Trying to keep up with weeding in your yard and garden can make you feel like you’re Sisyphus, pushing a giant boulder uphill over and over. It’s true. Weeding is a never-ending process. But, if you put a good system in place and stay on top of it, you can significantly reduce the amount of time you have to spend weeding.
Here are 5 strategies to help you remove and control the weeds in your yard.
Vigilance is Vital
The most critical aspect of removing weeds in your yard is to be vigilant. Make a habit of scouting for weeds every day. Make it part of your morning or evening routine. The more often you do it, the faster you’ll get at spotting them and pulling them out immediately.
You can fit it into whatever part of the day works best for you, but there is one thing that makes morning weed-scouting a little more efficient. If you pull weeds out first thing in the morning and then let them lay on top of the soil to bake in the sun and dry out all day, you know they’ll be dead when you’re ready to clean them up. If you know they’re fully dead, then you can safely toss them into your compost bin, using them to improve your soil over time.
Chop the Tops
The second crucial aspect of weed control is not letting them go to seed. Annual weeds grow extremely fast, and there’s a good chance that if you see them starting to bloom one day, they’ll be gone to seed and spread themselves around in the next day or two.
If you don’t have time to remove weeds immediately, snap off the flowers at the very least, so they don’t go to seed. This will also weaken the plant over time because it will use up more and more energy creating flowers.
Cover and Smother
Most of us are fighting a constant battle against thistle in the Quad Cities area, not something that you want to dig out by hand—ouch! If thistle is completely overrunning your landscape, removing them by hand is not practical. The best way to remove thistle weed is to apply landscape fabric in these areas to smother them, kill them off, and prevent new seeds from germinating.
Before you decide to use landscape fabric, check out our recent blog, Should You Use Landscape Fabric? In it, we talked about the pros and cons of landscape fabric, as well as some great tips for making sure it is effective and attractive.
Get to Grips with Wood Chips
Mulch, whether its bark or wood chips, is a multi-purpose asset for tackling weeds. When you apply it thickly, at least 3-4 inches deep, it effectively chokes out weeds underneath, blocking light, water, and air from them. Over time, mulch also breaks down and improves your soil.
Mulch is not a one-and-done weed attack, though. It’s a long game strategy. To keep the weeds from germinating, you’ll need to top up your mulch every year with 2-3 inches of fresh chips to replace what has decayed or packed down. Use mulch to help control weeds from germinating.
Nullify with Herbicide
Herbicide should be the very last resort. If you need to use herbicide to remove weeds from your yard:
- Be extremely careful.
- Use a herbicide that is formulated for the specific weeds you’re targeting.
- Follow the instructions on the packaging exactly.
Only apply herbicide during calm, clear weather conditions. After herbicide has had the desired effect, clean up and dispose of treated plant material responsibly.
When in doubt come visit the pros at Meyer Landscape & Design and Garden Center; we know the best ways to rid your yard of those pesky weeds!