Does Cutting Weeds Kill Them?

By London Fog

March 7, 2021


If your garden is littered with weeds, you want to get rid of them. So, you take out the scissors or trimmers and start chopping away. However, cutting the weed plant back won’t kill it forever.

For a start, you are leaving roots in the soil to rot and feed the soil food web. Depending on where you cut it the weed can easily grow back from the roots left behind and so it might take a few cuttings to finally be rid of the plant.  

After two or three cuts the roots may start to rot and die. But one cut is not going to do it and it can be a little tedious to keep going back to cut the weed over and over again, especially if you have a few weeks.

For clusters of weeds, cutting routinely may be easier than pulling, but for the odd weed here and there cutting them may not be the best option, nor the most permanent one. 

The dead roots, however, will feed the soil once it dies, so there are good aspects to this method. 

Will Mowing Weeds Kill Them?

Wondering if mowing your lawn will kill the weeds in there? It can. But it depends on the weed. Some weeds are more susceptible to death by mowing, such as the common Ragwort. Mow these weeds and they will die.

Then there are others such as Horsetail, which won’t die, mowing will only cut off the top. A Creeping Thistle will eventually die if mown repeatedly and regularly. Broad-leaved Dock can also be prevented by regular mowing but you need to kill it through other methods. 

It depends greatly on the weed that you are dealing with, however, using a herbicide and then mowing can kill weeds. This is because when you chop the head off a weed when mowing, it will try to repair with the carbohydrates inside it.

But, if you have treated it with a herbicide, then its food is tainted and it will start to kill it. It can take time but this is a very effective method if you are willing to see it through the long road. It is not a quick fix but it can work very well at killing your garden weeds. 

What Kills Weeds Permanently?

The best way to stop weed growth is to take preventative measures. The best thing to do is identify weeds before applying treatments and before they grow too large and start to reproduce.

You can eliminate them by hand using a daisy picker or by hand. You could use a weed and feed product, which will control weeds whilst also feeding your lawn with nutrients.

If you have hardy weeds like Ivy, Dandelions, and other tough and fast reproducing pests, you can turn to some more hardcore methods. 

One of the most praised methods is a Glyphosate weed killer, which is one of the most widely used weed killers in the world. It will kill the weed right down to the roots and will kill nearly 100% of any weeds, even the hardy ones like ivy.

Once the weed killer dries it is not toxic to pets or children either and it is non-toxic, so once the weed is dead and gone you can replant something more aesthetic in its place.  

Most people would vote that weedkillers are the best option over pulling, cutting, and mowing because they are easy to use, effortless, and usually have a high success rate as well. 

Does Pulling Weeds Cause More Weeds?

If you intend on pulling weeds you need to understand the cycle of a weed. Some are annual which means they complete their cycle of growth in a year, and some are biennials that complete their growth cycle in two years.

Both can be pulled in their first-year cycle. As any plant matures it will start to seed. It is best to pull before this happens because a seeding plant can drop its seeds and result in more weeds. 

If you are pulling weeds them keep a disposal bag close and use it to ensure no potential seeds can get into the ground and grow into new weeds. 

pulling weeds

The best way to pull a weed is to do so when you first notice it before it reaches maturity. 

When dealing with perennial weeds, weeds that live longer than two years, it is best to use hand pulling alongside other methods such as herbicides.

Hand pulling is not as successful with these weeds as they are often stimulated from the root, by hand pulling them they may be encouraged to grow bigger and stronger. So if you are faced with a plant like this, pair your hand pulling with a spritz of herbicide. 

Is It Better To Pull Weeds or Spray Them?

Spraying Vs Pulling weeds is very dependant on your situation. If you have just a few pesky weeds pulling can work.

It is best to wait until the soil is moistened, or you wet it, as the full weed and its roots will easier come out. If you try to remove the weed while the soil is dry it is likely to snap and the weed will grow back. 

Weeds have very strong roots and so dry soil can hold them in very tight.

On the other hand, if you are inundated with weeds, you don’t want to see away a whole day pulling them from the ground.

In this case, spraying will be much better, you can spray the weeds and some of the weaker ones will be dead within a day, some of the stronger ones may take a little longer but don’t worry, they’ll die too. After this, you can pull them from the ground. 

The biggest concern between these two is the type of spray you use, some could be harmful to surrounding plants, so if a weed is close to a plant you may want to pull it rather than spray it to be safe. 

Does Vinegar Kill Weeds Permanently?

A world full of hacks for everything can have you wondering if the vinegar hack for killing weeds really does the trick. Well, the vinegar hack can work well.

Many people use it to kill off hard-to-kill weeds like thistle and horsetail weeds. The most popular mixture is white vinegar and one squirt of dish soap, sometimes people add salt to it. 

It does kill your weeds. With some hardy plants it may take half a day, others it may work faster on. If using this mixture, however, you do need to be careful as it will not just kill weeds, it will kill anything it touches.

You want to use vinegar with high acidity. The vinegar removed the moisture from the plant which is what kills it and the dish soap helps make sure the mixture can break down oils on the leaves and assists the vinegar in removing the moisture.

Salt can be added to this mixture as a re-growth preventative measure. However, adding salt to soil means that nothing can ever grow there again, so it is not ideal for use on lawns or flowerbeds and is best used in places like driveways or patio gardens.