Kerosene, a petroleum derivative, is mainly used as a fuel in aviation and a solvent in paints, cleaners, and pesticides. Some countries, such as the UK, refer to it as paraffin.
In the developing world, kerosene is mainly used for cooking, heating, and lighting households. But did you know that kerosene can also be used to control weeds?
Both old and novice gardeners have been using this fuel to clean their yards.
You could also use kerosene to destroy weeds in your garden. However, an essential piece of the puzzle here is that it can be harmful to your health.
Should you still deploy it to eliminate weeds, considering the risks at play?
We discuss this further in the article and offer advice on the best course of action. Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
Using Kerosene To Eliminate Garden Weeds
There are many areas weeds could grow in your garden. They aren’t restricted to your gardening bed. Some of the spots are:
- The base of trees,
- Borders and fence lines,
- Hard surface areas.
- Lawn weeds
- Underground bulbils, corms, and rhizomes.
Some of the weed types include:
- Invasive plants that drop lots of weed seeds (Pyrethrum, Forget-me-not)
- Invasive creepers such as the Ivy
- Noxious weeds such as Creeping Thistle
- Common weeds such as Dandelion and Bindweed
- Environmental weeds such as Bitou Bush
Combating weeds in your garden will be premised on each situation. It’s never a one solution fits all approach.
Traditionally, kerosene helps terminate weeds growing through hard surface areas.
Examples of some hard surface areas are gravel driveways, pavers, and cracked concrete. Hand-pulling the weeds is ineffective as you will still leave the roots that will eventually regrow.
However, you need to know that kerosene doesn’t offer a permanent solution to weed growth in your garden.
Can You Use Kerosene To Terminate Weeds In Your Garden Bed?
Some gardeners have used kerosene as a weed control solution in their garden beds.
A case in point is using kerosene to eliminate weeds in a carrot bed. Essentially, kerosene spray in a carrot bed protects the crops from weeds and prevents certain types of pests.
These are the aphids and carrot flies.
Things To Consider When Using Kerosene As A Herbicide
It is common knowledge that kerosene is harmful to your health and hazardous when substantially released into the environment. It is also a flammable chemical, and gardeners must adhere to specific rules when using it.
Working without wearing protective gear can prove fatal to any gardener intending to use kerosene to eradicate weeds. Inhalation and ingestion of the chemical can cause damage to the lungs, kidneys, and liver.
Here Are Other Precautionary Measures To Observe
- Keep the kerosene container away from direct sunlight; it’s flammable.
- Seal the kerosene container tightly after application. The air mixture is volatile and can catch fire.
- Avoid direct contact with skin. It irritates the eyes and skin. Incidences of contact should be washed with running water.
- Avoid preparing the spray solution in an enclosed space. Preferably, mix the solution in the open air.
- Please check with your local agricultural extension office before using kerosene for weed control. Usage of kerosene is prohibited in some regions.
How To Prepare a Kerosene Solution for Spraying Your Garden Bed?
Kerosene works best in the case of root crops and plants such as carrots. To successfully prepare a solution, you need to have the following inventory.
- A container with clarified kerosene
- A watering can or a spray tank
- Respirator or cotton gauze face mask
- Rubber gloves.
Diluting Liquid for Watering
- Wear rubber gloves and a respirator mask. Also, try to cover up your arms and legs.
- Mix 5 liters of water with 250ml of Kerosene.
- Spray sparingly.
- Around 50ml of the mixture should be sufficient for one bush of carrot.
- First, heat 2L water to the boiling point. Add 100/200 grams of soap and stir.
- Cool the solution to room temperature and add 1L kerosene.
- Dilute the solution further with 15-20 liters of water.
- Spray the weeds in your garden.
- Kerosene also serves as an effective pesticide eliminating aphids, flies, and other troublesome insects.
When To Spray?
- For the case of carrots, first, spray the crops before the seedlings emerge. This helps to tackle any weed sprouts.
- Afterward, do the second spraying when 2-3 leaves appear on the carrot stems. The weeds are larger at this time.
- You can do another spray during other subsequent stages of growth, such as during vegetation.
- Avoid using a watering can with large holes. The droplets shouldn’t be large.
- You should also avoid spraying in the garden bed where cultivated plants grow.
- The best day to spray your garden is during dry and cooler weather, early in the morning or evening.
With the correct dosage and chemical mix, worry less about kerosene harming your crop. It’s volatile and evaporates reasonably quickly after spraying, leaving no traces in the soil.
The characteristic smell of kerosene also vanishes after some time.
Ideally, this method of weed control should be safe to administer to other root crops in your garden.
The Pros And Cons of Using Kerosene
- Fast results; weed burn noticeable two days after treatment.
- Safe to spray in your garden with proper dilution and dose application.
- Highly volatile; does not accumulate in the soil.
- It’s cheap and readily available.
- Harmful if safety rules aren’t observed.
- It does not get rid of weeds entirely and permanently.
- High dosages damage your cultivated root crops.
Kerosene is a flammable chemical with multiple uses. It’s the main active ingredient in jet fuel.
Incidentally, kerosene has been used to control weeds growing on hard surfaces like pavers and gravel driveways.
The recent use of the fuel for weed control in carrot sprouts has again shown its effectiveness as a herbicide.
It all boils down to adhering to all safety protocols and administering a safe dosage to the root crops in your garden.
We advise going for kerosene weed control as a last resort should other methods fail to give you desired results.
Job Kiniale is a certified crop scientist and gardening enthusiast with a passion to help beginning gardeners navigate their newfound hobby. Let’s talk about plants, backyard ideas, and general gardening advice. Outside work, Job loves spending time with family.