If you have a flower garden or vegetable garden, weeds always seem to find a way to grow. Even when other plants are struggling, weeds will grow without moisture, or when there is too much moisture.
Weeds can rob your good plants of moisture and valuable nutrients that they need to grow. So how can you get rid of the weeds without harming your plants? In this article, we will take a look at several ways to do just that.
Pull Them Out
Don a pair of gardening gloves and start pulling each weed out. If the weeds are small, you can pull them out with one hand. Grasp them close to the soil and give a quick pull. For taller weeds, you will probably have to use both hands. These do not pull out quickly, because they usually have a vast system of underground roots. Pull them more slowly and most if not all of the root system will come up also.
Sometimes the weeds do not pull easily or the stems may break off. If this is the case, water the area first. Start at the back of the garden and water. Pull those weeds out and then work your way back. If you water the entire garden area and then go out to pull the weeds, you will tramp the soil down. This makes the soil hard, almost like clay.
Apply a Pre-emergent Herbicide
If the spring season is just beginning, apply a pre-emergent herbicide to the soil. This herbicide is safe to use around your flowers and plants. A pre-emergent herbicide prevents the weed seeds from germinating. Always read and follow directions on the label. It gives you the right amount to use, along with instructions on how to apply it over the ground.
Apply a Post-emergent Herbicide
If the weeds are already growing, then spray the area with either a selective herbicide or a post-emergent herbicide. Choose one that is safe to use around the plants you want weeded. If you are unsure which type to buy, talk to the professional at the garden center, or to your local county extension agent. Just as you did with the pre-emergent, always read and follow directions.
Mulch the Area
Place a 2 to 4-inch layer of mulch over the ground. There are many different types of mulch that you can use. Grass, leaves, straw are all organic forms of mulch. You can lay some newspaper over the soil between the plants. The newspaper will break down through the season. Use at least 8 or more pages thick. Water it down to keep it in place. You can also place rocks or bricks on the corners to keep the wind from blowing it away. If it is a new garden area, you can lay down a cloth that is designed to be used in the garden. It allows rain or water to flow through, but weeds cannot penetrate.
The best defense against weeds is to constantly keep after them. Unfortunately you never really win the battle against the weeds, but you can reduce their numbers.
“Great Green Book of Garden Secrets”; Jerry Baker; 2000