Weeds in a garden or in a grassy lawn are a gardener’s worst nightmare. Beginning with the springtime when new flowers are blooming and remaining rampant throughout the summer season, weeds take up space, time, energy and the beauty of the flowers themselves. By working with the weeds to discover what kind of plant is at stake instead of blowing through them with harsh chemicals or backbreaking labor, the removal process will become much more effective. Information is an important part of weed eradication, as is prevention. Here are some tips to help prevent and remove weeds in the yard or garden.
In order to get rid of these pesky plants, the first step is identifying the type of weed, as there are two main categories: grassy and broad leaf weeds. After identifying the type of weed, use this information to learn if the weed is a perennial or annual. Perennials will come back every year, while the annuals will die off this season, just as with flowers and other plants. Also as the name of the weed is identified, the gardener can learn to spot these weeds when they first sprout from the soil, setting them apart from flowers or other valuable plants to be removed before they bloom and release their seeds spawning even more of themselves.
Prevention is the Best Medicine
First, as the spring season begins, work the soil by tilling or shoveling up all plant life and grasses from the affected area. By turning the soil over and removing all root systems, the weeds have a poor shot from the get go. Then place a polyethylene sheet that can be purchased from a local gardening or home improvement store over the fresh soil. Secure the sheeting and leave in place for one month. In that time, through a process called soil solarization the sun will cook and kill off any seedlings or sprouts from any plant.
Second, as the new plants, seeds, and bulbs are set in the ground, use landscaping fabric purchased at a landscaping supply store to form a blanket around the plants that are wanted to grow. Cut a hole large enough for the plant to grow through without strain.
Third, distribute some sort of mulch over the fabric to provide a nice ground cover, fertilizer, and extended protection against unwanted and pesky weeds. There are several types of mulch: organic compost, pine straw, tree bark, river rock, sand, or newspaper. Each of these types have their benefits and drawbacks, and choosing a mulch can depend more on availability and budget.
The final step is to actually deal with weeds after they have taken root. The laboring task of physically manhandling the weeds may be the next option, if they have made their way past the fabric and mulch. When pulling up weeds use a trowel, or a small garden tool that resembles a mini-shovel with a pointed end, to dig below the roots of the plant. Anytime weeds are pulled out of the ground the root system has to come with it or the work will be in vain as the weeds will shoot right back up in the next few days. Using a trowel also speeds up the production time of weed pulling as this tool loosens the dirt and takes stress away from the hand and fingertips. Wearing gloves is always a good idea since some weeds have thorns or splinters to prevent invaders from removing their stems.
If the weeds are too overbearing, herbicides are the next and final option. These chemicals come in two main forms, hazardous and organic. Hazardous herbicides include Roundup and Vantage, and must be used with caution according to the directions. Organic herbicidal options include corn gluten, distilled vinegar, AllDown or Matran, and even though they are organic, they must be used with caution as well since they will kill any plant they touch.
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