Will Baking Soda Kill Grass?

Attractive grass on lawns increases the aesthetic appeal and market value. However, when grasses grow on areas such as patios, cracks in the driveway, and flower bed edges, they appear intrusive. They are considered weeds. You could use commercial herbicides to remove the unwanted grasses, but the products are environmentally unfriendly. 

Baking soda kills grass since it is a phytotoxic salt that draws water from plants, depriving them of moisture and killing them. Also, it is eco-friendly, readily available, and sustainable.

Here is how to use baking soda to kill grass growing in unwanted areas.

Does baking soda kill grass?

Baking soda is phytotoxic and will kill any grass. Baking soda is a salt that inhibits seeds germination and grass growth by drawing all the moisture from the plant. The plant dries and dies when it lacks the essential water for biological processes.

Because of its phytotoxic nature, baking soda  Baking soda is a non-selective, contact natural herbicide that kills any plant it contacts. It is an ideal home remedy for removing grass, grassy and broadleaf weeds from unwanted areas.

However, grass varieties resist baking soda effects differently when the salt is applied. For example, Bermuda grass is more resistant to baking soda, while Zoysia grass is more susceptible to bicarbonate salt. For tougher grasses, several applications are necessary to kill them with baking soda.

How to use baking soda to kill grass?

Using baking soda, you can quickly kill grasses growing between stones and cracks in the driveway, patios, or flower bed edges. 

Apply baking soda at any time of the year in the morning. The ground is wet at that time, and the grass pores are open to absorb the salt fast.

Ensure the day temperature is above 85oF to make baking soda work fast on the grasses.

Three methods are suitable for spreading baking soda on the grass. Use baking soda as a spray, dry solid, or paste with vinegar. 

Using baking soda as a spray

Applying baking soda as a spray requires water and a spray bottle.

1. Water the area

Baking soda works better when applied to wet soil. It sticks to the plants longer to kill them. If your place hasn’t received water in a few days, use a garden hose to water the site, ensuring the soil is damp. 

2. Mix baking soda and water

Form a solution by mixing baking soda and water. Measure one part of baking soda and add to the spray bottle. Measure equal part water into the sprayer. The solution will rise. Give it a minute to settle. Shake the sprayer to mix the solution.

Baking soda works better if you add a surfactant to the mixture. However, it is optional. The surfactant helps the baking soda stick to the grass. Add one part of olive oil into the solution and gently mix.

3. Spray the solution on the grass

Carefully spray the solution on the foliage, stem, and roots. Soak the plant with the mixture. You will notice brown patches of dead grass after a few days.

4. Water the area again

Water the site again to further stick the remaining baking soda on the grass parts to remove them entirely.  

Baking soda needs several applications to kill invasive grass completely. Make a second application after the first treatment. Apply the solution severally until all the grasses are dead.

Using dry baking soda

Using dry sodium bicarbonate is suitable when selectively removing grasses from places such as flower beds, where you don’t want the product to kill other plants. The flower bed or garden area should be small since applying dry baking soda requires more time and effort. You need one tablespoon of sodium bicarbonate for each grass plant.

Here’s how to use dry baking soda to kill grass

1. Sprinkle the baking soda

Measure one tablespoon of baking soda and spread it on the grass’s foliage, stems, and roots. Be careful not to spill the product on the neighboring plants.

The baking soda will draw water from the grass and turn them brown after a few days. If some grass plants don’t die after the first application, spread the baking soda again to kill them.

2. Water the area

Since baking soda is highly alkaline and can reduce the soil’s acidity, water the treated soil to wash off the remaining baking soda from the ground. Rinsing is vital, especially if you want to plant on the site soon.

However, there’s no need to water the area if there is subsequent rainfall. The rainwater naturally removes the baking soda residue.

Using baking soda paste

Baking soda and vinegar are both home remedies for killing weeds and grasses. Vinegar has acetic acid that draws water from the plant to kill it. The baking soda and vinegar combo kill tough grasses like Bermuda. 

Here’s how to use baking soda and vinegar to kill tougher grasses:

1. Water the area.

Irrigate dry soils to make the ground wet for the solution to stick to the grass plants. It’s okay not to water if it has rained in the last couple of days.

2. Mix vinegar and baking soda.

Bring a large bowl to hold the mixture without sipping out when it rises. Measure two parts of baking soda and pour them into the bowl. Add one part of vinegar to the bowl. Wait for some minutes to let the solution settle. Transfer the mixture into a spray bottle.

3. Spray the solution.

Apply the paste to the unwanted grasses, soaking the whole plant. The combination will work on the grass quicker and turn them into brown dead grass. Apply the solution for a second time to kill the remaining grasses.

You can also apply baking soda and vinegar directly to the grass without mixing the two to form a solution. 

1. Measure a tablespoon of baking soda and pour it onto the grass.

2. Measure a half tablespoon of vinegar and spread it on the grass.

3. Rinse the paste residue with a garden hose after the grass turns brown in a few days

Note: Apply the baking soda first and then the vinegar.

Can I neutralize baking soda to kill grass?

Although baking soda is phytotoxic and kills any grass plant it contacts, you can save your grass from damage by neutralizing the baking soda immediately.

Turn on your sprinklers to rinse the spill site. A garden hose works, too. Water the grass thoroughly, with up to one inch of water. Watering the grass washes the baking soda away and dilutes it, so it doesn’t harm the grass.


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