best way to prevent weeds from growing

You can get in-depth information on drip irrigation from the Irrigation and Green Industry Network in the “Where to Find It” section.

Any weeds that grow through mulch are easy to pull because the soil remains loose. Photo by Saxon Holt.

Yes, you can. Synthetic landscape fabrics provide a physical barrier to weeds yet allow air, water and nutrients through to plant roots. Spread the fabric over bare soil around trees and shrubs; overlap several inches of fabric at the seams. Anchor the material with U-shaped metal pins, then conceal it with 1 to 2 in. of mulch, such as stone or bark chips.

In the process of trying to eliminate weeds, people often make mistakes that lead to more weeds. Here are the most common:

This Preemergence herbicide, made from corn gluten, is nontoxic. You can safely use it near all of your vegetables as well as around ornamental plants. Photo by Saxon Holt.

Apply Preemergence Herbicides.

Tips on how to keep weeds out of the garden, add the right amount of mulch over weeds, and 6 mistakes to avoid to keep your garden weed-free.

True Temper Hardware Box 8859 Camp Hill, PA 17011 800/393-1846 Scuffle hoe.

Weeds can’t survive without moisture. In areas with little or no summer rain, drip irrigation or soaker hoses help prevent weed seeds from sprouting by depriving them of water. These systems deliver water to the root zone of plants at the soil level. The soil surface and area surrounding the plants stays relatively dry. In contrast, overhead sprinkler systems spray water over the entire soil surface and supply both garden plants and weeds with water.

(For those of you who already have weeds attacking your yard, read our article on How to Get Rid of Weeds.)

Check the label to determine if it is safe for use around the kinds of landscape plants you have and effective against the weeds normally present.

Left unattended, weeds will quickly fill in unplanted areas and any open ground around plants. Mulch spread over the soil surface blocks the sunlight most annual weeds need to take hold. Weeds that do sprout are easy to pull because soil beneath mulch remains loose and moist. Coarse chipped or shredded bark is a good choice for large areas between trees and shrubs because it decomposes slowly and doesn’t easily blow away. For paths, a thick layer of sawdust provides good weed suppression because it depletes nitrogen in the soil.

Frequent, light watering causes shallow roots and helps annual bluegrass, crabgrass, chickweed, sedges and other weed seeds germinate. If you water too little, the lawn suffers while spotted spurge, Bermuda grass, quackgrass and other weeds adapted to drier soil thrive. Instead, provide your lawn with infrequent, deep soakings. Lawns need about 1 inch of water per week. Set an empty tuna can on the lawn to determine when you have applied 1 inch of water.

As with most types of prevention, discouraging weed seeds from sprouting requires some extra time now so you can save a lot of time later.

Mowing too low weakens turf by reducing the ability of a grass leaf to produce enough nutrients. It also lets light hit the soil surface, which helps crabgrass and goosegrass seeds sprout and grow. Check with your local extension service for the recommended range of mowing heights for your grass type. Then mow at the highest level—usually between 2 and 4 inches.

Deprive Weeds of Water.

Denman & Co. 401 W. Chapman Ave. Orange, CA 92866 714/639-8106 Ball weeder.

Preemergence herbicides, such as those containing oryzalin or trifluralin (look on the label for these chemicals), or nontoxic corn gluten meal, kill weeds just as they germinate and will not eradicate established weeds. For a preemergence herbicide to be effective, you must apply it to soil cleared of visible weeds; also, you have to water most of these herbicides into the soil.

A single redroot pigweed is able to produce up to 30,000 seeds in a season. And those seeds can remain alive in the soil for 70 years waiting to sprout and overrun your perennial border at any time.

Too little fertilizer can lead to sparse lawn that loses the competition with weeds. Too much helps nurture certain weeds, notably annual bluegrass, Bermuda grass and crabgrass. Strike a balance by following the application rates on the package. And use a fertilizer with a high percentage of controlled-release nitrogen, such as sulfur-coated urea, ureaform or IBDU. These provide a slow, steady nutrient supply.

Think it’s an overstatement to call it the war against weeds? Here’s what you’re up against.

Raindrip Inc. 2250 Agate Ct. Simi Valley, CA 93065 877/237-3747 Request the free “Drip Watering Made Easy” guide.

Water Grass Infrequently and Deeply.

You can also use landscape fabrics to control weeds under decks and in pathways (spread over the excavated soil base before you add gravel or sand). A 3×50-ft. roll of landscape fabric, such as the Typar shown below, costs about $10. The fabric is also available in 36-in. die-cut circles (about $3 each) for installing at the base of trees.

Spread Landscape fabric and cut it to fit around plants. Photo by Saxon Holt.

The frequency and timing of your fertilizing efforts are also crucial to healthy lawns. Both vary depending on your lawn type and the length of your growing season. Most northern lawns need only one or two applications of fertilizer annually—once in fall and sometimes a second time in spring. Southern grasses might require three feedings—early to mid-spring just after the grass greens up, early summer and again in early fall.

Photo by Saxon Holt.

Irrigation & Green Industry Network 916C N. Formosa Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90046 323/878-0318.

Controlling weeds is a fight you can’t win entirely because they always grow back. But you can keep weeds under control by depriving new ones of the conditions they need to take root in the first place. Let’s look at how to prevent weeds from growing.

Lee Valley Tools Ltd. Box 1780 Ogdensburg, NY 13669-6780 800/871-8158 Telescoping Crack Weeder.

A weed is technically just a plant in the wrong place. It could be an unwanted seedling from another plant, or something more pernicious and invasive that you really want to eradicate. However, while you’ll never be able to completely stop weeds from popping up, there are ways to ensure they have less places to grow.

Most weeds are easy to eradicate if spotted early enough and can be controlled without the use of chemicals.

Bare patches of soil will quickly be colonised by both annual and perennial weeds, so a well-stocked border is less likely to support a thriving population of these pesky plants. If you have gaps in your borders, plug them by planting ground covering plants.

About weeds.

Annual weed seeds can survive for years in the soil, waiting for the perfect conditions to grow. They germinate at lower temperatures than most garden plants and can grow and set seed very quickly. It’s important to recognise them at the seedling stage, so you can eliminate them without accidentally removing your flower or vegetable seedlings.

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Bare soil.

At the end of the season, your garden should be cleaned and mulched so she is not left bare all winter. This will ensure fewer weeds and healthier soil, not to mention a garden that is ready for planting, come spring.

An old Chinese proverb says “The best fertilizer is the shadow of the gardener” . How true, we can’t know what is going on if we are not there. Weeding is a good way to visit our plants regularly.

When you are growing an organic garden , you don’t need just one tool, you need a weed control plan!

I try not to till at all, although there are times you must. I suggest that, if you do, you cover those tilled areas with a tarp and kill the weeds that you just brought to the surface.

Bonus) One of my favorite ways to get rid of weeds at the end of the season is to let my ducks and chickens into the garden area. They will clean up all the weeds and remove many of the bugs that are overwintering to save you that headache too. All while adding a little extra fertilizer. Ducks and chickens can be great garden helpers.

Don’t Forget To Put Your Garden To Bed.

However, weeds play an important part in nature. First of all, soil is modest. She likes to be covered. Or so says homesteader Justin Rhodes.

11) Water the plants you want, not the weeds – Weeds need three things to grow. Light, heat, and water. You can’t do much about the heat in your garden, but you can control the light and heat. By using drip irrigation or a soaker hose, you can water where your vegetables are, and at the same time discourage the weeds from germinating. An added bonus is you can add a timer so you never forget to water. Your plants will love you.

Using chemicals to get rid of weeds can throw off your whole soil structure. There are a few classes of herbicides that actually poison the soil and will not let wide-leaved plants (like beans and tomatoes) grow in that soil for years if not decades.

I’m sure there are better things all of us could be doing besides weeding our gardens.

A weed is any unwanted plant growing in your garden. Weeds are just plants that have been planted by nature.

5) Plant In Blocks So Plants Shade Out Weeds – If you plant in thin rows, only a tiny area is shaded. However, if you plant close together in blocks the plants will shade out most of the weeds. This will cut down on your weeds tremendously.

Using a tarp to cover your garden 30 days (longer if you can) before planting will kill off most of the weeds.

8) Fire – We all know fire kills plants. But what if you could target just the plants you wanted to kill. A propane torch is a great way to place the fire right where you need it. And Red Dragon flame weeder has a nozzle that makes it easy to use without bending over at all. It makes quick easy work of even the biggest garden.

Organic weed control is not only possible, but you will also find with a little effort at the start, it will make your garden both a place of beauty and a safe place for you and your family to grow the bounty for your table.

When you are practicing organic weed control, you know the plant you pick will be free from herbicides and pesticides.

No More Weeds – Naturally.

What is a weed control plan? It’s a year-round plan that starts before you put the first seed in the ground and ends when you put your garden to bed, by preparing for the next spring. With a weed control plan in place, your weeding chores will become less and less as each year passes.

There are a few things to know about weeds:

Note: Just be careful that things are watered well or you have a hose nearby, so you don’t set your whole backyard on fire.

The best way to organic weed control is proper planning and following through on that plan. Your garden will produce more food, with less time and effort and you will be enjoying a bounty of wonderful vegetables, herbs, and flowers, with hardly a weed in sight.

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10) Solarize – before your season or after, you can place black plastic on your well-watered, prepared beds. The plastic will keep sunlight out and the water will steam. This results in weeds dying. Weed seeds dying. And solarizing kills off some fungi and diseases too. It is also one of the most effective ways of controlling nematodes for the home gardener. Clear plastic lets in more heat which is better for the nematodes, but black plastic is better for the weeds.

Every garden is going to have a few weeds here and there. But after a few years, your weed pressures will diminish, and you will simply get to enjoy growing tons of tasty edibles and beautiful plants.

Learning How To Control And Manage Your Garden Weeds.

Two extra reasons for using cardboard, the activity of garden critters (the good kind) love to live under cardboard. Beneficials such as earthworms and fungi will love you. Also, the use of cardboard as mulch is permitted by NOP (National Organic Program Standards) Bonus!

But, when you are trying to grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers, they can steal precious resources from your plants and not allow them the space they need to spread out and grow properly.

Buckwheat (which my ducks love), millet, and sorghum are good choices for hot weather. In cooler weather, crimson clover, Austrian peas (great in salads), tillage radish, winter wheat, and mustard are great choices.

If you’re a new gardener—or you’re working in a new or neglected space—the first season will be the toughest. Start small and stick with it. I assure you the time you put in now will be time well spent.

They will make quick work of removing your cover-crops too so your garden is ready to plant.

Here are some simple steps to help you with the best way to weed:

6) Vinegar – Plants don’t like vinegar. You can put vinegar into a spray bottle and using a dog cone to isolate the weed you wish to get rid of, spray just the weed. The vinegar will kill it clear down to the root, though you may need to reapply to kill the very strong and persistent weeds. Make sure it doesn’t get on your prize tomato plant though as it doesn’t discriminate between the plants you like and the plants you don’t.

2) Mulch – Straw, hay, wood chips, grass clippings, leaves, and pine needles. Make sure you put down a nice thick layer. This helps keep away weeds, moderates temperatures, holds in moisture, limits evaporation, and reduces splash on plant leaves keeping them cleaner and reducing fungi. As a bonus mulch naturally composts in place putting humus back into the soil.