Any gardener knows that maintaining a beautiful, healthy garden or lawn takes time and effort. Ensuring a proper watering schedule, removing dead or dying plants and leaves, using the right amount of fertilizer and much more are all things that need to be considered in maintaining one’s garden. However, probably the most frustrating and sometimes time consuming is effectively controlling and removing weeds. And though one or two weeds may initially seem like no problem, when allowed to accumulate over time, weeds can completely take over your garden and prevent essential nutrients from reaching the plants that need them, potentially ruining months of hard work you may have put into creating a garden you can be proud of. But taking care of pesky weeds doesn’t have to be too difficult if you’re armed with the proper way to control them. Therefore, the following are six essential tips for properly controlling weeds.
Weeds, like any other plant, need nutrients and sunlight to survive. However, if you can smother out a weed for a period of time, it will have no way to getting sunlight and will naturally die out. Mulch is the most effective way to smother out a patch of weeds; and a myriad of different materials can be used as mulch, including but not limited to: wood chips, straw, or pieces of bark. Cardboard or other thick materials can also be used to cover weeds and then have a nice layer of mulch on top for better effectiveness. Organic mulch can also be purchased and used, which is often more effective as it can help sustain cricket populations that can help eat and destroy weed populations.
One thing to remember about mulch is that you should frequently replace existing mulch with a new batch, as older mulch has a greater likelihood to have weed seeds dropped on them by birds or other animals, leading to a re-emergence of weed population.
Don’t Disturb the Soil
Inevitably, your garden will most likely have weed seeds laced into the soil that just haven’t erupted yet. These “latent” weed seeds aren’t a problem until the soil is disturbed and proper sunlight is able to reach the seeds. However, if you restrain from digging up patches of soil in your garden frequently, you’re less likely to trigger weeds from growing; digging only few areas of your garden and only when you absolutely need to can help prevent many dormant weeds from growing.
This also applies to when you’re in the process of removing already present weeds. Rather than using a rake or digging up weeds, cutting the roots with a thin blade can minimize the amount of soil being moved around.
Know When to Pull Out Weeds
Many weeds have branching root structures, helping them to cling onto soil extremely tightly and making your job that much harder in terms of removing them. Weeds that are rooted into dry soil are almost impossible to pull out by hand and instead would require a heavier duty tool. However, after an extended period of rain, weeds can be easily pulled out by hand with a sharp tug.
Weeds that are pulled out can be properly reused as composting, but there are most likely seeds laced throughout the pulled weeds so directly using the batch as compost can be problematic. However, most gardeners will throw the weeds into pot and heat them up to kill all the seeds, allowing the remaining “dead” leaves to be used as compost.
Plants Should be Close Together
Weeds will normally sprout up in nooks and crannies in between already present plants. However, if you plant your plants close together to prevent these gaps from being present, weeds will have very few places to take root.
A thing to note is that some plants will naturally require more space than others, but usual garden plants and flowers can be successfully planted close together with no problems. If you’re unsure whether your plant needs more space, read up on their planting guidelines.
Water the Plants that Matter
Like any other plant, weeds need water, and if you deprive them of this essential thing, they will inevitably die out rather quickly. This also means that you should maintain your soil and prevent it from becoming overly moist, especially after period of heavy rain. Including a proper irrigation or drainage system can divert excess water away from your garden or can be collected in a separate container to be used on plants that you want to sustain.
Cut off Heads of Weeds
If you need a bit more time before you go full force into removing all the weeds, cutting of the heads of certain weeds will help prevent re-seeding and spread of already existing weed populations. Also, in most instances, this can also force the weeds to use up all their nutrients and energy and can eventually lead them to wilt and die.
Tackling a Specific Weed
One of the most common weeds to be found in one’s garden or backyard is the Creeping Charlie, and what makes it so difficult to get rid of is the fact that every node if left in the soil can grow into another Creeping Charlie. Needless to say, careful and meticulous removal of the weed is required to ensure your yard doesn’t have a re-emergence.
Another distinctive feature of creeping charlies is that though it can practically grow in any amount of sunlight, they prefer to take root in areas of shade. If dealing with creeping charlies, it is best to get rid of sources of shade, possibly cutting down trees in your yard or removing overhead awnings, providing less shade for Creeping Charlies to take advantage of.
No one likes to see weeds in their backyard, and removing them can be quite frustrating if you’re unsure of what to do. However, by having the proper tools and strategies, you’ll soon find yourself saying goodbye to these nuisances in no time. Also, before tackling weeds like the Creeping Charlie, research how certain weeds grow and the environments they prefer. Knowing what to look out for can make the process much easier.