We all deal with it. If you have a garden or flowerbeds, weeds sneaking in are inevitable. Can you stay on top of the weed issue without using harsh chemicals? Here are some weed control strategies that will keep your garden healthy and the weeds at bay.
How Do You Keep a Weed Free Garden?
Weeds not only look ugly, but they compete with your flowers and vegetables for water, nutrients, and growing space. Weeds and your plants cannot grow in harmony, no matter what anyone tells you.
Those “natural” or “organic” herbicides that claim to control weeds? They may do a good job in the short term, but over time they destroy the biological health of the soil.
Get Out the Hoes for Weed Control
The larger a weed becomes, the more difficult they are to control. I have this issue mostly with thistle. And the bigger it gets, the harder it is to pull. But if I do not get it pulled in time, then it seeds and causes a larger issue. Keeping on top of this by cultivating the flower bed with my hoe or Mantis tiller helps tremendously.
Attacking the weeds before they become established is the most effective way to deal with them. The best way to do this is by using your hoe to cultivate the soil before they emerge.
Ideally, for proper weed control using your hoe, gardens are to be hoed every 10 to 15 days. June and July are key months to stay on top of this schedule. This is when the weeds are most persistent and in direct competition with your other plants.
The Best Time to Cultivate with Your Hoe?
Ideally, you will want to hoe in your garden on a dry, sunny day. Cultivating in wet soil affords the weeds the opportunity to re-root into the soil. While you may have prolonged periods of wet weather, do not be tempted to run out and cultivate anyhow. It’s pointless and will serve no purpose in fighting off your invading weeds.
Another tip for proper cultivation with your hoe is to make sure that you keep it sharpened well. This will make a world of difference in terms of efficiency. The sharpened hoe cuts through the soil and weeds much easier. This will also save you some aches and pains in the process.
Weeding with Tarps?
There have been many times when people have asked me why I have areas of my garden covered with tarps. The use of opaque traps not only smothers out weeds and grass to start a new bed but also helps control weeds by not giving them the surface area to mature.
By using black tarps between rows in your garden, you are forcing the weeds to germinate in warm moist conditions, but then forcing them to die from the absence of light. This not only helps control weeds in the short term but over time all of the seeds and roots that are in the ground will die off. You will force them all to germinate and be unable to reproduce.
Weed Control with Mulch
Mulching flower beds is a huge tradition here in Ohio as spring approaches. Covering your soil helps control weeds only aesthetically. Relying on mulch only for weed control will lead to disappointment. Hand weeding will still have to happen. No matter how thick you lay it.
Mulch also attracts slugs, which can be devastating to your landscaping plants. While mulch helps some, make sure that you are using it as a deterrent, not your only weed control option.
Weed Control Tip: Only Turn the Soil when Necessary
Every square inch of your garden has weed seeds in it. Only those in the top inch or two of your soil will receive enough light to trigger germination. Tilling and digging only cause hidden week seeds to migrate to the surface. If you do choose to rototill or turn your soil, be prepared. About a month later the weed invasion will begin.