How Long Does Vinegar Last in Soil: Things You Should Know

Vinegar is a famous weed killer all over the world. It is a mix of sugar, salt, acid, and water. Also, it is safe and food grade. Some varieties of horticultural vinegar have an acidity of more than 20% or even more. Though it has some agricultural importance, do you know how long does vinegar lasts in soil?

When pouring highly concentrated vinegar toward the soil, its effects can last for more than one month. Yet, some portions of vinegar may fall to the ground when you spray vinegar over the plant’s leaves as a herbicide. But after a few days, the fallen vinegar may break down.

Moreover, vinegar concentrates are effective biological herbicides with near-instantaneous action. Spraying this solution straight onto the weed removes the waxy skin of the leaf, which protects plant cells from water loss. It makes the grass dry to the roots. Unfortunately, if dew gets on a valuable garden shrub, the solution may also kill it by drying out.

How Long Does Vinegar Last in Soil

How Long Does Vinegar Last in Soil?

The acetic acid in the soil lowers the pH, making it inappropriate for a few plants. If you pour highly concentrated vinegar directly into the soil, it may last for over a month. But it may be wrong to use vinegar in terms of a herbicide. Herbicidal vinegar is sprayed onto the leaves of the plants, and droplets falling on the ground may decompose after a few days.

Vinegar quickly degrades in the soil, and due to this, it is not so efficient in killing weeds. The portion of vinegar falling into the ground when spraying weeds will deteriorate after 2 to 3 days, or sooner if it rains or water the garden.

Suppose the garden is completely saturated with an immense amount (around 20%) of vinegar. In that case, acetic acid can be stored for about 30 days, making it challenging for your plants to get there. But this needs more vinegar. The small amount may not reach these toxicity levels.

However, remember that vinegar acts as a contact herbicide. Also, it will damage all plant parts it sweeps. 

Yet, vinegar hits all plants, including the ones you desire to save. If you set a vinegar-covered weed bed, the vinegar can get on your new seedlings and destroy them.

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Why Use Vinegar in Soil?

Though vinegar is quite common in our food, it also has some agricultural value. Now, find out why people use vinegar in the soil.

An essential in your garden

Some people believe that a beneficial effect of vinegar in your garden is its role as a fertilizer. But that’s not entirely true. That’s because acetic acid contains only hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen, which plants can extract from the air.

It is recommended to use vinegar to raise the soil pH. The results are unstable and need a lot of vinegar in your garden before something remarkable. The most recommended use of vinegar is as a herbicide. 

Homemade white vinegar with 5% acetic acid actually burns the peak of the weeds. However, it does not affect the weed roots and the foliage of other plants which come in contact with the vinegar.

As a weed killer

As a herbicide, vinegar is safe, easy to use, and inexpensive for weed control. Vinegar contains acetic acid (about 5 percent), which terminology suggests burns on contact. In fact, anyone who has inhaled a little vinegar also infects their mucous membranes, and it may cause a quick reaction. 

Because of its effects, the use of vinegar acts as a panacea for several garden conditions, chief among which is weed control. The acetic acid in vinegar dissolves cell membranes, dries tissue, and causes plant death. While this seems like an excellent result for weed control in your garden, I speculate you won’t be thrilled if herbicide and vinegar damage your garden perennials or vegetables. 

You can buy a product with a higher acetic acid content, but it has similar harmful effects as vinegar. Some weed control has been demonstrated at higher concentrations of acetic acid (80-100% small weed) but follows the company’s instructions. 

Also, be conscious of the caustic impacts on your nostrils, skin, and eyes, not to consider garden shrubs, and take appropriate action. Despite longstanding advocates of the use of vinegar in fields, you may find a little helpful information. 

It appears that USDA studies with solutions including 5% vinegar have not shown that they are a potent weed control agent. Higher acid concentrations of 10-20% in-store foods can slow some annual weeds growth and even kill the perennial weed’s foliage like Canadian thistle but without the roots. Hence it leads to rebirth. 

In short, vinegar is effective against tiny annual weeds when mowing the lawn and before planting in the garden. But it is probably best to go with traditional activities like digging or hand pulling for long-term weed control. 


Does vinegar kill grass permanently?

Yes, vinegar can kill weeds forever! Especially if your plant has a well-established root, you can get the full out of vinegar. Applying vinegar to eliminate weeds is an effective and natural way to remove weeds from the garden or lawn without excessive manual operation or weed control tools.

Is vinegar bad for garden soil?

White vinegar can kill many traditional plants like hydrangeas, rhododendrons, and gardenias, which feed on acidity, so a little vinegar is a perfect stimulant. Also, you can add some concentrated vinegar to the soil to fight hard water or lime for other less acidic plants.

Will vinegar turn hydrangeas blue?

If your soil holds a pH of less than seven, hydrangea flowers are usually blue. Add a cup of distilled white vinegar and drench it over the hydrangea for every liter of water in the watering can. The vinegar’s acidity will make your pink hydrangeas blue or prevent blue flowers from becoming pink.

Is apple cider vinegar good for plants?

Apple cider vinegar can be a fertilizer to maintain plant health. As apple cider is acidic, it is best as fertilizer only for acid-loving shrubs like raspberry, azalea bushes, and gardenia. The aim is to dilute the vinegar so as not to damage the plants or the soil.

Final Verdict

White vinegar spray can kill weeds and lawns, but be careful when manipulating this powerful herbicide. Regular homemade vinegar does not pose much of a risk when used for weed control. And you have got the rest in our “how long does vinegar last in soil” guide.

Still, vinegar concentrated on making it an efficient herbicide can also be harmful to wildlife and humans. Take precautions and reapply if necessary when you want to go with the concentrated vinegar weed killer to kill perennial weeds and grass.

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