Grow Tips

Weed Control

Keeping weeds under control doesn't have to be a huge chore. Whether you're suffering from weed problems in your front lawn or in your flower or vegetable garden, removing them quickly and keeping them from returning is a fairly simple matter. The trick is planning your attack.

Removing weeds

If you've already got mature weeds, you'll need to remove them before they do any more damage to your desired plants. These tips will help.

Stop the weed

If possible, get to the weeds before they flower. In most cases, this means just removing the weed as quickly as possible. White heads on dandelions or rows of ball-shaped seeds on pigweed mean that the plant is already in germination stage, and it may be spreading. If you don't have time to dig up the plant, chop off its head with a lawn mower or scissors. This will control the weed until you can come back later and fully remove it.

Remove the entire weed

A common mistake made by many gardeners is to simply pull up the garden or lawn weeds. Most weeds have a very long taproot, or a large clutch of roots, and pulling them up will simply tear the roots and leave some in the ground. For successful weed removal, get out a spade and dig the entire root base from the ground.

Use weed killer wisely

Weed killer can be a great solution, but keep in mind that these chemicals are designed to kill plants- period. They can't distinguish between weeds and your tomato patch. If you use a chemical, spray it directly onto the weed, lifting up the leaves and spraying the base. If the weed killer needs to be sprayed onto the leaves of the plant, do so on a calm day so that the spray won't blow onto your other plants.  

Preventing future weeds

Removing all of the weeds from your lawn or garden is great, but chances are good that new ones will crop up--in some cases, almost immediately. Make your lawn or garden less enticing to weeds with a few simple hints.

Mulch helps

A thick layer of mulch over garden soil will help prevent weeds from digging in. Add mulch to the soil right after planting your new seedlings.

Consider landscape fabric

If weeds are a serious problem in your garden, consider covering the area with landscape fabric. You'll have to poke holes in order to plant your seedlings. Water and light can get through the fabric, but weeds can't. Cover the fabric with a layer of mulch to improve appearance.

Create a barrier on your lawn

Keeping weeds out of your lawn is tricky. You'll need to create a solid surface of healthy grass in order to choke out the weeds. In some cases this may require new sod or grass seed. When you mow the lawn, leave the grass clippings where they fall to create a cover for the grass and help keep out weeds.

Try pre-emergent chemicals

If you're interested in chemical weed control, consider pre-emergent weed killers that are designed for use after the soil is prepared but before anything begins to grow. These chemicals create a noxious barrier between any weed seedlings and the surface. They work well in preparing a weed-free area for your new garden planting.   The trick to weed control is to be persistent. Continue removing weeds by hand when you see them, and take a few days prior to a new planting to prepare the area by digging up roots and spraying chemicals. Ridding a garden or lawn completely of weeds may require a few years of diligence. With the right methods and some time and effort on your part, the desired plants will take over the area and be strong enough to keep the weeds from muscling in.