You wake up thinking it’s just another day. You grumble as you slink out of bed. The coffee pot hisses in the background, and as you settle in with a hot cup of joe, you take a peek at your lush, green—wait a minute! Smack dab in the middle of your lawn you suddenly see Mr. Dandelion waving his tiny yellow head back and forth, taunting you. Like most homeowners, you know it for what it truly is: a weed. In these instances, many people turn to herbicides, a chemical solution designed to destroy unwanted vegetation, but these can have nasty side effects. Let us guide you through the simple process of eradicating weeds, the natural way.
Just a little herbicide can’t hurt, right?” Actually, even a little herbicide can cause problems for your garden. Although herbicide and pesticides are widely used amongst homeowners for getting rid of pests and pesky weeds, it has a negative effect on every plant it comes in contact with. In the long run, how confident are you that the rest of your lawn and garden won’t fall victim to these harsh chemicals?
That’s why many people with a lawns and gardens are going green, utilizing eco-friendly tools and solutions for tending to weeds.
Your hands. Physically removing the weeds by the roots and treating the soil will keep the surrounding ground safe, and it can reduce the costs for lawn care. Granted, this can be tiring and time consuming, the garden and landscaping communities know it’s the safest way to tackling the unmentionables on your property.
Why is this a practical option?
Commonly used herbicides are less effective on weeds than they used to be because many gardeners and landscapers have been spraying unwanted plants with the same chemical solution for years. Some people then resort to stronger chemical solutions to do the job, resulting in worse damage.
So what happens when you waltz outside, grip the weed, and pull? Half the weed will be in hand, with the root—the most important part—still snug in the soil. Leaving the root intact will allow weeds to multiply. Ripping out weeds in a rush is not productive. The easiest way to extract whole weeds is to soften the soil—this involves a little planning. Follow the guide below and be on your way to a healthier residential landscape.
1. Plan for a rainy day
Let Mother Nature start the job right. Schedule a time to remove weeds after a moderate rain, as long as it leaves the soil damp enough but not flooded.
By relying on the rain, you get to conserve water and preserve your water bill from racking up un-needed charges.
Alternative method: You can water the lawn as well, but rain distributes evenly across the soil, avoiding the chance for dry pockets or drowning.
Gardening tip: If you need to supplement rainfall with a sprinkler system, water deeply and infrequently—close to ½ an inch twice a week.
2. Use a Butter Knife to Shift the Soil
Find an easy-to-handle tool to maneuver underneath the root and shift it upwards as you gently pull. A butter knife is slim enough to disrupt the dirt near the root but not the surrounding habitation of your lawn and garden. It’s common for weed seeds to lay dormant underneath the soil, but if you disturb the soil too much and bring seeds to the surface, they have a better chance of germinating (growth process from a seed to a plant).
Alternative method: For a professional tool, check out your local gardening section and purchase a winged weeder. Tougher weeds may require you to use both.
Gardening tip: Remember to wear gloves designed with reinforced palms or fingertips and a firm grip. Reinforced gardening gloves provide a stronger barrier between you and thorns or possible bug bites/stings.
3. Prevent Germination and Weed Seed Spread
Removing the weed is one thing. Preventing leftover weed seeds from germination is another matter. To temper the disrupted soil, create a weed barrier between the surface and any dormant seeds. Using mulch, you can block the light that the seedlings need to grow, restrict the progression of weeds that have already grown, and reduce the loss of moisture within the soil caused by evaporation.
Gardening tip: Wood mulch requires replacement every season or two, depending on the climate and natural landscape of your area. Recycled rubber mulch is a great alternative to wood, bark, and stone mulch and lasts much longer for soil protection. Also, mulch that coincides with your desired vegetation creates less space for weeds to weasel their way in.
4.Killing Weeds That Are Stuck in Cracks
If your weed problem isn’t on the lawn or in the garden, then maybe these unwanted plants are creeping in between the cracks of your walkway. It’s difficult to dig in these areas, which is why using a less harmful solution may work better. Baking soda, vinegar, and table salt are three household items that are used to treat weeds.
Gardening tip: Even though these items aren’t as harsh as traditional herbicides, they can still cause damage if accidentally spread to healthy plants and grass. Put vinegar in a clean spray bottle and target the weeds gently without diluting your efforts.
The easier route may be using harsh chemicals or trimming weeds until they aren’t noticeable. On the surface it may seem like a success, but deep within the soil your plants aren’t peacefully coexisting with weeds—it’s a struggle for both sides to secure the soil’s nutrients. Don’t underestimate a budding dandelion. They could end up claiming prime real estate in your yard.