Weeds have a remarkable tendency to grow where ever you do not want them to. They sow themselves and generally thrive in gardens, flowerbeds, lawns or where ever else it is where they are least appreciated. The seeds blow in each year on the wind or are carried in by birds, squirrels, or other wandering wildlife. Sometimes we bring them onto our property within the small cracks and wedges in the soles of the shoes that we wear or in the tires of our vehicle.
Generally if a plant is something you don't want there then it is officially designated a weed and this unwanted greenery can put you on a never ending mission to remove them from your little section of paradise. Unwanted plants are generally quite resilient.
Weeds in the lawn or flower bed can look unattractive and weeds in the garden can crowd out your vegetables. The acceptable means of weed removal used to be chemicals but we are now beginning to see exactly how unhealthy that can be. Not only do toxic weed removal methods expose children, pets, and birds to harmful chemicals but they also kill plant pollinators and we really do need those little guys out there helping our food crops to grow.
Fortunately it is possible to remove weeds without using harmful chemicals.
Although the task usually does involve some degree of manual labor there are a few organic solutions for naturally destroying weeds that work almost as well. These are especially effective on younger plant matter and prevent these from maturing and going into seed. Weed removal is a lot of work so prevention is always a much easier solution for keeping them from invading lawn and garden areas in the future. Laying plastic or black poly sheets over garden and empty flower beds will prevent new seeds from floating into these beds over idle months. It will also oxygen starve any seedlings that might try to make an early emergence in the spring. Layers of newspaper held firmly to the ground can also work. Protect your other yard areas by laying mulch around tree bases and existing flower plants and bushes.
Keep reseeding bare spots as they appear in your lawn and maintain the mowing and trimming of your lawn to prevent existing weeds from seeding themselves. Weed removal is a lot of work so prevention is always your best resource when it comes to saving yourself a lot of back breaking effort in the future.
Plants can send off thousands of seeds in one season and these can plant themselves for not just the next season but for quite a few years to come. Seeds can lie dormant for quite a lengthy period of time so work diligently to keep weeds from going to seed. Mow your lawn on a regular basis to keep seeds from emerging.
Whenever possible work on the weeds in the early spring when the plant is small and more vulnerable. Two natural non-chemical solutions for killing weeds are plain boiling water poured over the plant or a solution of 50/50 vinegar and water with about a teaspoon of added dish liquid. Salt? Use it only for spot spraying individual plants in specific areas. Salt will kill greenery but it also remains in the ground and kill any surrounding greenery. Use it with discretion.
When using vinegar begin as you did for the boiling water. If possible mow or cut the top off the weed before you begin drenching it. Then use a spray bottle to saturate the plant. The higher the acidic acid level in the vinegar then the more effective it will be for weed destruction. Repeat the application a few times throughout the day.
For plants that grow within the cracks in your driveway or walkway snip off the main bulk of the plant with garden shears and then slowly pour your boiling water or vinegar solution directly onto the remainder of the plant. On areas where you will never want plant growth you can use a mix of salt, vinegar, water, and dish liquid. It will not only kill the plant but it will also destroy the majority of the root.If this procedure is being done on your lawn area eliminate the salt and be sure to plant grass seed immediately afterwards.
Crowding out weeds and not allowing them room to grow works very effectively at preventing future seedlings from taking root in your lawn. Always be sure to sun dry or oxygen starve the offending weed clippings in disposing of them.
Using a cultivator early in the season can help break up or bring to the surface any new plants that have nestled into the ground in the early spring. A small size machine can be ideal for smaller garden areas and relieve a great deal of the heavy gardening work that arises early in the season. By loosening the soil it is easier to locate and remove young weeds.
Once your planting is complete you may find that invading plants that have been allowed to seed will have scattered their bounty throughout your garden area. When the garden seedlings are first starting to open to the warmth of the spring sun it can be difficult with so many plants growing there to determine which ones are the seedlings and which ones are the weeds. It is best to delay weed removal until time allows you to determine which is which or you may wind up pulling out your garden plants instead.
Most of the plants in your garden and vegetable beds will generally have to grow to a little larger in height before you begin your weeding process otherwise you might actually pull the young vegetables or flower seedlings by error. As the plants grow and form more distinct characteristics and beds you can more easily determine those that you want growing there. This insures that you are not weeding out your desirable plants along with the unwanted ones. Once you are able to distinguish between the two it is simply a matter of pulling the unwanted plants and disposing of them.
When working by hand the best method is always to first loosen the roots of the unwanted plants with a garden fork or hoe and then to pull the offender from the ground. Once the weed is removed effectively prevent it from growing anywhere again by destroying it. This can be done by placing them in an airless container or garbage bag.
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