Anyone who has gardened has faced the frustration of weeds. It seems that no matter what you do, they keep growing back. And the frustration grows because of the backbreaking methods you have to use year after year to get rid of them.
There are things you can do to prevent weeds from appearing in your garden and lawn altogether. So it is possible to avoid the backbreaking work necessary to get rid of them. The key is to make things very difficult for weeds by overheating and suffocating them as you give your plants the nutrients and water they need.
Killing Existing Weeds
Lay reusable clear plastic over your garden before you plant to kill existing weeds. This will create a greenhouse effect that produces so much heat that it kills sprouting weeds as well as weed seeds. This process will also warm the soil in preparation for seeds or seedlings of plants you want once the plastic is removed.
There is one caveat to keep in mind. Using clear plastic in this manner in colder climates or during cold, wet spring and when the sun’s intensity is lacking, can create a favorable condition for weed growth.
You may not realize that weeds are in every inch of your garden. However, the weeds that sprout through are resting in the top inch or so of soil where they can get sunlight.
When you dig around the soil whether, in an attempt to rid your garden of weeds or to maintain the plants, you bring hidden weed seeds to the surface. To prevent this, turn the soil only when you must and then immediately cover the area with mulch.
When getting rid of weeds from your lawn, use very sharp knives or narrow blades to minimize the amount of soil being disturbed. Be sure to cut through the roots of the weeds and remove any weed flower heads the moment you notice them. This prevents the heads from going to seed. Be persistent. Weed seeds can lay dormant for a very long time. So don’t think that you have gotten rid of them after just one season of backbreaking work. Keep at it to ensure that they never come back.
Mulch And Black Beetles
Use organic mulch that includes black beetles or crickets as much as possible. The little critters will eat the weed seeds and the mulch keeps the soil cool and moist and prevents weeds from receiving sunlight.
Assume that the mulch you use includes weed seeds, replenish the mulch as necessary and spread it out, but not too thick. It is ideal for the mulch to be no deeper than 50mm. If it’s too thick it blocks oxygen from getting to the plants.
If your yard includes potted plants and a number of raised beds that are sustaining plants, cover the surrounding area with sheets of biodegradable fabric, cardboard or newspaper to prevent light from getting through and then place mulch on top.
It is essential that you stick to a weeding schedule. Having a schedule and getting rid of weeds a little at a time will actually make it easier to maintain a weed population rather than battling overgrown wild space.
Many experienced gardeners also suggest that you use fabric mulch before or during planting. Heavy-duty landscape fabric that you can find at greenhouse supply stores will suffice.
Rolling it out in a manner that defines walk spaces prevents weeds in all but the smallest slivers of soil. It also works as a permanent barrier between and around raised beds and around berries and fruit trees.
Use grass clippings, cardboard and newspaper to prevent weeds from coming back. Be sure to use this type of mulch before the weeds sprout. Spread the clippings or lay the cardboard and newspaper on a day when there is very little or no wind. Use heavy, wet clippings and pack it down well.
Use Weed Killer
As a last resort, spray weeds with a strong weed killer as they germinate and when they are still small seedlings.
Weeds that are established will have to be sprayed two to three times and even that may not be enough to rid them. You may have to manually remove the weeds. That’s why it is best to tackle the weeds while they’re still seedlings.
If you must pull out the weeds, do it after a heavy rain. Trying to pull them out in dry conditions results in cutting off or pulling out the weed down to just below the surface. Eventually, what’s left will grow back. The key is to remove the whole weed right down to the roots.
Spacing Between Plants
Place plants close together when planting or use pots near one another. Limiting the space between plants can reduce weed growth by as much as 25 percent. Ground cover plants are ideal in limiting space for weeds, especially if you have a lot of land to cover.
Water the plants you want to survive, but don’t water the weeds. If your area is experiencing a drought, be careful to water only around the base of plants you want to survive. In most regions, depriving weeds of water effectively reduces germination rates by as much as 60 percent.
It is essential to maintain soil quality. Weeds thrive in poor soil. A minimal amount of rocks, the right amount of sand and loam, plenty organic material, and good drainage will ensure that the soil stays healthy and you get rid of weeds.
(Sources: pyracantha.co.uk and offthegridnews)