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Does Diesel Kill Weeds? [5 Alternatives to Illegal Diesel]

Diesel kills all plants and weeds but it is dangerous and illegal to use it for this purpose. Diesel sprayed outdoors can pollute water supplies and will not be processed out by regular water treatment. So, using diesel can pollute your drinking water. If you are caught spraying diesel on weeds, you may be subject to fines or even prison time. Instead, use approved herbicides or organic weed-killing methods to kill weeds and unwanted grass.

Does diesel kill weeds?

Is it Illegal to Use Diesel to Kill Weeds?

It is illegal to spray or dump diesel on the ground in the USA and most other countries. This applies to using diesel as a weed killer as well. Spraying diesel on weeds qualifies as illegal dumping of toxic materials. If you are caught killing weeds with diesel fuel, you may even face jail time.

  • It is illegal to use diesel as a weed killing spray in every state in the USA.
  • Most countries have made it illegal to spray or dump diesel outside.
  • Using diesel as a weed killer can put you at risk of fine and imprisonment.
  • Diesel used as weed spray is toxic to wildlife and can contaminate drinking water.
  • Spraying diesel increases the risk of dangerous wildfires.

The reason spraying diesel is illegal is because diesel fuel is a petroleum product. It is capable of not only killing plants and insects, but also can contaminate water supplies, killing local wildlife, and destroying drinking water. It is extremely harmful to the environment. Not to mention, diesel is highly flammable. With wildfires on the rise in the US, it’s essential to protect your home by never spraying flammable chemicals outside.

What Plants Does Diesel Kill?

Diesel kills any plant material it comes in contact with. However, it also leaches into the soil to kill worms, insects, and helpful soil microbes. Unlike commercial weed killers—which are designed to target plants and leave other organisms unharmed—diesel is an extremely toxic substance. Never spray diesel fuel outside.

5 Ways to Kill Weeds Without Using Diesel

Because filling a spray bottle with diesel is illegal and toxic to the environment, it’s essential to explore other options. There are several ways to destroy weeds and unwanted grass safely and effectively. The list below contains several highly effective methods of weed control that are 100% legal.

Non-Selective Herbicide

If you want to get rid of all the grass, weeds, or other plants growing in an area, it’s time to use a non-selective herbicide. Products of this type systemically attack all plants, infiltrating through the plant leaves, then killing the roots. Plants begin wilting within 24 hours and are completely dead within 1–2 weeks after application. Roundup contains glyphosate, a popular non-selective herbicide that is far less toxic than diesel.

  • Use non-selective herbicides to kill all species of plants and grass that you spray.
  • Spraying non-selective herbicide on the leaves of a plant will kill it to the roots.
  • This long-lasting herbicide kills plants and prevents new ones from growing for 365 days.
  • Diesel will kill plants but does not stop new weeds from growing once the diesel washes out of the soil.

You can even use non-selective herbicides that contain added ingredients that prevent plants from growing back for up to 1 year. This offers a permanent solution that diesel can’t match. While diesel will kill growing plants, it won’t kill seeds. Once the diesel washes out of the soil, new weeds will sprout. So, it’s best to choose a far more powerful weed killer instead.

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Selective Herbicide

If you want to kill weeds without harming the grass, a spray bottle full of diesel isn’t the answer. If you’re killing weeds with diesel fuel you’ll also kill all the grass wherever you spray. Instead, protect your grass by using a selective herbicide that kills broadleaf weeds but won’t harm your lawn grass. These herbicides ignore grasses and attack dandelions, clover, sedge, crabgrass, and other nasty weeds.

  • The diesel in your gasoline jug will kill your lawn grass along with weeds.
  • Kill weeds in your lawn without harming your grass by using this selective weed killer.
  • Selective herbicides kill broadleaf weeds and grassy weeds but will leave your yard unharmed.

The ideal non-selective weed killer depends on your grass type. There are specialized herbicides that kill everything but Bermuda grass, as well as herbicides that are safe for almost all grass types. 2,4-D is a common grass-safe herbicide that kills weeds quickly.

Fast Acting Weed Killer
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Brush Killer

If you need to kill tough brush, small trees, or need to kill poison ivy without killing other plants, use a powerful brush killer. Brush-killing herbicides contain several powerful weed killers that can kill even the most resilient plants. In places where diesel fails, a brush killer will get the job done.

  • For small trees, brush, vines, and other hardy plants, use a brush killer herbicide.
  • This crossbow herbicide will kill the toughest pest plants without killing grass.
  • Brush killers are more effective, safer, and gentler on grass than diesel.

As an added bonus, brush killers like Crossbow will not harm grass. This makes Crossbow great for use in your yard or other grassy areas. You can clear brush and vines from overgrown fencerows and drainage ditches without killing grass.

Tough Brush and Weed Killer
Southern Ag | Crossbow Weed & Brush Killer | 2,4-D and Triclopyr
  • Size: 1 Quart.
  • Contains 2-4, D and Triclopyr for control on most unwanted trees and brush.
  • You can use this on non-crop and non-timber areas.
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Organic Weed Killers

In order to reduce your environmental impact when killing weeds, consider using an organic weed killer. The best organic options are citrus-based weed killers. These products operate as non-selective herbicides, killing all weeds and grasses they are sprayed on. They kill the same spectrum of plants as diesel but don’t have any of the negative side effects.

  • Instead of using diesel as an illegal and toxic weed killer, try an organic weed killer.
  • This organic weed killer with citrus oil is an all-natural product that kills the same plants and grasses as diesel.
  • Avoid vinegar-based weed killers—they are ineffective and can be dangerous to pollinators.

When selecting an organic weed killer, avoid vinegar-based products. In addition to being ineffective at killing weeds to the root, vinegar is harmful to bees. Leave the white vinegar in the kitchen. Citrus oil-based organic weed killers are the top natural products on the market.

Top-Rated Organic Herbicide
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Hand Weeding

Nothing beats hand-weeding for natural weed removal. Using a hoe or weeding tool to uproot weeds kills them instantly. This makes it a faster weed control method than diesel or any other spray. Plus, the process is 100% organic.

  • Hand-weeding with a tool kills weeds in seconds.
  • Removing weeds by hand is always organic.
  • If possible, always hand-weed in a garden where you are growing plants for food.

Although you may need to use herbicides to kill out-of-control weeds and brush, hand-weed in your vegetable garden whenever possible. This ensures you grow organic, healthy food for yourself and your family.

How Long Does it Take for Diesel to Kill Weeds?

Diesel will begin killing weeds and other plants within 48 hours. After this initial stage, it will take 1–2 weeks before the plant fully dies. This puts diesel’s weed-killing speed on par with commercial weed killers. However, diesel is a toxic pollutant that is illegal to spray outside. So, before spraying a coating of diesel on unwanted plants, search for non-toxic options that will not pollute your soil and drinking water.

Can You Spray Diesel Fuel Through a Garden Sprayer?

Never fill a pump sprayer or plastic spray bottle with diesel fuel for weed removal. This is a poor solution to weeds because spraying diesel is illegal, toxic, and a fire hazard. You can poison water and harm wildlife by spraying diesel to kill weeds. Instead, choose an effective weed killer that is legal for outdoor use. This can save you fines and prison time while killing weeds even more effectively than diesel.

Can You Mix Diesel With Water to Kill Weeds?

Never under any circumstances mix diesel with water or any other compound to make a weed killer. Using diesel as a weed killer is illegal. While diesel is an indiscriminate plant killer, it also wipes out insects and soil microbes responsible for healthy plant growth. Even worse, diesel will wash out of your soil to poison water, killing wildlife and contaminating the drinking supply. Instead of diesel, use these options:

  • Non-selective weed killer, such as Roundup, for removing all weeds and grasses.
  • Selective weed killer containing 2,4-D for killing weeds without harming your grass.
  • Brush killer, like Crossbow, to wipe out small trees and ivy without killing grass.
  • An organic weed killer made from citrus oil.
  • Hand weeding in your garden.

Each of these methods is as effective as diesel at killing weeds. Plus, they have the added benefit of being legal. To avoid breaking the law, keep the diesel in your fuel tank and off your lawn.

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