Weeds are a fact of life, but there are a few tips that can make weeding easy for even the greenest beginner. No matter how much care has gone into your landscape creation, weeds eventually steal the stage without a little careful planning. Not only are they an eyesore, but they also deplete the surrounding soil of nutrients and moisture that belong to your desirable plantings. Ridding your yard of weeds is easy with a little know-how and careful timing. Removal can be accomplished through natural remedies, chemical solutions, or barrier products.
Most gardeners can distinguish between intentional plants and weeds, especially if seed packets bear pictures or if you’ve recently planted a potted specimen. When unsure, pull one small sample and bring it to your local nursery for identification.
If the weed grows vertically, pull it by its roots before it gets too high. Many gardening stores sell foam pads for kneeling to make it easier on the knees. If the weed grows horizontally, consider purchasing a “winged weeder.” These tools have triangular tips that slide beneath the surface of the weed and uproot them easily, especially when the ground is moist. They’re easy on the back and can be found at most gardening supply stores.
Large expanses of weeds, especially the grassy type, may require more than organic remedies. Several herbicides on the market address this problem, including Roundup, an effective post-emergent, non-selective herbicide. Read the instructions carefully and avoid applying on windy days. Note that Roundup does not work on weed seeds.
If you’d like to stop weeds dead in their tracks before they rear their ugly heads, spread seven to eight layers of newspaper around the plant and cover with mulch. Brown paper bags also do the trick. Unlike black plastic barriers and other types of landscaping fabric, they eventually decompose. Mulch can be purchased from your local nursery, or simply use any weed-free organic matter, such as hay, grass clippings, wood chips or kitchen compost.