Is it OK to use salt

Asked October 8, 2020, 8:21 PM EDT

Is it OK to use salt (water softening salt) in the small trenches (3 inches wide/3 inches deep) that I've dug around my garden beds to prevent grass from growing into the beds. Weeds hare now growing profusely in these trenches. Someone recommended using salt in the trenches to inhibit weed growth; another was appalled and said it's highly dangerous to the soil and environment...worse than using Roundup. What is your recommendation?

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

Hi- applying salt to weeds and the soil they grow in can dessicate the foliage and roots. Annual weeds are more easily killed. Perennial broadleaf weeds and grasses will be much more difficult to kill with salt. Also, the salt you apply may burn the roots of adjacent garden plants and cause nutrient imbalances in the soil. Besides being only marginally effective, the salts will leach out of the soil. We don't recommend using salt for weed control.

You may want to cut the vegetation down to the soil line and cover the area with mulched leaves or commercial mulch. You could also cut landscape fabric to fit the area to kill weeds. Either leave the weed fabric in place or replace it with an organic mulch.