15 Ways to Keep Weeds from Growing in Your GardenApril 28, 2013 | in Housekeeping
Cultivating and maintaining a garden, whether ornamental or edible, can be a relaxing and rewarding hobby. Watching plants that you’ve nurtured and carefully chosen begin to thrive in your garden is a joy, but there are some unwelcome guests that are eager to crash your garden party. Weeds are persistent and difficult to get rid of, and can spoil the look of an ornamental garden altogether. These 15 tips can help you keep the weeds at bay.
- Remove Weeds as They Appear – It’s tempting to put off the chore of weeding until the weekend, but a few days of growth can give those weeds quite a foothold. Remove them as they appear to maintain some semblance of control.
- Install Black Plastic Under Topsoil – A layer of black plastic under topsoil that you’ve brought in can prevent weeds in your lawn from growing into flower beds and vegetable gardens. Just be sure that you supply plenty of soil to support healthy root growth of the plants you want.
- Apply Mulch – Mulch is a gardener’s best friend. It helps to retain moisture, prevent soil erosion and block weed growth.
- Use Intensive Planting Methods – Choosing plants that are tolerant to crowding and planting them close together will make it difficult for weeds to thrive, as there won’t be enough space for their root systems.
- Apply Herbicides – If you’re not planning to eat anything from your garden, commercially-available chemical herbicides can kill weeds. There are some herbicides that can be used on vegetable gardens, but you should be sure to check the labels carefully.
- Use Weed-Free Soil – Bringing in bagged soil is a great alternative when the existing soil isn’t ideal for gardening, but you should always make sure that you’re choosing sterilized soil that’s clearly marked as “weed free.”
- Make Cover Crops Work for You – Cover crops like clover and vetch can act as a natural barrier against weeds, preventing their growth altogether.
- Install a Drip Irrigation System – While a sprinkler provides much-needed water to everything in your garden, including the weeds, a drip irrigation system will only water the plants that you want to grow. In dry climates, this can be quite effective at preventing weed growth.
- Use a Weed Prevention Product – There are chemical weed prevention products on the market that come in granule form that will stop weeds from germinating. They may not be ideal for all gardens, but they’re effective.
- Look for Double-Duty Products – Some fertilizers also contain chemicals that inhibit weed growth. Choosing products that do double duty will reduce the amount of work you have to do while supporting a healthy, weed-free garden.
- Prevent Seeding – A weed that seeds on the other side of your lawn can cause growth in the garden, as many seeds are carried on the wind and can move quite a distance. Be on the lookout for weeds in other parts of your property and remove them.
- Compost Carefully – When you compost for fertilizer, the temperature of your compost heap may not be high enough to kill any weed seeds in the mixture. Make sure that you’re not introducing weeds to the compost heap by tossing them in as you pull them out of the ground.
- Mind the Gaps – Just as a weed yards away from your garden can cause trouble, so can those pesky ones that grow in the gaps of walkways. Sprinkling a healthy dose of baking soda, salt or even borax can kill those weeds, preventing their proliferation throughout your garden.
- Know What You’re Dealing With – A weed is really just a plant that’s growing where you don’t want it to, which encompasses a wide range of plant life. Knowing the specific type of weeds that you’re battling can help you tailor your approach accordingly, so read up on your weeds.
- Watch for Hitchhikers – Potted plants from a garden center or nursery are much more convenient than those you start from seed, but weeds can take root in those pots, too. Be sure that anything you transplant is something you want, and avoid the introduction of undesirable shoots that might be lurking on the perimeter of the pot.
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