Will Vinegar Kill Poison Hemlock?

by Derrick | Last Updated: August 7, 2021

We all want to have a beautiful garden to connect with nature. Then, when we have children, we can play with them, teach them all about plants, enjoy our pets, and much more. But having a garden also implies a series of responsibilities. First, gardeners should know everything about their plants. Second, we must learn how to control weeds so that our health and that of our plants are not in danger. One of the ways to eradicate or prevent weeds is with the use of herbicides. Many people prefer to use natural herbicides to eliminate weeds, but are they just as effective?

Vinegar is a natural herbicide. It can be beneficial in eradicating most weeds. But if poison hemlock appears in our garden, vinegar as a natural herbicide will not be the most effective option. To eliminate this dangerous weed, we must use a specialized product to kill this plant.

Vinegar is an alternative to the chemical products found in the market. Nowadays, vinegar is a natural remedy widely used to kill and eliminate most weeds. But being a natural herbicide, its level of effectiveness with certain types of plants may not be the most forceful. In this regard, we will review below everything related to vinegar on plants and learn more about this deadly pest called poison hemlock.

Why Use Vinegar?

In the house, we have an infinity of products that we can take advantage of in many ways. One of the products that have more uses is vinegar. It has a versatility that covers not only people but also plants.

Vinegar is acidic and helps us to regulate the pH of the soil of the plants. It is also antiseptic, so it is a natural herbicide and prevents some pests and diseases.

Suppose you are interested in using a natural herbicide on your plants, both indoors and in the garden or orchard. In that case, vinegar may be the right choice.

Properties Of Vinegar For Plants And Health

Vinegar has a massive list of benefits for humans and plants. In the case of plants, some of its main benefits are:

  • Antiseptic
  • Antibacterial
  • pH regulator
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-calcifying
  • Degreaser


How Does Vinegar Help Plants?

We already know what the properties of vinegar are. But how can these properties help us to take care of our plants? Don’t worry, we will see it right away.

  • Vinegar neutralizes the lime in water. It would help if you did not water plants with water that has a lot of lime. If this happens, the leaves can be affected. Vinegar helps to neutralize the lime in the water. This action will protect the plants at the time of watering.
  • Vinegar is a pot disinfectant. Therefore, before using the pots, it is essential to clean and disinfect them. If we use vinegar, we will avoid the appearance of fungus.
  • Vinegar is a trap for insects. It is feasible to make homemade traps with vinegar, and they are pretty effective in eliminating fruit flies. For this reason, vinegar is essential in fruit orchards or gardens with fruit trees.
  • Vinegar enriches the soil with iron. This versatile liquid provides iron to the ground. But it should be used in small quantities and only on plants that accept acid soils.
  • Vinegar is an excellent natural herbicide. If we want to keep some areas of our garden or orchard free of weeds, vinegar can be a good option. It should be applied directly to the areas to treat. The acidity will prevent the appearance of plants or fungi harmful to the garden.

What Does Vinegar Do As An Herbicide?

It is a fact that vinegar kills weeds. When you spray vinegar on an affected area, its acid dries out and stops weeds from growing. But the vinegar mustn’t touch the leaves of the weeds at all.

Vinegar cannot damage the roots of plants, but the best way to use it is to use it on weeds when they are young. We should spray it with vinegar at that initial stage of the weed and immediately pull out its roots.

How Do I Prepare A Weed Killer With Vinegar?

To make a weed killer with vinegar, we must follow the following steps:

●  Mix vinegar with lemon juice. We must mix 1/4 lemon juice per liter of vinegar.

●  After making this mixture, we will put it in a spray bottle. With this bottle, we will spray all the leaves and stems of the weeds.

●  The hotter it is or the more direct sun the plants receive, our vinegar-based herbicide will be more effective.

What Is Poison Hemlock?

Poison hemlock (Conium macalatum) is a dangerous and poisonous plant that grows throughout the United States. This plant has white flowers that grow in clusters, and its stem has purple spots. This plant can grow up to 9 feet tall.

Long ago, this plant arrived from Europe as an ornamental garden plant. Hemlock usually grows during the spring, but there are places where it grows year-round.

The hemlock’s poison is in its seed. Just one gram of seed is enough to kill a person. The poison hemlock poison is so strong that it will produce hallucinations and distortion of reality if applied as a topical ointment.

Poison hemlock is also known as:

  • Deadly hemlock
  • California fern
  • Deadly hemlock
  • Spotted hemlock

Poison Hemlock In History

During ancient Rome, they used this plant as a regular poison.

The Greek philosopher Socrates died after drinking a cup of hemlock. This practice was the normal process of execution in ancient Athens.

Another curiosity of this plant is that the “witches” of antiquity knew the properties of poison hemlock. Some historians say that the belief that witches can fly comes from hallucinations from the cutaneous use of the plant.

What Are The Symptoms Of Poison Hemlock Poisoning?

The effects of this plant are devastating. Symptoms of poisoning can appear between 30 minutes and an hour after eating this plant. The symptoms that occur can be very severe, depending on the amount of plant consumed. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Burning in the digestive tract
  • Increased salivation
  • Dilation of the pupils
  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle paralysis
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Loss of ability to speak
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness
  • Death may occur in very severe cases

Can Vinegar Kill Poison Hemlock?

Although we already know that vinegar is a very versatile and beneficial element for plants, even as an herbicide, we cannot say that it will effectively kill poison hemlock. This plant is one of the few weeds that vinegar cannot kill.

We must remember that hemlock is one of the most poisonous plants in the world. Vinegar, in this case, will not have much effect in eradicating this pest. Suppose we want to kill the poison hemlock. In that case, we will have to resort to chemical herbicides whose main component is glyphosate.

How To Kill The Poison Hemlock?

  1. The first thing to do is to put on gardening gloves and goggles before starting this elimination process. It is advisable to cover your mouth with a handkerchief or dust mask to protect yourself from splashes.
  2. With scissors, we must prune the poison hemlock as much as we can. We must remove the stems before they dry out and disperse the seeds. Throw away everything you pruned in a tightly sealed container.
  3. Remove the base of the plant with a gardening tool or by hand. Repeat as often as necessary.
  4. Apply a glyphosate-based herbicide to all areas where poison hemlock has appeared. Also, apply it to a 2-meter radius beyond the affected area.

A Final Thought On Vinegar And Poison Hemlock

People use vinegar in the kitchen, but we may also have other exciting uses for it. For example, vinegar as a natural herbicide for our garden is an excellent choice. The only thing we must consider is that if we find poison hemlock, we must look for other alternatives because vinegar will not kill it.

You must be very careful when foraging in your garden. You should pay special attention to plants similar to wild carrots or parsley because they could be poison hemlock. Suppose you have unfortunately consumed this plant and begin to experience symptoms. In that case, you should seek medical attention immediately, as there is no antidote for this poison.