The Popular Liquid That'll Keep Aphids From Destroying Your Lettuce Plants

Aphids are annoying little fellas that can suck the life out of your plants. They can be especially problematic to lettuce since you're specifically growing it to eat the leaves. Plenty of chemical pest control methods are available, but you may prefer to use a natural method since you'll have a bowl of those sprayed leaves on the dinner table.

Head to your pantry and grab a bottle of vinegar. This multi-purpose ingredient is helpful in gardens and can help you get rid of pests. Vinegar has the potential to harm plants, but since the solution will be diluted and the application won't be daily, it poses only a slight risk that's well worth taking to get rid of those bugs. Vinegar is completely natural and won't harm or disrupt the ecosystem since it contains no harmful chemicals. You can feel good about using it in the garden to fight aphids.

How to make and use a vinegar spray

All you need to make an effective spray is vinegar and water. You can use white or apple cider vinegar; both contain the acetic acid you need for it to work. Use one part vinegar and three parts water, regardless of the measurements you use. This ratio will dilute the vinegar enough to reduce the harm to your plants while still being strong enough to kill aphids. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, and you're ready to start spraying.

You can spray it on any part of the lettuce, but you should target the areas most affected by aphids. Aphids generally feast on new leaves toward the center of the head. Look along the crevices of stems where they can protect themselves. Once you finish spraying your lettuce, wait at least a week before spraying again. This will give the plants a break from acetic acid and will prevent them from taking any damage from it. Repeat this process for as long as you have aphids.

Vinegar is an effective aphid treatment

That distinct pungent smell of vinegar comes from acetic acid. In its pure form, acetic acid is highly corrosive and flammable – certainly not something you want to use in your home! However, the vinegar you buy in grocery stores is diluted to about 5%, making it much safer to use. Even though it's diluted, that 5% is still enough to kill garden pests.

Vinegar should be diluted even further before using it in the garden. Acetic acid isn't toxic to plants like a pesticide chemical, but its corrosive properties can remove the top layers of leaves, leading to sunscald. Vinegar can't travel through the plants, so you can remove affected leaves and stems, and the rest of the plant will be okay.

Aphids are affected by vinegar similarly to plants in that they'll be damaged by it when it's sprayed directly on them. It suffocates and burns them, causing them to die almost instantly. Even though aphids will meet their demise, it's still a safe option if you want to protect pollinators since it isn't made from toxic chemicals.