Organic Gardening Help: Table Salt vs. Torching?

Here in Hawaii we have a invasive vine. I’ve tried pulling it out roots and all and it still grows back. It make the yard look like something from Tales from the Crypt. I hate it. Although I am learning about and just starting to get into Organic Gardening I was so desperate to get rid of this vine that I used the ROUND UP in my Dad’s shed. Needless to say that did NOTHING for the vine.

Then I thought table salt might dehydrate the vine and kill it. My neighbor uses a blow torch of some kind to kill all of his weeds he told me that I can by a small torch that looks like a small tank. I can buy a 4 lb bag of table salt from Sam’s Club for just under $ 5 here. So what do you think? Salt or Torching? Or do you have a better idea? Please help me. Thanks!
I am almost sure that this pesky vine is called Ivy Gourd.
I have ben digging and digging the vine out. It hasn’t covered like a blanket yet cause I haven’t let it get that bad. This thing is growing out of places I can’t get too. Like threw a wall, from under the house, from neighbors yard. THIS neighbor we never see. The only thing separating my yard from his yard is a fence.


To be honest, I was planning on building raised beds or use stock tanks used for live stock to grow my plants. Where I live (about a 5 minute drive to the beach) we have terrible soil. You don’t have to dig far before you hit coral. It is really hard to grow anything in my yard. The only thing we have in my yard is a yellow plumeria tree, crouton bush (that ain’t doing so good – it wasn’t my choice to plant that), ti leaves, heliconia, and on the shade side of my house I have some ferns that are doing good. I tried growing so many other things and they all die. So fustrating.

The answer voted best is:

Answer by donutqueen
You could try the salt, because it should work down in the soil to kill the roots, but it may also kill out nearby grass or plants that you want to keep. I’m not sure that using the torch would get down to the roots, and the vine would probably still come back later. Check with the neighbor about that.
I live in Michigan, and we have weeds that are vining types, and I just keep pulling or digging them out until they give up and stop growing. At least, that is what I hope. The reality is that they just keep coming and I just keep pulling. I, too, tried Round Up, and found that it was not a permanent solution.

Good Luck!

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  1. i would go for the torch rather than salt which can bleed into other plants and stay in the soil. another good way to get rid of nasty plants is to pour boiling water over them. take out your electric kettle and an extention cord and fill it as many times as you need to from the hose. it will harm only the plants you want out and leaves no residue.

  2. Depends on the plant, some vines as they lay on the ground put out sucker roots making it that much harder to kill. Do not use salt, salt has traditionally been used to make the soil unuseable for years.

    I have heard that pure vinegar (the stronger strengths) can kill. I have used vinegar (canning strength 9% acid) to kill weeds on the edge of the sidewalk.

  3. Hi there! I am from hawaii though I may not look like it…North Shore Pupukea/Kaneohe/Kawwaa. I recommend calling the department of Agriculture there …..I workded in one in idaho….and wegott all kinds of questions from elephant garlic to sage and so forth….they are kind and help the public at large with their questions regarding the sowing, reaping and so forth that you might need to know inthe event that you do not find what you are looking for here! They are in the phone book! They are extremely approachable…..and it helps them too configure what is happening and they will give to u the safest measures of how to do what you are asking…if I knew I would certainly tell you!!!

    N.N. aka Garbo

  4. gasoline will do it in. Not very eco friendly, but deadly to plants and bugs.
    Very close mowing will keep it under control and may kill it eventually.
    do not use salt…will prevent nice plants from growing for quite a while.

  5. Salt will ruin the soil for anything for years to come.

    Copper sulfate is just as effective at killing, but won’t damage the soil for quite as long. If you can find a supplier, it is a much cheaper solution.

    Be aware that you need at least a few hours of dry weather after you put any kind of poison onto a plant for it to be effective. In Hawaii, that can be difficult to get.

    Also, roundup comes in three kinds: One is for killing grasses, one is for killing broadleaf plants. One is supposed to kill everything. You might not have used the right kind.

  6. Salt, gas, etc.. might work to kill the vine but these things will end up doing more harm than good to the rest of your garden. Gasoline is illegal to pour on the soil, you can be fined and told to remediate the soil which will cost thousands of dollars. But the remediation would likely dig up the vine, roots and all.

    Torches are only good for annual weeds that are young and small, they do not deal with plants such as this gourd vine-way too big.

    The best thing to do is hire some one with a strong back to dig up the vine’s roots or keep chopping it off at ground level and eventually it will die, though this will take several years to do (but it won’t be vining everywhere and will be essentially invisible if you keep hacking it back)

  7. Contact your Master Gardeners on Ohau for some advise.

    What are you planning to do after you kill the weeds? If you are planning to plant something else, I would not use salt. Torching would be better – just be very careful.

    If you have used roundup already, then you would need to wait to replant. Just for information, there is a stronger roundup for ivy’s. Anything with ivy in the name is hard to get rid of. (But then you have to let the ground sit before replanting.)

    It is best if you can just dig it out and dig it out again when it comes back. With enough persistance, you can get rid of it.

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