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Ways to Keep Weeds out of Your Lawn and Garden

Many gardeners are turning to more organic and natural weed control ways to deal with weeds, even though it requires more labor, because there is so much controversy around the use of chemical weed killers, especially those that contain glyphosate. Here are several methods to eliminate weeds that don’t involve using harmful pesticides.

NATURAL WEED KILLERS:

Post-emergent herbicides hunt down and eliminate weeds in growth. They can be purchased in granular form, which is soaked into the soil, and penetrates through the roots, or in spray form, which enters through the foliage.

Post-emergent formulations are in two different varieties:

  • On perennial weeds, systemic formulations that absorb straight into the plant work well.
  • Contact formulations, which work better on annual plants or smaller weeds and only kill the exposed portion of the plant,

Acetic acid, citric acid, clove and/or citrus oils, among other chemicals, are the main components of the majority of organic herbicides. Others, depending on iron content, such as Iron X, are more effective against broadleaf weeds like creeping Charlie than they are against grasses.

NATURAL WEED PREVENTERS:

Pre-emergent herbicides have an effect on the weed seeds and prevent them from germinating, but they have no effect on weeds that are already present. The majority of natural pre-emergents, which are available in granular, pellet, and liquid forms, are manufactured from maize gluten meal. Pre-emergents can be effective weed preventives if you’re primarily focusing on annual weeds like crabgrass, henbit, chickweed, or purslane and you apply them at the appropriate time of year. Make sure the product you are using is safe to use with the kind of grass you have and that it kills the specific weeds you are aiming for by reading labels carefully. Pre-emergent weed control should not be used when you are currently sowing new grass seed or will be doing so soon because certain pre-emergents can last months.

There are selective and non-selective herbicide choices available for each herbicide category (post-emergent or pre-emergent). Specific weeds are the target of selective treatments, which do not harm other weeds or plants. Non-selective treatments harm both healthy and unhealthy plants that they come into touch with. Keep in mind that “organic” or “natural” doesn’t always equate to “safe for kids and pets” when using any form of pesticide. Read labels, take care with all items, and adhere to directions.

DIY WEED SPRAYS:

You can kill some weeds using a homemade solution of salt, vinegar, and dish detergent, but you should only apply it occasionally. Despite their apparent safety and innocence, the components can be damaging to the land. Vinegar can alter the pH of the soil, and too much salt can make the soil hazardous to plants. Additionally, vinegar should not be used in the vicinity of amphibians (such as frogs, toads, etc.) due to potential injury.

SEARCH AND PULL:

In order to successfully remove weeds by hand, it’s important to obtain all of their roots, especially with perennial weeds because any leftover roots might cause them to spread and grow again. The task is made simpler by hand tools and stand-up weeders. You will definitely see benefits if you combine some sweat equity with other techniques.

HEALTHY LAWN AND MULCH:

Keeping a robust, healthy lawn may make weeds too difficult to control. After carefully hand weeding flowerbeds, adding a thick layer of mulch can help stop weeds from reseeding. Bark chips, wood chips, hulls or bean shells, leaves, or straw can all be used as different types of mulch.

Healthy lawn advice: Lawns with frequent, light watering grow shallow roots, which weaken them and make them vulnerable to weed invasion. Less regularly, but more completely and deeply, water the yard.

Mulch advice: Cedar mulch breaks down more slowly than other types of bark or wood mulch and naturally repels insects.

PLANTATION FABRIC:

Seeds are prevented from reaching the soil by a thick weed control or landscape fabric. As seeds that are hiding behind the cloth may still manage to climb up and out, either around the edges or via holes formed when inserting plants, make sure to perform a thorough weeding or solarization (see below) first. When used alone, it lacks aesthetic appeal, but you can add a layer of mulch to give it that charm.
Even if seeds do find a place to live and sprout in the mulch, the fabric will prevent the roots from setting down strong roots, making them simple to pull out. Use stakes or landscape fabric staples to anchor fabric.

Plant a fast-growing groundcover, such as creeping phlox, creeping thyme, or dragon’s blood sedum, to compete with weeds for soil and water.

SOIL SOLARIZATION:

Using this technique will help you reclaim an area that weeds have overrun. It is an organic, environmentally friendly technique that “cooks” the weeds and their seeds with the heat of the sun. Additionally, it will eliminate other soil-based creatures like insects, fungi, and bacteria. Before replanting this region, it is a good idea to work in some compost because this method can’t distinguish between harmful and beneficial species.

  • Remove all garbage and plants from the area.Till weed roots out, then rake them out to make a flat surface.
  • 6 inches of water should be added to the soil.
  • One to four mil painter’s plastic (1 to 4 mil works wonderfully) should be used to completely enclose the area. Avoid using white or black plastic since they don’t transmit enough heat to the soil.
  • Place cinder blocks or bricks to hold the plastic’s edges down or bury it all the way around the border of the space.
  • During the warmest portion of the summer, remain in situ for 4 to 8 weeks.
  • Before planting, remove the plastic and cover with garden cloth. To prevent dirt from covering the fabric, carefully clip the holes.
  • Advice: To allow the soil to continuously produce steam that kills the weed seeds, this method performs best on soils that retain moisture. Lay drip lines or a soaker hose under the plastic when solarizing soil that is dry or sandy, and water frequently. Pay attention to how much water beads up on the plastic’s underside in the morning. It’s time to add water when it starts to diminish.

HEAT:

The weed can be killed by quickly passing a specialized flame torch over its foliage, just long enough to burn the tissues. Flame weeding works best on annual weeds since it only destroys the surface-level plant and leaves the roots unharmed. When applied to perennial plants, they frequently quickly regenerate from the roots left behind. When applied to immature weeds growing in cracks or sidewalks, this technique can be highly successful. In situations where there is a high risk of fire, use with caution.

Boiling water is another method of applying heat to eliminate weeds. Be cautious with adjacent plants because it will kill any plant growth it touches. Additionally, it will eradicate soil’s helpful creatures.
You might discover that this approach works better at eliminating annual broadleaf weeds than at suppressing perennial weeds. However, it is quite helpful for weeds that are growing in cracks in roads or sidewalks, or between pavers or bricks. When moving and pouring the boiling water, exercise caution.

COMMON WEED TYPES & HOW TO CARE FOR THEM

Similar to other plants, weeds can be classified as either annual or perennial, broadleaf or grassy. You can better control weeds if you know which category you’re going for and how and when to treat them.

  • Annuals are plants that are grown from seeds every year and die at the end of the growing season or from the first frost.
  • Annuals and perennials both reproduce through seeds and roots.

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