How to Control Weeds

Three Methods:Preventing Weeds From GrowingUsing Cultural ControlsUsing Chemical Controls

Weeds are the unwanted plants that grow in our garden or lawn. Weeds typically have an abundant seed production, are resilient, and can spread at a high rate. Worldwide, there are approximately 8,000 species of weeds, which can make it incredibly hard for you to keep your garden or lawn free of them.[1] Luckily, by taking precautionary measures and killing weeds at their source, you can keep your garden and lawn weed free.

Method 1
Preventing Weeds From Growing

  1. Image titled Control Weeds Step 1
    Refrain from disturbing the soil. Heavy digging and cultivation can cause weed seeds to come to the surface and begin growing. Only disturb the soil when you have to, so that you don’t inadvertently raise weed seeds.[2]
    • Weed seeds can lay dormant under the soil for years.[3]
    • Hoeing or tilling in weed prone areas may inadvertently bring up dormant weed seeds in the process.[4]
  2. Image titled Control Weeds Step 2
    Sprinkle weed prone sidewalks with salt. If you are having an issue with weeds growing in between cracks in a walkway or sidewalk, try using salt to prevent future weed growth. Be warned that salt will also kill other vegetation in the area, so make sure to use it only in spots that are weed prone.
    • Amine salt is a good solution for killing weeds and can be combined with water in a spray bottle for easier application.[5]
    • Borax is another, more caustic solution to killing weeds in small cracks. Make sure to use gloves when handling it.[6]
  3. Image titled Control Weeds Step 3
    Maintain a thick and healthy lawn. Weeds like to grow in open areas that are abundant in nutrients and minerals. You can prevent them by maintaining a thick and healthy lawn that has grass and other lawn plants to compete with weeds that may want to grow in the area.
    • Keeping your lawn fertilized will promote healthy growth for all plants on your lawn or garden bed.[7]
    • Reseeding lawns in the fall will promote healthy grass growth next season because many weeds die late in the fall, and the grass seeds will have less to compete with.[8]

Method 2
Using Cultural Controls

  1. Image titled Control Weeds Step 4
    Use mulch to smother the weeds. Smothering weed seeds with mulch will hinder their germination and could prevent them from growing all together.[9] Keep your garden or lawn area well mulched in order to prevent weed growth.
    • Spread the mulch 2 to 4 inches deep to retain moisture and to stop weed growth.
    • Organic mulches like hardwood mulch, shredded bark, pine needles and straw degrade over a couple of months and can provide additional nutrition to your soil.[10]
  2. Image titled Control Weeds Step 5
    Pull visible weeds in your garden. Pulling weeds from the ground with your hands is the simplest way to rid your garden or lawn of unwanted weeds. Identify weeds as they grow and pull them. You can also opt to sever the roots of the weeds with a knife by stabbing the dirt under the weed where the roots are.[11]
    • Weeds are easier to pull when the soil is moist.
    • A single dandelion can create 15,000 seeds in a single year, which may lead to additional weeds in your garden. Pull or sever the weeds when they’re young before they can create more seeds.[12]
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    Hoe or till your lawn. If there is already weed growth in your garden, tilling or hoeing the weeds will uproot smaller annual weeds while severing the flowers off perennial weeds. Once you are done tilling or hoeing, discard the weeds and use mulch to prevent seeds from sprouting new ones.[13]
    • If you do not have weed growth, refrain from tilling or hoeing your garden or lawn, as this can activate dormant weed seeds under the soil.

Method 3
Using Chemical Controls

  1. Image titled Control Weeds Step 7
    Identify the weeds that you have. Herbicides can be used to chemically control or kill weeds in your garden or lawn, but are typically species specific to the weeds that you have.[14] Before purchasing a herbicide, refer to online encyclopedias to identify the type of weeds that you have.
    • Applying a chemical solution to your garden should be the last resort as it can pollute groundwater and can be bad for the environment.[15]
    • Weeds can be broken up into three classifications known as broad-leaves, grasses, and sedges and their life cycle can be annual, biennial, or perennial.[16]
  2. Image titled Control Weeds Step 8
    Read and follow the directions on the label of the herbicide. Before applying herbicide to any weeds in your garden, it’s important that you read the directions and the label on the box it came with.[17]
    • Some herbicides may pose a threat to other plants, so make sure to read the warnings before applying anything in your garden or lawn.
    • You should also determine if the herbicide is made for weed prevention, or for killing weeds once they are grown.
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    Wear protective gear before applying the chemicals. Wearing things like an apron, rubber gloves, protective eye-wear, and a face-mask will protect you from any herbicides that may inadvertently get on you.
    • Tyvek and nitrile gloves are the best material to use when handling herbicide and can be bought in hardware stores or online.[18]
  4. Image titled Control Weeds Step 10
    Spray the herbicide to weeds and weed prone areas. Do not douse an area with herbicide, even if it has a lot of weeds, as this could be dangerous. Use the recommended level of herbicide according to the label.
    • You can visit a local cooperative extension if you have additional questions about applying herbicide to your garden or lawn, or having trouble choosing the correct chemical for the types of weeds that you have.[19]

Article Info

Categories: Garden Pests and Weeds