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How to Keep Weeds Under Control In The Garden

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Nothing ruins a beautiful garden like unsightly weeds growing exactly where they do not belong. This article will provide simple tips for ensuring that weeds in your garden do not go unchecked.

  1. Invest in at-home supplies that are toxic to weeds.
  2. Use old materials to cover new dirt and block sunlight.
  3. In dire conditions, consider smothering soil to kill weeds.
  4. Prevent weeds in the first place by buying rich soil and using up all open space.

Table of Contents

Keep reading to find the best methods for using the strategies listed above, and quickly work your way toward a weed-free garden. We will elaborate on everything from the best supplies to use to the science behind the methods.

How to Execute the Most Effective Weeding Strategies

It can be challenging to figure out the best weeding strategy for your garden with many options. Different types of gardens have different needs, and it is essential to use methods that protect your garden and do not harm it in the process.

pictures of weeds

To begin with, many simple at-home supplies double as weed killers. These supplies include salt, bleach, vinegar, vodka, soap, or boiling water. All ingredients mentioned above are poisonous to plants, except for boiling water, which burns them instead. Pouring these supplies over weeds is an easy and efficient way to get rid of weeds quickly.

Use salt to get rid of weeds. But this comes with a caution

Salt is particularly potent when used in soil, but it is essential to use it in moderation, as salt can also kill surrounding plants by contaminating soil. Salt also lingers for a while after being poured, so it may be impossible to plant in that area for a long time.

Besides salt, the liquid ingredients possess the same weed-killing properties as salt, but liquid makes them easier to use.

Methods to get rid of weeds in cracks and crevices

Pouring bleach, vinegar, soap, or vodka into cracks and crevices in driveways is an easy way to eliminate the weeds that tend to sprout up in those spots. Still, it is essential to be careful not to overuse those supplies or use them too close to areas where you have desired plants growing, as they can also be toxic to other plants.

Boiling water is perhaps the best method for controlling weeds in areas where other desired plants grow. While water is not toxic to plants, the heat burns weeds, killing them. Boiling water can still be harmful to all plants, but using it near other plants is safer than other liquids because the ingredients are not toxic.

If some of the hot water spreads away from the weed into other plants’ territory, there is a high probability that the heat, and therefore toxic capabilities, will have dissipated. This renders it harmless to plants a distance away. I wrote a detailed article on boiling water to kill the weed. You can read it here.

It’s best when used away from wanted plants, in driveway crevices, and unused soil plots.
Covering plants with materials, as opposed to poisoning them, is a more controlled way to manage weeds in the vicinity of your garden.

Mulching can get rid of weeds. Here are some things you can use

Materials such as newspaper, mulch, and walnut sawdust can be spread over areas where weeds sprout up, but it is easier to control which parts of the garden are affected. Spreading newspapers or mulch around existing plants prevents weeds from the sunlight without affecting the plant you want to preserve.

The lack of sunlight makes existing weeds wither away and can prevent new ones from sprouting up. Newspaper can be unsightly in gardens, but mulch is an excellent alternative for those who want to keep their garden looking pristine.

While the covering method is slower than poisoning, it is much less toxic to existing plants and gives you more control over which areas to eliminate weeds. Walnut sawdust is a little harder to control, as it contains a property called juglone that is toxic to plants.

As long as you avoid areas where your desired plants are growing, walnut sawdust is a quick fix for removing weeds. Covering is the best way to control weeds sprouting up near plants you want to protect.

Burning weeds with a flame weeder, a glorified blowtorch, is one of the most hardcore and fun ways to eliminate weeds.

While controlling the flame can be pretty difficult, it is a quick way to get rid of weeds. Use caution when wielding anything that shoots fire, especially if you plan to use it near anything else that could catch flame.

Experts advise avoiding using flame weeders anywhere that could start a brush fire, especially near dry foliage or brush or where wildfires are common, such as in Southern California. Still, many opt to use flame weeders because it is easy and quick.

Other ways to remove weeds

In stubborn, difficult areas where weeds refuse to go away, smothering or solarizing the soil is a drastic but effective way to eliminate those pesky, unwanted plants. These methods work best in plots of soil where you are not trying to grow anything else, as it will kill anything in the plot of soil.

Smothering soil involves depriving it of oxygen and killing and preventing weeds from sprouting. To smother soil, you use the covering tactics listed above, but do it over the entire plot. Using materials such as newspaper, carpet, or cardboard to cover the entire plot of soil will deprive it of oxygen and sunlight, making it nearly impossible for weeds to grow there.

On the other hand, solarizing takes a long time and requires the weather to be on your side. Solarizing essentially means you burn all the soil, getting rid of all weeds. To solarize a plot of soil, get it wet and cover it with some plastic cover that traps water vapor and air.

To ensure the cover is airtight, bury the edges and corners in the soil, root it in place, and form a seal. Leave it for 3-6 weeks during the hottest part of summer.

The plastic will deprive the soil of oxygen, and the water vapor will get trapped and form a makeshift sauna that burns weeds. In this hostile environment, weeds will not be able to grow. These methods also preserve the minerals in the soil and do not make it toxic for growing plants in the future.

Therefore, soil that has previously been solarized or smothered is ideal for planting new plants in your garden.
Lastly, you may prevent weeds from sprouting in unwanted places by growing a garden that does not promote weed growth.

Weeds tend to grow in unhealthy soil because they grow where other plants can not—because of this, ensuring that the earth is full of healthy nutrients and minerals for plants is a great way to prevent weed growth while making your garden healthier.

This may seem obvious, but weeds can only crop up where other plants are not growing. Because of this, keeping your garden full of plants of different sizes and varieties prevents weed growth by eliminating the space that weeds have to grow in.

Leaving bare patches of soil encourages weeds to grow and is unsightly. A lush garden full of plants and pine straw or mulch in sparse areas keeps weeds from sprouting and looks a lot better.

Adding compost or organic materials can create ideal soil for gardening. A layer of mulch on top also protects the ground’s nutrients.

I have a video showing proven garden mulch ideas. You can watch it below.

Recognizing When to Weed Gardens

Weeds are easiest to get rid of when they are small, so as soon as you notice small weeds poking up through the dirt, think of when and how you will want to remove them. After seeing weeds sprouting, keep an eye on the weather, waiting for rain or a storm.

Water will make the soil moist and softer than it would be ordinarily. Pulling weeds from moist soil is more accessible than from the dry ground, and since the soil is softer, it is easier to get the entire weed, root included. This helps to keep them from growing back even after you have pulled them.

Why It Is Important to Weed Your Garden

picture of a people picking weeds

Weeds compete with the plants you want for natural resources. When weeds occupy space and use up sunlight and water, that means less water for other plants, and weeds may also block their sunlight.

This can cause your garden to struggle or die, as it may be unable to contend with those wily weeds. This can be especially troublesome when a fruit or vegetable garden provides food for your family or sells.

Overall, weeds make it unnecessarily hard to grow your ideal garden. While a few weeds here or there may not pose a problem initially, weeds reproduce and produce more and more weeds year after year. It can quickly become unmanageable if you do not get ahead of the weed problem.

Not only are weeds pesky and harmful to other plants, but they can also be ugly. Overgrown weeds can make a garden look unkempt or abandoned. Their destructive properties may kill other beautiful plants, and soon the beautiful garden could become a weed wasteland with the shriveled leaves of the plants you tried to grow before.

Maintaining Your Healthy, Weed-Free Garden

Check your healthy garden for weeds regularly to ensure you get ahead of the problem before it becomes a severe issue. Proactively preventing weeds is much easier than controlling the problem once it has spun out of control.

The aforementioned tactics, such as covering with mulch or growing cover crops, can help prevent weed growth. Cover crops are dense, low-lying crops that can take up bare soil and are prone to sprouting weeds.

Conclusion on how to keep weeds under control in the garden

Cover crops are easy to grow and maintain, so once planted, they require very little attention and quickly crowd out weeds and keep weed seeds from sprouting.

Once you have pulled weeds, you can add them to a compost bin to create healthy soil for the next spring. This will create a cycle of keeping your garden healthy by pulling weeds and then putting those weeds to good use.

Suppose you are wondering why weeds grow faster than vegetables. I wrote an article about that. You can read it here.

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