They’re the boils on the neck of every serious gardener. Yep, you guessed it: weeds. Throughout the ages, we’ve tried everything we can do to get rid of them. We’ve pulled. We’ve dug. We’ve sprayed. We’ve mulched. We’ve applied pre-emergents and planted gardens in raised beds. Yet somehow or another, we always end up fighting the same battle. If you want to keep weeds to a minimum — and what gardener doesn’t — here are 6 things you need to know about weed control.
1. Go Easy on the Digging
Did you know that your garden is full of weed seeds, but only the top 2 inches or so will ever get enough light to start growing? For this reason, you need to keep digging to a minimum. Every time you dig, you let light in. The weed seeds you stir up toward the surface are now free to germinate. So only dig when and where you have to, and always mulch right afterward.
2. Make Weeding Easier
To make pulling weeds easier, it’s important to keep after them while they’re small. Obviously they pull out easier this way, but weeding will be even easier when the ground is damp. Aim to pull weeds a couple of times per week, and you’ll spend a lot less time doing it than if you wait longer between sessions.
3. Off With Their Heads
When you’re in a time crunch or aren’t able to pull weeds by the roots, at least cut off the heads where the seeds are. You’ll keep those seeds from raining down and becoming the next generation of hassle.
4. Smother ‘Em
If you have a large patch of ground that’s full of weeds and you want to be able to plant your garden there, try smothering the weeds with clear plastic. It’s called soil solarization (say that 5 times fast!), and it’s super effective at killing those pesky weeds.
5. Water Wisely
Watering only around your beloved plants with a drip system can help concentrate irrigation just where you need it. When you water an entire area — even the spots between plants you want to keep — you’re also watering the weeds.
6. Mulch Like Crazy
Mulch will not only help retain moisture for plants and flowers, but will also help prevent much of your weed problem. After pulling existing weeds, spread a thick layer of mulch. You can use commercially prepared much, leaves, even straw.
Manage your mulch with this Bless My Weeds article:
How to Use Mulch to Manage Your Soil
Get the Dirt on Different Kinds of Mulch