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Does Diesel Kill Weeds | All You Need to Know!

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I understand how frustrating it can be when you’ve tried all the possible methods to get rid of those stubborn weeds in your lawn, only to see your hard work go in vain!

It’s natural to yearn for a spotless lawn where you don’t want to see any unnecessary vegetation.

In addition to ruining the looks of your garden, weeds often compete for water, light, and nutrients, leading to weakened grass that is more prone to diseases and erosion. That’s why effective weed control is crucial for maintaining a healthy lawn.

Does diesel kill weeds? Let’s see!

Apart from maintaining a healthy lawn with regular mowing, watering, and fertilizing, it is sometimes necessary to use chemical methods to control weeds.

And today, we are going to look at one of these methods.

This article will highlight the use of diesel fuel to kill weeds—we’ll discuss how this works, what are the pros and cons of using diesel as a weed killer, how to use it properly, and whether there are any safer alternatives to eliminate weeds from your lawn.

Let’s see how to keep your lawn healthy and weed-free!

Does Diesel Kill Weeds - Caucasian Men Fighting Grass Lawn Weeds by Spraying Chemicals
Caucasian Men Fighting Grass Lawn Weeds | Image via Shutterstock.

Does Diesel Kill Weeds?

Yes, diesel is a potent weed killer and can effectively kill weeds.

However, there are some vital considerations to keep in mind while using diesel fuel as a weedicide. Safety concerns and potential environmental risks should be taken seriously, as diesel can be hazardous if not used properly.

Diesel is a type of fuel extracted from crude oil via fractional distillation. It has long been used to power motor vehicles and other pieces of equipment. However, people have also been using diesel fuel as a weed killer for many years.

In the following section, we will delve deeper into the properties and mechanism of diesel as a weed killer.

Let’s begin!

What Makes Diesel a Potential Weed Killer?

According to the University of California | Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR), oil fractions of heavy unsaturated compounds are toxic to plants.

What are heavy unsaturated compounds?

Heavy unsaturated compounds are organic compounds of high molecular weight and are characterized by the presence of double or triple bonds between carbon atoms. Diesel fuel contains a wide range of heavy unsaturated compounds, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are toxic to plants.

The toxicity of diesel fuel is a consequence of its lower volatility and higher viscosity. Less volatility causes it to stay at the plant’s surface for a much longer time.

As a result, the plants may soak it in more significant amounts, resulting in more toxicity.

Therefore, as a heavy unsaturated compound, diesel fuel proves to be an effective weed killer. Heavy unsaturated compounds damage plant parts and cause the yellowing of leaves, aka chlorosis.

They kill grass and weed slowly with chronic toxicity.

Using Diesel as a Weed Killer | Pros & Cons!

This section will examine the pros and cons of using diesel as a potential weed killer.


Here are some advantages of using diesel to kill weeds:

  • Diesel is known to kill a broad spectrum of different weed species.
  • Diesel penetrates deep into the soil, affecting the roots, thus ensuring the effective removal of weeds.
  • Diesel works at a much faster rate than other weed killers and can kill weeds in a matter of a few days.
  • Diesel fuel is easily available in all parts of the world. You can quickly obtain it from any gas station.
  • Diesel application is just effortless. You can easily apply it using a spray bottle, a watering can, or even a paintbrush.


Here are the disadvantages:

  • As a petroleum-based product, diesel can have adverse environmental impacts, including soil contamination and water pollution.
  • Spreading diesel fuel in your home can present potential health risks to you and your pets. As mentioned earlier, diesel contains toxic organic compounds that can even cause cancer due to long-term exposures.
  • Certain weather conditions, such as strong winds or heavy rain after diesel application, can disperse or dilute it before it has a chance to penetrate the weeds.
  • As a broad-spectrum weed killer, diesel can also cause significant harm to non-target plants, thus damaging the ecosystem.
  • Depending upon your region, diesel fuel might be expensive compared to other herbicides. Therefore, it would not be a budget-friendly option.
  • You might not be able to use diesel as a weed killer in some regions because of legal restrictions.
  • Diesel can sometimes be ineffective against certain weeds, such as perennial weeds, or those with an extensive root system or resistance against herbicides.

Keeping the above points in mind, if you don’t want or can’t use diesel to kill hard-to-control weed species, there is another non-selective and systemic herbicide that can kill most weed species, including the perennials.

You might already be familiar with the Professional Glyphosate Weed Killer used by many people, including gardeners, farmers, foresters, and biologists, to eliminate unwanted invasive plants.

You can easily buy Gallip Weed Killer from Gardeners Dream if you don’t find it nearby.

That aside, let’s now look at the correct way of using diesel as a weed killer.

The Proper Way of Using Diesel as a Weed Killer!

If you have environmental concerns or are health conscious—which you should be, you might want to know the proper way of using diesel as a weed killer.

Safety First

Make sure you practice proper safety measures before heading on the diesel application.

These measures include:

  • Wearing protective gloves and goggles to prevent skin and eye irritation.
  • Wearing a mask would also be beneficial as inhaling diesel fumes can harm your health and cause nausea, dizziness, headache, and respiratory problems.
  • Keeping your pets away from the area of application might also be something you want to keep in mind.

See medical attention immediately if you or your pets experience any symptoms or discomfort.

How to Use Diesel as a Weed Killer?

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Per our guidelines, dilute your diesel fuel before applying it to the weeds. Mix one part of diesel with four parts of water. This will dilute the diesel and would make it less harmful to non-targeted plants.

NOTE: Diluting diesel fuel can make it less effective as a weed killer, but its effectiveness also depends on other factors, such as the type of targeted weeds and environmental conditions. Either way, it’s crucial to follow the recommended guidelines for using diesel as a weed killer.

  • Now that your mixture is ready to be applied, fill it in a spray bottle or a watering can.
  • Apply the diesel, ensuring that it reaches the leaves and roots of the targeted weeds. Avoid applying diesel on windy or rainy days.
  • After you’ve applied the diesel, make sure to dispose of any remaining material properly. By properly, I mean not pouring the remaining mixture directly into water bodies or onto bare land, causing pollution. Instead, mix it with some sand, seal it in a plastic bag, and dump it in waste disposal bins.

Sometimes, it might take as little as 48 hours for the weeds to start wilting and showing signs of damage. However, in some cases, it may take several days or even weeks.

So, stay patient!

Related Post: How to Kill a Tree with Diesel in Easy Steps

Are There Any Safer Alternatives to Using Diesel as a Weed Killer?

Many other options exist to eliminate nasty weeds from your lawn without using diesel fuel.

They include:

1. Picking up Weeds by Hands

Picking up weeds using your hands is by far the most straightforward way to get rid of weeds without having to use any chemicals.

However, it is a labor-intensive job, especially if you have a big lawn full of weeds.

While pulling the weeds out by hand, pulling out as much of the root system as possible is essential—that will keep the weeds gone for a good time.

2. Use of Boiling Water

You can easily clear up a small area covered by weeds by pouring boiling water over them.

The heat from the boiling water will kill the plant cells.

Just boil some water in a pot, take it to the targeted area, and carefully pour it directly onto the weeds.

3. Using Salt

Pouring salt over weeds is also an effective way to kill them.

As a natural dehydrating agent, salt disrupts the water balance of the plants, thus withering them away and killing them. Therefore, it is better to use salt sparingly and only where you don’t want to see any vegetative growth.

4. Using Vinegar

White vinegar is a dilute form of acetic acid and can be used as a natural herbicide.

Vinegar damages the cell membranes of the plant cells, leading them to dry out and die. You can spray 5–10% vinegar solution directly onto the weeds.

5. Applying Mulch

Applying mulch is a well-known method to keep weeds under control.

Mulch is a layer of organic materials like wood chips, pine bark, dead leaves, grass clippings, etc., that we apply to our soil. Applying a 2–3 inches layer of mulch will be enough to prevent weeds on your lawn.

Mulch blocks the sunlight and prevents weed seeds from germinating. It also retains moisture in the soil and improves soil fertility by providing favorable conditions for beneficial microbial activity.

Thus, your plants will outcompete the weeds!

That’s all for today.


With all that said, I hope you now know everything related to using diesel as a weed killer.

So far, we have discussed the use of diesel as a weed killer, its pros and cons, how to correctly apply diesel to kill weeds, and what safer alternatives exist for weed control.

I hope you find this post helpful. If so, don’t forget to share it with people.

Till next time,