In many areas especially those at the wet west coast, weeds don’t take much of a break for winter. All of the gardeners need some time-saving weeding strategies to hold the weeds at bay.
For you to take good care of your garden, you need to develop your own weeding strategies, since all gardens are different. Weed seeds are always present in amazing numbers in the soil. A single lambs-quarters plant can produce 70,000 seeds! Others can sprout years after they’ve been shed by the mother plant.
Some weed like Chickweed will form a solid mat almost overnight, spreading by sending down rootlets and crowding out garden seedlings. Control it long before it flowers – each plant can spit out about 800 seeds!
Get The Good Timing
One of the best weed-control strategies is as simple as good timing. Get at the while they’re still small, and the job will be much easier. As well, your seedlings won’t be facing unnecessary competitions from those wild and wooly weeds.
Gardeners know that ‘weed-free’ is a relative term. It may apply, if you’re extra diligent, too much of the garden plot, but rarely to the whole thing. Here are a few measures you can put into place that will decrease the number of weed seeds that will fall into your garden.
- Adding barn manure from a farmer? Compost it to kill the inevitable weed seeds before adding it to the garden.
- Never use fresh hay or grass clippings for mulch. They’re likely full of weed seeds. Let it rot (or compost) for at least one season.
- Get busy and pull weeds before they go to sed. If you do that, you can even safely add them to the compost bin.
- Cut down any thistles in the area. Those devils will produce hundreds of seeds that blow into your garden.
- Adding new soil to your garden beds? Screen it to ensure it’s free of quack grassroots and other invasive plants.
- Hoe those weeds while they’re still young.
As well as these tips, here’s a handy spring schedule to follow, freeing up your gardening time later on:
- Till and rake over the soil 10 days before you start any planting. The inevitably present weed seeds will sprout, and you can easily rake or hoe them out before you plant.
- Lightly cultivate the soil 10 days after you plant, before any weeds look like they’re staking a claim to space. They’re easy to uproot at this stage, without disturbing the roots of germinating plants.
- Repeat this cultivation in another 10 days.
You’ll find that this third round of cultivation may be the last you’ll need to do. It’s important to remove weeds while they’re small. If you wait until they’re large enough to yank up by hand, you’ll disturb the roots of your garden plants. As well, your plants won’t be competing for nutrients, water, and sunlight.
Natural Lawn Weed Killer and Control
Dealing with weeds seems to be a never-ending task for most homeowners from early spring to late fall. No sooner have you eradicated the latest outbreak then another one rears its ugly head in another part of the lawn.
Like most homeowners, you can break out the chemical weed killer and start spraying, but if you’re worried that this constant bombardment of noxious chemicals is not the best idea for you, your family and pets then it may be time to look at some form natural lawn weed killer and control.
Fortunately, there are natural ways to control weeds that will keep those nasty herbicides out of your yard and life. Which method you use will be dependent on where you are in the lawn planning or maintenance process.
If your lawn has yet to be planted or you simply want to start over with a clean slate then consider the soil solarization method to begin your lawn with a weed-free soil base. To do this begin by cutting down all the existing weeds in your new lawn area with a weed eater.
If possible get a good-sized roto-tiller and till the area to help pull up all the roots and loosen the soil. Rake up as much of the weed debris as you can and then using the rake level the soil as best you can.
Once you have prepped the area it is time to do the actual solarization step. Moisten the area lightly with a garden hose then place a layer of clear polyethylene plastic over the area. Construction grade plastic in the 1 to 6 mils thickness range will work just fine.
Use large rocks or cinder blocks to hold the edges and be sure to do this during the middle of summer when the sun is highest in the sky. The plastic will intensify the heat from the sun a literally cook any weeds and plant seeds that remain in the soil, effectively leaving an area of pristine soil that can then be planted.
For existing lawns, there are also several ways to get your weed problem under control. The first has to do with how you mow your lawn. Too many homeowners cut their grass too short; stressing it too much and leaving the door open for weeds to sprout.
Set your lawnmower to its highest setting to create a thick lush lawn that will be more weed resistant. Taller grass effectively shades the soil keeping unwanted weed seeds from germinating while at the same time crowding out weeds that may be trying to gain a foothold in your yard.
A second method is to mix up a natural lawn weed killer from products you probably already have in your home. A simple mixture of vinegar, salt, and water makes an effective weed killer but it is non-selective; meaning that it will kill any plant life it comes in contact with. For exact measurements for this organic weed killer please see our home page.
Weed Killers for Spot and Area Control
An easy to handle device for eradicating occasional weeds is a foam aerosol applicator. Good for small-sized lawns, it shoots a liquid jet of weed-killing chemical foam directly onto the offending weed.
Another device for spot control of weeds is the wand, which can be used without bending over. The wand’s hollow shaft is filled with a solution of a weed killer that squirts out when the tip of the wand is pressed against the weed.
A wax bar or roller impregnated with a weed-killing chemical is useful for destroying weeds close to a hedge or other plants that could be damaged by drifting spray. Drag the bar or roller slowly across the ground right after the grass has been mowed.
Most effective for de-weeding large areas of the lawn is a tank sprayer mounted on wheels. The tank, filled with chemicals and water, has a hand pump mounted on top to build up pressure. The spray from the hand-held nozzle is applied to each weedy area.
More Strategies You Can Use To Get Rid of Weeds Naturally
Pulling weeds one by one is usually the task gardeners hate most. But there are other ways to get rid of those pesky plants.
Perhaps you may consider using a common weed killer but they generally contain harmful chemicals that will travel through the soil to other plants. They can even stay in the soil for a long period like 1 to 2 years.
These synthetic chemicals are also dangerous to use around pets and kids. For those who don’t want to use a chemical weed killer, there are better and safer options to get your weed-free.
Here are more ways you can use to kill weeds naturally.
1. Buy High-Quality Seeds
Make sure you only buy high-quality seeds. You can do so by checking the label to make sure the grass seed that you intend to buy has less than 2% of weed seeds(like grassy or broadleaf weeds), crop seeds(like corn or wheat), or inert matter like chaff or soil particles.
2 DIY Natural Weed Killer
A natural weed killer can be found right in your kitchen. They are vinegar and dish soap. You can get a spray bottle and combine 2 parts of white distilled vinegar, 1 part of water and a few drops of dish soap. Spray the solution on the weed in the morning of the dry, hot day. Be careful when you spray them because this DIY solution will kill most plants it touches.
Another weed killer that you can get in your kitchen is salt. You can mix 3 tablespoons of salt and just enough warm water to liquefy the solution. Salt can kill weeds by causing dehydration. But at the same time, it also makes the soil barren. Therefore, you should only use this weed killer in areas that you don’t want any vegetation like a stony path.
4. Smother Weeds With Mulch
If you got to subscribe to the newspaper, don’t throw them away after reading. We can use them together with leaves, straw, or even a black tarp as they are great materials that you can use to suffocate your weeds. Just make sure you put enough mulch on the weeds to block out any light.
5. Let The Weeds Have A Scalding Hot Bath
This method works best for young weeds that aren’t hardy enough to withstand boiling water.
6. Crowd Out Weeds
Crowd out any unwanted weeds by keeping your soil pH level balanced and not mowing your grass too low. Growing a densely planted gardener lawn can repress any weeds that might not belong.
7. Use Corn Gluten for Weed Prevention
You can use corn gluten to keep weeds from ever popping up. The corn by-product can help to prevent the germination of seeds. It doesn’t affect already established plants. Corn gluten also provides a healthy dose of nitrogen which is a nutrient that plants needed to grow.
So plot your weeding strategies, and you’ll be on the way to Weed-Free!