Should you use diesel to kill weeds? Short answer: Nope.
Weeds can be annoying. They compete with other plants for nutrients and can turn a pretty, organized garden into a patchy mess. Still, I’ll continue to stand up for weeds. Some of the plants we consider weeds are actually beneficial. They offer up food to hungry pollinators and beneficial bugs. True weeds are plants that have been introduced to an environment in which they have no natural competitors or predators. That means they grow unchecked and sometimes harm habitats and ecosystems.
BUT. Even with true weeds, I’m wildly hesitant to recommend something toxic like diesel. As someone who tries to do their best to grow organically, the thought of using diesel anywhere near my garden fills me with dread.
Can you use diesel to kill weeds?
Some people might recommend that you use diesel to kill stubborn weeds. This tactic is often recommended for lawns littered with weeds. I don’t think we should be wasting valuable resources on curating green lawns that have no purpose. Second, even if you’re using it on a non-edible surface, know that diesel is highly toxic and can contaminate nearby areas.
If you’re growing anything edible, stay away from toxic substances like diesel.
You also run the risk of harming animals and beneficial insects like bees and butterflies. With bee and pollinator populations on the decline, it seems incredibly risky and irresponsible to use a toxic substance just to get rid of a few weeds.
“But my weed problem is terrible, and I heard I could use diesel to fix it!”
There are plenty of other ways to tackle pesky weeds. Getting rid of weeds isn’t easy, but if you want a hobby to replace your leisurely walk in the park, gardening might be the wrong choice. Additionally, diesel is pricey and flammable! You’ll do better by spending your money on something else for the garden.
Gardening is an approachable hobby because it’s simple to get started with some dirt and some seeds. But to turn a landscape around involves a lot of work. You can be a frugal gardener, but any kind of digging in the dirt requires some form of effort.
Other ways to get rid of weeds
If you can’t use diesel to kill weeds, what else can you do?
Here are a few ways to get rid of weeds in an environmentally friendly manner:
- Mulch. My favorite way to suppress weeds is mulch. It not only suffocates most weeds but also helps beautify beds and provides a uniform blank slate.
- Stop over-digging and tilling. Most weed seeds sit beneath the surface and won’t sprout unless exposed to sun and moisture. Minimize digging and tilling to prevent unearthing hidden weed seeds.
- Target your watering efforts. Get rid of the sprinkler. It’s a waste of water and money. Use targeted irrigation systems to get water to your plants. No desire to budget to set up an irrigation system? When you water by hand, don’t water where there are no plants. Empty spaces don’t need moisture! All you’ll do is help the weeds along.
Ten ways to get free plants for your garden
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer gardening in zone 5b. She is a certified Square Foot Gardener and has taught various garden-related workshops. When she’s not digging in the dirt or writing, she’s cooking up fresh produce, running, or listening to her favorite podcasts.
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