Q. Can I use Horticultural Vinegar to Get Rid of Japanese Stiltgrass?
Weeds should be addressed by beginning with the least harmful approach that is effective. Using household vinegar as a weed control is only somewhat effective. It has a benefit in being a less toxic control but that is also it's drawback. It is active on the green, above ground portions of a plant and can cause it to die back, sometimes only partially. It does not affect the root of the plant, so weeds that are vigorous and spread easily are only temporarily impaired. If it rains, the vinegar may be washed off before it is effective. Multiple applications are necessary for temporary results and only the areas that are directly contacted by the vinegar are affected.
Stronger horticultural vinegar may sound like a great option. But horticultural vinegars are really very strong, unpredictable in composition and are useful on only some types of weeds. With repeated application, they can be effective if you have a few, tiny, broadleaf seedlings or just-germinated, annual broadleaf weeds popping up that rely heavily on their tender new leaves to succeed. They still have all the drawbacks of lower concentration vinegar - rain washes them off, limited and short-lived results, need for repeated use. If you decide to use horticultural vinegar, take particular care to protect yourself from potential contact and inhalation related injuries of these strong products.
For small areas of weeds, hand digging is more effective. For mid-sized, concentrated areas of mature weeds, solarization (using solar energy to kill weeds and seeds by covering and heating the soil) should be considered.
The New York State Invasive Species Network offers this linked information on Japanese stiltgrass, including management techniques, some experimental control methods like mulch and dry ice, and restoration of cleared areas. If you decide you must use chemical herbicide on large areas of mature, invasive weeds, timing of application is important. You should contact your county's Cooperative Extension Office for information on the grass-specific herbicides that are licensed and effective in your area as well as the correct timing of application.
Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service
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