Keeping your lawn and garden beds weed-free is an essential part of maintaining your gardening space. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be a daunting task.
With a little time and effort, you can take steps to minimize your weeding chores and keep your yard looking its best. Here are a few tips to get started!
1. Pull When Wet
Many gardeners find that pulling weeds when the soil is wet makes the job easier. This is because shallow-rooted weeds can simply pull out of wet soil without much resistance.
Likewise, deep-rooted weeds will also be easier to pull out of wet soil. Unlike dry soil, which will often leave the root intact and re-grow it, wet soil is loose and soft, making it easier to pull out the whole weed.
When weeding by hand, you want to firmly grab the weed and pull it up slowly. This will ease the roots from the ground and prevent them from snapping in two.
Some gardeners find that it is easier to weed early in the morning when the soil is still damp from dew. This is a great way to get the job done before lunch. But you need to be careful not to strain your back while bending over. You may need to kneel or bring a portable stool with you to the job.
2. Hoe When Dry
Hoeing is a time-honored method of controlling weeds in your garden or field. It can also be a relaxing and therapeutic activity.
If you’re planning to use a hoe for weeding, make sure that the soil in your area is as dry as possible. That will help kill the weed seeds before they have a chance to germinate.
This will also create what some gardeners call a dust mulch, which can keep new weeds from sprouting. A 5 to 10 cm layer of mulching can include a variety of organic materials: compost, grass cuttings, bark mulch, or straw.
For best results, hoe early in the season and as soon after rain as the soil crust has begun to dry. This will also allow weed seedlings to be killed before they have a chance to develop a firm footing.
3. Make a Plan
Having a plan to get you from point A to point B is essential to the success of any endeavor. A plan might be best summarized as an organized and ordered set of activities akin to a well choreographed dance involving multiple players. A well conceived and executed plan is the secret to success, especially when one has an overabundance of weeds and no time to spare. A well conceived plan, a few stout hearty men and women and a healthy dose of determination and luck of the stars and you are well on your way to a tidy yard, front lawn and a happier you.
4. Don’t Overdo It
Keeping a garden free of unwanted plants is essential for healthy soil. But it doesn’t have to be an all-consuming task.
Rather than weeding the entire garden at one time, divide your work into short sessions throughout the day. This will help prevent neck and back strain.
It’s also important to keep a regular weeding routine so that weeds are removed before they flower and set seed. This will mean fewer weeds to deal with next year!
Lucy Chamberlain adds: ‘Annual weeds thrive due to their ability to produce masses of seeds, and their short life cycles. Just a single fat hen plant can yield 60,000 seeds and the roots of perennial weeds like dock can survive even if broken into fragments.
They steal light, water and nutrients from your crops – and they can harbour pests and diseases! Fortunately, there are ways to combat weeds that don’t involve chemicals.