Table of Contents
- 1 Weed Control Methods in your Garden?
- 1.1 All about weed control – Exterminate, re-germinate
- 1.2 Weed Identification Guide
- 1.2.1 Recognizing and removing garden weeds
- 1.2.2 Types of weeds
- 1.3 Weed Control Tips
- 1.4 Natural weed killer
- 1.5 Weed Killers Review
Weed Control Methods in your Garden?
All about weed control – Exterminate, re-germinate
An overzealous caretaker may jump at the chance to waste offending weeds with a weed eater strike and a dousing of some post-emergent chemical weed killer. This is never advisable, as weed control is a complicated practice that is always best begun with a non-toxic attempt, eventually moving toward the more noxious chemical weed killers as a last resort. The gung-ho lawn man will face even more weeds by carelessly spreading weed carcasses and seeds over the yard.
Take note of the following tips, starting with the traditional, non-toxic, weed control methods.
- If you are dealing with weeds in a garden, be vigilant. Check for weeds regularly and pull them out by the roots. A thick layer of mulch, be it compost, newspaper, rocks, or bark, will help any plant grow healthy. The mulch also keeps the soil cool, preventing weed seeds from germinating. Bare soil will almost always develop weeds.
- As a general rule, it’s advisable to start with the least toxic method and work your way up. It may cost a little more time and money, but it’s preferable to killing your lawn.
- After manually removing your weeds, be sure to discard them in a tight bag to prevent the seeds from spreading.
- Crabgrass, usually a pain to remove, can be yanked out easily if you learn to recognize the first two leaves that sprout.
- A weed eater is your friend, but it can hack up a lawn or garden. Poulan weed eaters are good products; the freedom from tangled extension chords are well worth the price of gas.
If you don’t like the results, start spraying
- Pre-emergents are a popular choice because they deal with weeds before they grow. A toxic layer of gas prevents the seed from breaking the soil’s surface. Don’t bother with them, though, until you rid your lawn of actual weeds.
- For those resorting to chemical methods, protect yourself with long sleeves, pants, and neoprene gloves. It is recommended to use a respirator and goggles, too.
- For dandelions, you’re best served with a post-emergent, broadleaf weed killer. Post-emergent herbicides target specific breeds (in this case, broadleaved weeds) and can be sprayed directly on lawns. Look for low-profile, dark green leaves with serrated edges. Spray these dandelions before they flower, taking care not to hit desirable plants – best done by waiting for the wind to die.
Weed Identification Guide
Recognizing and removing garden weeds
Weeds are plants that are growing in the wrong place. By nature, they are generally strong and somewhat invasive, tending to take over ground space and choke out plants in the vicinity in their quest for survival. That’s exactly why you don’t want them growing in your yard or garden.
It’s a rare garden that doesn’t experience a weed invasion once in a while. By learning how to recognize the weeds you see, you can learn how to take care of them once and for all without doing damage to the rest of your plants.
Types of weeds
Weed identification can be very difficult, particularly when it’s early in the growing season. You might have trouble distinguishing the shoots of weeds from the rest of your garden. It’s also hard to identify weeds based on short descriptions, and the fact that weeds vary greatly by region makes it even more complicated. Your best bet in identifying your weeds may be taking a look at the surrounding environment. If your neighbor has crabgrass, it won’t be hard to figure out where all the crabgrass in your own lawn came from. Bushes in your yard may be scattering seeds that are popping up like weeds in your vegetable garden.
If you don’t see anything around that might have caused the problem, try doing an online search or visiting a library for a book that shows pictures of common weeds. It may be easiest to identify what you have by comparing photos. Once you’ve identified the weeds, you’re well on the road to treating them.
The following is a brief list of the most common types of weeds. The area in parentheses indicates where the weed is most often found. If you’ve identified your weeds, this information should help you find the best way to remove and control them.
Dandelions (US and Canada, except for southernmost states)
Dandelions have distinctive lacy leaves and bright yellow flowers that bloom into white feathers in order to germinate. These perennials spread via invasive seeds and can flower at any time. To remove them, dig below the plant and take out the entire taproot, which can be very long. Keep the flowers from blooming and prevent more seeds from spreading by mowing often.
Crabgrass (the US, except parts of northern mountain states)
These thick, sometimes sharp blades of flat grass grow in patches and overtake regular grass and garden plants. Mowing does not kill crabgrass! Dig out patches thoroughly, making sure to take out the entire root base. Mulch will help prevent this weed.
Prickly lettuce ( US, except the southern tip of Florida)
This weed starts as a multi-leaf seedling and develops prickly-edged, pointed leaves with yellow flowers on the stems. Prickly lettuce can attract helpful insects and so may be left around the borders of the garden if you desire. To remove it from inside the garden, cut the taproot and remove the entire plant while wearing gloves. Common weed killers aren’t always strong enough, as this is a very hardy plant.
Lamb’s quarters (across US)
These plants grow up to 6 feet tall and feature big, flat leaves, red-streaked stems, and greenish flowers that are made of small round seeds that often fall off when touched. Lamb’s quarters, also called pigweed, needs to be hoed out of the garden and can be prevented with a heavy layer of mulch.
Broadleaf plantain (across US)
This plant starts out as a circular cluster of low, round leaves, and blooms into a large patch with tall stems of round seeded flowers. Try to remove this weed before the flowers occur. Weed killer can be sprayed directly onto the surfaces of the leaves to kill the plant.
Weed Control Tips
Simple ideas to keep weeds away from your lawn or garden
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.
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. Whiteheads on dandelions or rows of ball-shaped seeds on pigweed mean that the plant is already in the germination stage, and it may be spreading. If you don’t have time to dig up the plant, chop off its head with a lawnmower 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.
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.
Natural weed killer
Control weeds without damaging your plants or the environment
With federal regulations clamping down on many toxic pesticides and weed killers, it is becoming more difficult to find chemical weed killers on the market. And even the ones still available for personal use aren’t necessarily safe for every situation.
Out of concern for the water supply, surrounding plants, and their own health, many gardeners are turning to natural weed killers as an effective solution.
Commercial natural weed killers
Some companies have released natural weed killers for sale in the hopes of appealing to the market of environmentally conscious gardeners. Most natural weed killers available in stores are based on herbal solutions. Many are concocted from corn gluten, which is a natural substance that inhibits the growth of weeds while fertilizing the soil.
If you purchase a natural weed killer from the greenhouse or store, read the directions carefully. Because these products are natural, they shouldn’t cause harm to you or your pets, but they may need to be applied carefully to prevent residual damage to the rest of your lawn or garden.
Home solutions for natural weed killers
Resourceful gardeners who are struggling to beat the weed problem often turn to home remedies and natural solutions to kill weeds without investing money in commercial solutions. The following substances are known to be “natural weed killers” and may be worth a try. Give these solutions a try before using chemicals as a last resort.
poured or sprayed over invasive plants such as moss will kill them off. Make sure to keep it away from any plants you wish to keep.
sprinkled onto soil will kill any living plants. However, don’t try this if you’re planning on planting in the area in the future, because the salt will stay in the soil. It is a good choice for weeds that spring up in driveway or sidewalk cracks.
applied once a day for three days will cause weeds to wilt up and die. For best results, pull the dead weed while it is wet; this will make it easier to take up the entire root without leaving some in the soil.
(about 1 teaspoon) mixed with 1 liter of water makes a good solution for killing weeds. It will also kill other plants, so spray carefully.
Natural weed control tips
Preventing weeds from growing in the first place is the best way to care for your garden or lawn. Rather than purchasing expensive and damaging chemical weed inhibitors, try these simple natural ideas.
Cover the ground around your garden plants with sheet plastic, ground tarps or even newspaper. Stake the cover down with sticks. You may have to reach beneath it to water the plant. The cover will prevent weeds from settling in the soil and taking root.
A thick layer of mulch around your plants will fertilize the soil and keep weeds from digging in. Live mulches are becoming increasingly popular among gardeners and are completely natural and healthy for your plants.
Using a natural method of weed control is a great way to keep your plants healthy without doing harm to your surrounding environment. If you have children or pets that play on the lawn, you should absolutely try to avoid using chemicals of any kind; many weed killers on the market today are more harmful than most of us realize. Weeds are nothing more than plants that are growing in the wrong place, and there’s no need for harsh chemical solutions to get rid of them. As in most cases, the most natural and simplest solution is usually the best.
Weed Killers Review
Choosing the right one to treat your lawn or garden
Weed killers are available in all varieties. As a gardener or homeowner, you may wonder how to choose the right one to care for weeds in your vegetable garden or front lawn. The truth is, weed killers can do more damage than good if they’re not used correctly, so it’s important to do some research.
The following weed killers have been chosen because they’re ideal for home use. Read the information carefully, and if you decide to purchase a weed killer make sure to follow all directions to the letter. Taking a few precautions will help protect you as well as your plants and environment.
Common weed killers
This non-selective weed killer is available in concentrated or ready-to-use forms. It is usually sold under the brand names Roundup and Kleenup and is often referred to as “weed and grass killer.” Because it is non-selective, it will kill anything in its path and should not be used on lawns. If you’re spraying weeds in the garden, do so on a calm day or use a piece of cardboard to shield other plants from spray-over. Glyphosate kills weeds to the root, versus some weed killers that simply kill the visible part of the plant.
Products containing glyphosate neutralize upon contact with the ground, making them safe for soil.
The chemical called diquat is usually sold under the brand name Weedol (in the UK) and Reglone in the United States. Diquat works more quickly than glyphosate and is designed for killing small weeds that grow inside of shrubs because it does not harm woody stems. It will kill grass and is known to pollute drinking water, so check local regulations before use.
Diquat is most commonly used on potatoes and cotton. It does not attack the roots of a plant and so, is not helpful against perennial weeds.
Brush-B-Gon and other types of brush killer are common examples of the chemical triclopyr. This weed killer is designed for use on woody or broadleaf plants, such as unwanted shrubs or bushes. It does not harm grass but can do damage to other, desirable bushes, so an application should be done with care. This weed killer should be applied to foliage or cut stems so that it can work its way down to the roots.
Trimec is a hormone identical to that created by leaves as they grow. When applied to the leaves of a weed, trimec confuses the plant to death. This chemical targets broadleaf weeds such as crabgrass and does not harm regular grass. It should be used with care to make sure it doesn’t float onto surrounding trees or shrubbery that you don’t want to kill. Most products containing this chemical have a name that contains it, such as Gordon’s Trimec Weed and Feed.
Choosing a chemical weed killer can be difficult, but your best defense against residual damage to your plants is reading the label. Check out the instructions on the weed killer thoroughly, and read the active ingredients to see what kind of chemical you’re buying.
Regardless of what type of weed killer you’re using, the safety precautions will remain mostly the same. Wear long sleeves and gloves when handling weed killer, and a protective mask if the chemical is in a liquid form that may create spray-back. Keep children and pets away from the area until the weed killer is completely dry. Store all chemicals in a safe area on a high shelf, and make sure lids are tightly closed.
Don’t forget to check local regulations before using any type of weed killer.