Lawn weeds are unwanted plants that sprout in places where they shouldn’t be. Many homeowners, especially horticulturists, hate lawn weeds because they basically have zero value in use and appearance. They even stunt the growth of nearby plants by sucking up all the soil nutrients around them. If those aren’t enough reasons to hate this botanical nuisance, they also spread germs that can damage the quality of adjacent flora.
Although a handful of weeds such as milkweed, burdock, wild mustard and mimosa
have some positive uses, you are more likely to encounter one with harmful consequences, such as the broadleaf plantain, dandelion, goldenrod, milk thistle, poison ivy and wild carrot. Here are some ways to prevent these pests from further plaguing your garden.
One Big Pull
The most common and convenient way to remove weeds is by yanking them out regularly. Still, pulling those botanical problems isn’t the most effective way to eliminate them. Even if the root is gone, some pesky weeds still survive and reproduce. The only time weeding through rooting works is when you make sure the entire root system is removed.
Some weeds like henbit and chickweed have shallow root systems that require a gentle tug to pull out. For weeds with tap roots like dandelion and burdock, you need to dig them up entirely to prevent them from growing back. If you leave even the tiniest piece of tap root, be prepared to encounter more of the same weed. It is best to do this in moist soil because the roots are easier to dig up.
Hoe, Hoe, Hoe!
When your hands begin to cave into those stubborn weeds, it’s time to call for back-up. A large area of tiny, deep-rooted weeds is easy to work on when you have a hoe in hand. Basically, the hoe serves as a better, bigger, more efficient substitute for your hand when pulling weeds.
There are many types of garden hoes to choose from, such as the draw hoe, warren hoe or scuffle hoe. The only question is whether you prefer doing the deed erect or on your knees. Try each type of tool to determine what tickles your fancy. Keep in mind that the easiest ground to pound is a wet one, but hoes work great on dry land as well.
Mulch Ado About Nothing
Mulch is a protective covering made from different natural and synthetic materials and placed above the ground to help preserve certain crops. This organic solution suppresses weeds from growing, while adding nutrients to the soil at the same time. By thoroughly covering the soil, mulches deprive weeds the light they need to develop. When you cover the earth with mulch, most weed seeds won’t have a place to spread their infestation.
There are plenty of materials that can be used for mulching, including tree bark, chopped leaves, cocoa hulls and pine needles, to name a few. Perhaps the best of them all is compost. Once you place the mulch, you won’t even notice that it’s there. Since the organic component breaks down at a fast rate to increase microbial activity, you need to add an additional inch of mulch at least once a year to continue improving your soil.
Make sure that your mulch is at least three inches thick to completely smother the weeds and retain soil moisture. Additionally, give your plants about an inch of space against the organic layer to allow moisture and prevent your plants to rot. Mulching is an excellent way to cultivate your plants. Not only does it solve your weed problem, it also adjusts soil temperature, retains water, adds nutrients to the soil, repels insects and prevents erosion.
A Chemical Romance
There are two general types of herbicide products against weeds. Pre-emergent herbicides kill the weeds at seed level and do not kill full-grown weeds. On the other hand, the post-emergent version does the exact opposite. It works great on weeds that have already begun to grow, but won’t prevent seeds from propagating.
Herbicides may also be selective or non-selective. The selective type wipes out only targeted weeds, while its non-selective counterpart could kill any plant it touches. There are also products that provide extra plant nutrition, besides weed prevention. This way, you hit two birds with one stone. You should always be careful when dealing with chemicals because the effect isn’t limited to the plants, but may be passed on to you as well.
If you aren’t high on chemicals, there is one kind of flavoring that is strong enough to nip the weeds outside your home. Vinegar is as deadly as herbicides because of its acetic acid component. Keep in mind that this fermented liquid works as a non-selective herbicide, so it will also damage plants that are inadvertently exposed to it.
To avoid damaging your other plants, use a brush when applying vinegar to the weeds. Make vinegar your paint and coat the weeds as if they were your canvas. If you intend to spray the sour wine, do so only when you’re right up close the targeted weed to minimize the collateral damage. Since vinegar has a very wide splash damage radius, it isn’t a practical option against weeds. However, it’s a fine supplement to herbicides, as long as you watch where you’re spraying.
Garden Of Even
The best way to fight weeds is by starting your ambitious garden the right way. This addresses the problem before it goes into full bloom. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when putting your green thumb to use.
- Start small. If this is your first time starting a garden, keep it small for easier maintenance.
- Healthy variety. Have a diverse number of plant species to even out the high and low maintenance areas.
- Row and sow. Sow your vegetables and annuals in rows to easily determine the difference between weeds and seedlings.
- Spread planting. Freshly cultivated soil attracts weeds the most, so if you plant all your beds at the same time, you will weed all of them altogether as well.
- Weed often. Weeding your entire lawn in one sitting is painful for the body, which might cause you to miss a few spots.
- Nip the bud. Prioritize weeds that are about to bloom first to maximize your time and efforts.
- Weed early. Cleaning your patch of greenery is more effortless during the beginning of spring because everything is still tiny, including weeds.
Weeds are nearly impossible to avoid if you intend to cultivate your own patch of green. Although they proliferate easily, there are plenty of ways to purge these unwanted plants. Hey, no one said gardening was going to be a walk in the park. If you enjoyed reading this article might as well read how to get rid of dandelions and how to pull weeds.