We all love our gardens but when I see weeds, it makes me want to pick them immediately. The good news is that when I’m done weeding, I always feel like I’ve accomplished something. And that’s satisfying because my garden looks better! But the bad news is that when I check the time, weeding my garden has taken me much longer than expected.
Weed control in your gardens is an ongoing task and there are no guarantees that the garden will continue to look this tidy.
There are some tried and true weed control activities will help you keep your gardens looking neat and maintained. Follow these five garden weed control tips to get started!
1. Dig into the soil only when necessary
Did you know that every inch of your garden is filled with weed seeds? But only the seeds in the top couple of inches of soil ever get enough sunlight to sprout. When you dig in your garden, you unknowingly bring the deeper seeds to the surface which gives them the proper conditions to grow. So, dig only when it’s necessary and then ensure you put plants or mulch in the opening.
2. Apply a thick layer of mulch
Some people think mulch is used solely to make a garden look aesthetically pleasing. But mulch offers other benefits to your garden. Mulch keeps the soil cool and moist to assist your plants. But mulch works to control weeds by decreasing the amount of light seeds need to sprout. Additionally, dirt is the best place for weed seeds to land and sprout. But if there’s mulch covering the soil, the conditions won’t allow them to germinate.
3. Don’t leave open space in your garden
Open soil in your garden will eventually house weeds. Spacing plants closer together limits open soil. It also reduces the much-needed sunlight weeds need to grow. So the closer you can space your plants, the better for controlling weeds. Whatever the spacing guidelines for plants, plant them a bit closer together. Not only will you control the amount of weeds that will grow, you will also create a wall of color from your annuals.
4. Weed your gardens after rain
The best time to weed your garden is right after rain. Why? Because if you weed during dry conditions the weed’s root often remains stuck in the soil. This root will begin growing again right away. But if you pull weeds after it rains, the soil moves more easily and the roots will come up with less resistance.
5. Don’t water the weeds
Weeds compete with your plants for nutrients, sun, and water. So, the best garden weed control is to avoid watering them. When you water, really focus on watering just your plants. Use a watering can or a nozzle on your hose that controls water to the plant directly and avoid your garden’s open space.
6. Use the right tools
Pulling weeds by hand without the help of tools makes the job harder and you are more likely to leave roots behind. There are many types of weeds and as such, there are many tools that assist with the task. The best tools are those that loosen the soil and extract the weeks.
Our favorite tools are the forked-tip weeder and the three-pronged fork. The forked-tip weeder is best used for rooted weeds like dandelions. The three-pronged fork, both in the long handled version and the hand tool, are best to loosen the soil before pulling the weed. The long handled fork keeps you upright to avoid bending or kneeling. The hand version works best for raised gardens.
7. Consider using a safe, homemade weed control product
So far we have listed manual labor tips on how to control weeds in your gardens. However, there are some homemade remedies that you could try. Salt, boiling water, vinegar, newspaper and garden fabric can help keep weeds under control. Just make sure you are using the right method depending on what you are growing.
Don’t forget you can always contact an expert for advice. They can help you construct your landscape to minimize open space and ultimately weeds in your gardens.