Weed clearing

Years ago, when the children were small, I ordered a tonne of rubber chippings.

We had a small area that was difficult to incorporate into the main garden, so my wife had the brilliant idea of converting it into a play area for the children. There was a high wall on two sides, and although there was a drop on one side, I soon built a fence and rope barrier. There was no fourth side – this was a triangular area.

A friend had a climbing frame which, since his children were in their twenties, was unlikely to be wanted. We bought that, and soon had it installed. The rubber chips, all shredded from car tyres, but with the metal wires removed, were spread about the area liberally to save limbs from falls, and then we had a marvellous play area.

Until …

I introduced my daughter to the pleasures of gardening a little before this, when she was only three years old. One one day she and I (mostly I) dug over a patch, weeded, and prepared it for sowing. Next morning, we hurried up, and, armed with a collection of chitted potatoes, we began planting. It didn’t last long. My daughter had scooped aside only her third handful of soil to discover what cats do in freshly dug soil. It put her off gardening for life.

Likewise, apparently, cats like rubber. It didn’t matter what I did, erecting fencing, spreading foul-smelling skunk odours, allowing the dogs free rein, still the cats returned. In the end, the kids stopped using the climbing frame – they didn’t want to stand or sit in the cat’s deposits – and the area was left alone.

We have sold off the climbing frame, and now we’re returning the place to its original concrete glory. I have started pulling up all the weeds that have made the place their home, and we’ve started scratching at the rubber chippings. The idea was, that we would gather it all up and sell it. It was good for our children (until the cats found it), and would likewise be good for other children. Except the cats are continuing to use it as their private toilet, so we can’t sell it for other kids. What we can do with it, I don’t know.

However, I have discovered something that might make the area more pleasant. If we can kill off the weeds remaining, and drive the ruddy cats away, it will become a usable space again, and I think I have found the ideal method.

Apparently a concentrated (20%) solution of acetic acid spread over plants will kill off the vegetation. If it is repeated whenever the plants show new growth, it will kill off the weeds. At the same time, the smell of the acid will drive cats away to find a less odorous environment for their ablutions.

So, today I have put in an order for five litres of 80% concentrated acetic acid. In a couple of days, hopefully, I’ll be able to go back to the children’s ex-play area, and begin to wash it in acid, and with luck, that will start to deter the cats too.

And for those who might be concerned, no, it’s an organic solution to my twin problems. And it washes away in the rain, too. Plus I have a driveway that is getting smothered in grass and weeds, and it should clear that too, without endangering the dogs who like to chew on the odd mouthful of greenery.

It is a lot safer than spreading carcinogenic chemicals.

And so to a new week. In the next few days I have to finish two copy edits, and then return to my next book. Lots to do before my concentrated vinegar arrives!

4 Responses to “Weed clearing”
  1. Old Trooper says:

    Did you know that vinegar with a bit of Epsom Salts added is a weed killer?


    • Vinegar on its own will be enough, hopefully. It scorches the leaves. Repeated use kills off the plant. Interested to hear Epsom Salts help the process – I’ll have to check it up.
      Thanks, OT!


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