Water softener salt and other forms of salt should not be used to kill weeds. Although salt will kill weeds, it will also poison the ground, prevent all future plant growth, cause soil erosion, and harm wildlife. Using salt may sound ideal if you have stubborn weeds in an area of your yard, but the dangers of this solution make salt a poor choice for weed control.
Does Water Softener Salt Kill Plants Permanently?
All forms of salt kill plants permanently. However, salt is considered one of the worst ways to kill weeds or other plants in your yard. Salt spreads on the ground will not stay contained in one area. Salt is carried through soil by water. So, rain and regular lawn watering can spread salt from the initial area of application to other parts of your lawn and garden. This creates large spaces where no grass, plants, or weeds will grow.
- Salt will kill all plants permanently.
- If you spread salt anywhere on the ground, water will spread it through the soil, creating a “dead zone” where no grass or plants will grow.
- Spreading salt on the ground contributes to soil erosion and poisons local water supplies.
Spreading water softener salt, rock salt, or table salt all-cause long-lasting damage to your lawn and garden. Salt remains in the soil for 1 year or more. During this time, many plants in your yard may die. Without living plants to keep the soil in place, your soil can erode. Plus, salt-washed away by rainfall and watering can enter the water supply. This reduces the quality of drinking water and poisons local wildlife. Salt is not a safe alternative to chemical weed killers.
5 Ways to Kill Weeds Without Water Softener Salt
There are several alternatives to using salt to kill pesky weeds. You can use natural methods for getting rid of unwanted plants, or use a herbicide. It may seem hard to believe, but some herbicides are actually less harmful to your yard and the environment than spreading salt on the ground.
Citrus-Based Weed Killer
You can kill weeds naturally by using this organic weed killer made with citrus oil. Spraying plants with this product kills weeds in 2–4 days. It’s also safer for the environment than other natural solutions. Avoid using weed killers made with white vinegar because vinegar is harmful to bees and other pollinators. Keep in mind that citrus-based weed killers are non-selective. This means that an organic citrus spray kills weeds, grass, and any other plants it is sprayed on.
- Works quickly to kill broadleaf weeds and invasive grasses.
- Approved for organic gardening use.
- D-limonene ingredient causes weeds to dehydrate and die.
A handheld flame weeder is a great way to kill weeds in seconds. Flame weeders use the heat from propane flames to kill weeds. You don’t need to set the weeds on fire either. To properly use this flame weeder, pass the end of the flame nozzle over the weeds but do not let the flames touch the plant. The superheated air is enough to destroy plant cell walls in a fraction of a second, killing weeds quickly.
Hand weeding is the most natural way to get rid of weeds. It is also very effective. By uprooting weeds and throwing them out, you kill them instantly and prevent them from growing back. Use a weeding tool to fully uproot the weeds. This will ensure the pest plants are gone for good. Then, you can plant new grass or other plants in that location right away. This makes lawn maintenance much easier than dealing with “dead spots” caused by salt poisoning.
Long-Lasting Weed Killers
If you want to kill weeds, grass, or other plants in an area and prevent them from growing back for up to a year, use this long-lasting herbicide. Unlike salt, long-lasting herbicides are designed to bond to the soil and remain in place. So, you can be sure that the herbicide won’t spread to other areas of your lawn. This is great for weed control in gravel driveways.
Selective Weed Killers
If you want to kill weeds in an area but do not want to kill grass, use a selective weed killer. Selective weed killers, like this one, target only non-grassy plants. This means you can spray your lawn to kill weeds but your grass won’t suffer. This is far more effective than salt, which kills all the plants where it is applied.
Can You Use Water Softener Salt to Kill Grass?
You should never use water softener salt or any other salt to kill grass and weeds. Here’s why:
- Salt kills all plants in an area and prevents regrowth for 1 year or more.
- Salt cannot be contained to one area—water will disperse it through the soil, causing nearby grass and garden plants to die.
- Adding salt to the soil will poison the water supply and cause harm to local fish and wildlife.
- There are several alternatives to salt that are safer for the environment, more effective at killing weeds, and will not spread to nearby soil.
Instead of using salt, consider using natural weed control methods such as plant-based weed killers, flame weeding, and hand-weeding. If you wish to use a chemical herbicide, choose a long-lasting product that does not spread through the soil to other areas. By avoiding salt as a weed killer, you will keep your yard far healthier.