You don’t want to be the house on the block with a lawn full of overgrown, messy weeds. Not only does it look unkempt, but it’s also going to give you a reputation. You’ve had neighbors like that – the Boo Radleys who avoid the rest of the community, who kids have urban legends about. Fortunately, there are solutions to even the peskiest, most resilient weeds.
One of the simplest, most effective ways to kill the weeds in your lawn is with diesel fuel. It’s an excellent solution with one major caveat. Diesel is toxic to weeds because it is toxic to all plant life, killing them on contact. That means any surrounding grass, flowers, or crops are likely to die as well.
However, with controlled, careful application, using diesel might still be an option worth trying.
Does Diesel Kill Weeds Permanently?
When you’re working to get rid of the weeds in your lawn, one of the lingering questions is whether or not they’ll reappear next season. It can be quite difficult to kill it right down to its root. Diesel sounds like a pretty effective weed killer, and for the most part, it is, however it’s not a permanent solution.
Diesel will kill the weed right down to the root, however, it will not be able to kill the seeds. Once the fuel is washed away from the soil, the seeds are free to germinate once again.
How to Kill Weeds With Diesel
Using diesel to kill weeds is a fairly simple process, involving little more than a spray bottle for thick liquids, a jug, a shovel, and a funnel. However, as we go through the steps, we’ll also tell you what not to do in order to save any plants you don’t want to accidentally eliminate.
- Purchase up to two gallons of diesel from your local gas station.
- Using the funnel, pour it into the spray bottle. Ideally, you’ll want to do this in your garage or somewhere away from plant life, to avoid spilling anywhere you don’t want it applied.
- Directly spray on the weeds, ensure you get the plant, stem, and area around the roots of the weed.
- Once the weeds are dead, use the shovel to pull them out at least 1 inch below the soil. This should prevent weeds from regrowing for the rest of the season.
It’s worth noting that diesel is toxic to plants, but it’s also not something you want to ingest. There are some safety precautions necessary to protect both yourself and your plants.
- Fuel is, of course, a fire hazard, and should be treated as such. Take the same precautions you would while filling up your car.
- Apply the diesel in the early morning when there’s little chance of high winds. You should also check the weather and make sure you have a clear, rain-free forecast for at least 48 hours.
- As we mentioned, diesel is harmful to your other plants. Avoid directly spraying any fuel on them.
- Be sure to wear a mask when near the fuel. Breathing it irritates your respiratory system.
- When finished, pour the fuel back into the jug rather than leaving it in the spray bottle. This will further prevent fire or inhaling the substance.
- If you have well water, don’t use diesel in the soil. The fuel will mix with your drinking water.
Most importantly, as harmful as diesel is to you, it’s even more dangerous for your pet. Some animals can develop neurological problems that lead to seizures or even death. Symptoms to watch for include drooling, shaking their head, pawing at the mouth, coughing, incoordination, tremors, staggering, and red, irritated skin.
If your pet is suffering from any of these symptoms, don’t try to treat them yourself. Take them to the vet immediately.
How Long Does It Take Diesel to Kill Grass?
After spraying, it takes up to 48 hours to completely kill grass, however, you will start to see the plants wilt in just a few hours. But it’s important to make sure it’s in contact with the grass for the full 48 hours, hence why rainstorms need to be avoided.
Can You Mix Roundup With Diesel? Will That Work Better?
Since both are very effective at killing weeds, mixing Roundup and diesel is even more effective than either product on its own. Roundup works faster on the weeds, killing them in only a few hours It also kills the seeds, preventing further germination. So the two together are a perfect weed-eliminator.
How Long Does Diesel Last in the Soil?
While the fuel gets its job done in about two days or less, it remains in the environment for longer. Biodegradation of diesel fuel in soil takes approximately 84 days.
Concerned About Using Diesel? There Are Plenty of Alternatives
The environmental and health concerns of using diesel are understandably troubling to some. That’s why so many people have turned to alternatives, both natural and unnatural, to go after their weed problems.
One such alternative is a propane weed torch. This tool has a very fine outlet that releases a small, controlled flame. It’s popular because it leaves no chemical residue in the soil, water, or air and kills the weed’s seeds when used correctly. It also doesn’t upset the soil.
Used improperly, however, and you run the risk of setting your lawn on fire.
More natural alternatives include creating a weed barrier to limit their access to the sun. Using old, wet newspapers and mulch also robs the weeds of the nutrients they need to thrive.
And the most natural method of all, corn gluten meal or vinegar, is a 100% safe way to stop weeds from germinating.
There are ways to kill the weeds in your lawn both natural and extremely chemical. Given how resilient some weeds can prove to be, diesel is both an effective, quick, and cost-effective solution to knocking them out.
However, the environmental and health issues being around diesel presents are not trifling. But with the right precautionary measures and expert precision, diesel shouldn’t be entirely ruled out.