I have a 20 x 20 play area in my backyard and it seems I have to spray with weed killer almost every other month.

Can I dump some salt in the area to control the weeds?

  • 1
    What is the surface of the play area?
    – vclaw
    Aug 4, 2016 at 1:58

4 Answers 4


Salt is not great for weed control, but this article talks about VINEGAR. They also try to combine salt with vinegar but the coolest thing when one uses vinegar of a very high percentage, it changes the pH of the soil so the soil is unable to support any vegetation until...get this...when one decides they DO want to grow plants again in that soil all one needs to do is add lime, check and check and check to see the change in pH. Salt would not allow that decision making and sorry, I know so many plants that would give a rip if salt was high! There are actual plant products of vinegar weed control with very high percentage of vinegar to make the soil VERY low in pH. Weed killer is just not great for play areas and kids. (never use the shredded tire stuff).

Is your play area backed up to a 'green strip' - a natural area your development shares? If so, rethink placement of your children's play area. Most people don't realize these areas are traveled frequently by bear, cougar, bobcat...and you'll never see them. I track and know the wilderness well. Most of our developments are transition zones to the wilderness that used to support these wonderful animals (300 sq. miles per male cougar). Working with clients, I got them to change the location of their play areas...just a thought.

  • Borax is also effective, and appropriate for some problem spots. Aug 4, 2016 at 13:35

I just used salt on my gravel driveway that was becoming overgrown with weeds and it worked like a charm, within 2 days they started to die, by the 5th day the weeds were finally dead.........after multiple attempts of trying other weed killers. Salt will make the soil/sand have a much higher salinity concentration thus killing vegetation and making it an unfriendly growing spot.


It would take a lot of salt, because grass grows back through salt, because every winter my mailbox area gets to shoe bottom depth, and I need to clear some salt from the edge of the road, and the grass grows back every year.

A thick layer of sand box sand would work a lot better, since it's a play area, because it won't dry out the skin.

  • I thought about sand initially but a neighbor mentioned that when he did sand, he had an issue with cats neighborhood cats using it as a sandbox Aug 5, 2016 at 11:39
  • Kids are disease resistant. Aug 5, 2016 at 18:09

It depends on what you intend to use the ground for. From what you have said it's a play area, so this opens up plenty of options for your weed control approach.

Yes, you can use salt or vinegar, but both are chemicals and will indeed change the quality of the soils, its PH level, and would affect future planting or could affect the local soil moisture if you go crazy with the quantity you use. It may be better to use a child-friendly weed killer.

There are three primary ways to control weeds:

  1. Weeding. Use a hoe or weed removal tool
  2. Light Suppressant. Cover with a light suppressant fabric and leave for 6 months. Or better in your circumstances, apply the weed covering fabric then cover that with bark or some other safe surface for the play area. This will prevent weeds from regrowing
  3. Gas Burning. Use a gas burner and literally burn the weeds, this causes cellular damage to their roots and kills them

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