 ounces of powdered borax to 2.5 gallons of water, mix thoroughly, and use a sprayer to coat the leaves of unwanted weeds in your yard. Keep overspray off of any plants you want to keep, avoid saturating the soil with the solution, and avoid contact with bare skin.

If you’ve been fighting with unwanted weeds in your yard, what other homemade herbicides have you found to be most useful?

Nothing ruins your garden or yard like weeds, those uninvited guests that rob your plants of space and nutrients. So murder those weeds most foul, but without harmful chemicals that can do you in, too.

Who says you need standard weeding tools to kill weeds? Here are seven ways to kill weeds with weapons you already have around your house.

How to kill weeds:

1. Newspaper

A carpet of newspaper, which blocks sunlight and oxygen from reaching the soil, will smother weeds already sprouted and prevent new ones from growing. Throw down newspaper in 10-sheet layers, wet to hold it down, and cover with an inch or two of mulch. If weeds begin to grow in the mulch, add more layers, making a mulch-newspaper lasagna, which eventually will decompose and nourish the soil.

2. Old Shower Curtains and Carpet Samples

Spreading these useless items in garden paths or between rows will keeps weeds from ever showing their unwanted heads. Cover with mulch.

3. Corn Gluten Meal

This corn by-product stops seeds from growing into weeds. Since the meal will prevent germination, spread it around established plants, and after seedlings and transplants have taken hold in the soil. After harvest, spread the meal to prevent late-season weeds.

4. Vinegar

The acetic acid in 5% vinegar is a desiccant that sucks the life out of plant leaves. It’s most destructive to young plants with immature roots, though it just rolls off weeds with waxy leaves, like pennywort or thistle.

Make sure you cover desirables before spraying, because vinegar is an equal opportunity killer. Keep your spray on-target by removing the bottom from a 2-liter plastic soda bottle, and placing it over the weed. Spray vinegar into the mouth of the bottle, which will keep it from splattering on your vegetables.

5. Vodka

Don’t know if vodka makes weeds fall down dead or drunk, but 1 ounce mixed with 2 cups of water and a couple of drops of dish soap will dry out weeds that live in the sun. Doesn’t work that well on shade-loving weeds. Protect desirables, because vodka will dry them out, too.

6. Soap

The oil in soap can break down waxy or hairy weed surfaces, making them vulnerable to desiccants. So add a few drops of liquid dish detergent to vinegar or vodka sprays to keep the solution on leaves. The soap also makes leaves shiny, which will help you keep track of what you’ve sprayed.

7. Boiling Water

After you’ve made yourself a cup of tea, take the kettle outside and pour the boiling water on weeds, which will burn up. This is a particularly good way to whack driveway and walkway weeds, because the boiling water can run off impervious surfaces and cool before it reaches border plants.

Related:

  • How to Keep Weeds from Sprouting
  • Identifying Weeds and How to Attack Them

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