Organic Weed Control Methods ~ Boiling Water
Use boiling water to control weeds.
Boiling water will kill any plant growth it touches. It is very inexpensive and simple to use. It is superb for killing annual weeds and can control and/or kill perennial weeds. It is a popular non-toxic means for killing weeds growing in cracks and driveways.
"How do I use boiling water to kill weeds?"
Simply boil up your kettle, grab the handle using a pot holder and bring it out to your garden. Once you take the kettle off the fire it's water temperature will drop a few degrees and cease to boil in the time it takes you to get out to the garden, but the water will still be extremely hot and will kill the weed growth by scalding it.
Slowly and carefully pour the stream of water onto the crown of the weed plant. You can make this easier and more effective by cutting off the top growth of the plant before you dowse it with the kettle water. Pour the water from a low height of just a few inches above the plant crown to avoid any splashing.
"Will some plants still resprout?"
Some perennial plants with long taproots (such as dandelion) may resprout from the lower root area if it has not been scalded. In a lawn you can remove the top growth and dig a hole above the root....manually remove some of the root if possible. Pour the kettle water into the hole and it will seep down and kill whatever sections of the weed root it can reach. Refill the hole with soil and sow some grass seed right away so there is no bare spot where airborne weed seeds can take hold.
If a weed resprouts in a sidewalk crack or driveway repeat the boiling water treatment. Each time the weed resprouts the growth will be smaller and weaker and the most stubborn perennial weeds will eventually die, usually after two or three treatments.
"Does the boiling water also kill the biota in the soil?"
Boiling water will kill whatever biota it touches, however, because the stream of kettle water is carefully and slowly poured onto a small area this effect is reduced. New biota will quickly return to the area within a few days.
"What precautions should I take when using boiling water to kill weeds?"
*Use a pot holder or hotmitt to hold the kettle handle to prevent burning your hand from the kettle's heat.
*Pour the kettle water slowly and from a close height of a few inches above the plant crown to avoid splashing.
*Wear long pants and closed-toe shoes. Shorts and sandals can't protect your skin if you accidentally splash the kettle water.