When concerning about weeds growing in between plants in your garden, there are various species of invasive plants to concern. While some of them are not quite harmful, and instead, may be beneficial in triggering plant growth, some others might be invasive. These aggressive types of weeds might grow very quickly, covering grass and other plants in your garden, making it unattractive. Besides, some species of weeds are poisonous for pets and cattle.
Why should weeds be removed?
Fast-growing weeds do not only grow very fast but also leave numerous seeds all over the areas they used to grow. Hence, these parasite plants are going to re-grow even after thorough removal. Despite their appearances which are similar to those grasses we intentionally plant in the garden, weeds are not that innocent. There are some harms these unwanted vegetation possess, such as:
- Competing with other intentionally-planted vegetation for nutrition, sunlight, nitrogen, and water. A large number of weeds—and bigger roots will thus leave non-weed plants to starve from not getting enough growth substances.
- Weeds, which grow in between plants may not only compete for nutrients but also space. Weeds which are not immediately removed will take over other plants’ place to grow. These aggressive plants may even grow on existing grasses, making the overtaken plants more prone to insects and other pests.
- Weeds growing in between pavements, in sewer walls, and other cramp spaces will cause blocked drainage. They also cause these spaces to be unattractive, as it may seem less cared for.
How to get rid of weeds
Knowing the harms they might cause, it is reasonable that homeowners and gardeners decide to get rid of these invasive plants. There are some methods to consider in getting rid of weeds around your garden and lawn, which have taken over the intentionally-planted vegetation.
- By hand-pulling
Getting rid of weeds by pulling them out by hands is conventional, yet quite effective if you have spare time dedicated to gardening. This method is effective since it lets weeds to be pulled out thoroughly to the roots if done properly. However, some weeds are poisonous and may cause allergy to the skin. Wear gloves while doing this by-hand method to avoid this.
- By over-seeding
Over-seeding is one of the best methods of getting rid of weeds from the lawn. It works by crowding out the soil so that weeds do not have sufficient place to grow. Spread grass seeds to let it grow thicker and prevent weeds from overtaking the soil.
- By Hoeing
Hoeing is effective to perform with young weeds since it will kill the weeds without bringing its seedlings to the surface of the soil to grow. Hoeing is best done in the afternoon when the day is hot and dry. This will limit the chance for the weeds to re-grow and since the soil is dry, it limits clogging from happening to the hoe blade.
- By spraying
There is store-bought weed spray which can be used to kill these unwanted plants. This may be the simplest method for those with limited time in caring for the garden. However, some chemical weed sprays might leave toxic residue behind, so make sure your pets will not be able to eat any grass and plants from the garden while it is being treated.
- By using natural remedies
If you are not a big fan of chemical ingredients, you can still handle the fast-growing weeds around the garden and pavements using more natural or organic remedies you may get around the house. There are methods which are more affordable, yet can be more effective with fewer side effects for treating weeds invading the garden.
Organic weed killer
Although there are some different methods of killing weeds in the garden, many of you may prefer the methods which do not involve any chemicals at all. Some organic methods of killing weeds are in fact, the most effective ones. Not only they do not involve any toxic chemicals, these organic methods employ the easiest to get and the most affordable ingredients around you. Here are some of those:
- Boiling water
Boling water is the best weed killer. It is cheap, easy, and kill everything harmful in the soil. The method is as simple as filling your kettle with water and put it on the stove to boil. Afterward, directly pour this to the weeds you want to kill. The water which is at a very high temperature will effectively cook the weeds and its roots, leaving it dry and dead.
However, killing weeds with boiling water is more effective and advised for those in-between-pavement weeds, rather than weeds growing in soil bed, because this method is going to kill not only the weeds and its roots, but also some beneficial earthworms living beneath the soil beds.
White distilled vinegar is another effective method for killing weeds, because of its high content of acid. To kill weeds with vinegar, here is the direction:
- Put white vinegar in a spray bottle or a garden pump sprayer.
- Spray the liquid on the weeds you target.
- Reapply if it is wiped off by rains.
Despite its effectiveness, white vinegar acts similarly to other herbicides, which is not being able to differentiate between weeds and your non-weed plants. Hence, it is going to kill every plant in contact. To avoid this, weed killing using vinegar should be done in the time of day when winds do not blow too hard, that is on an early morning. White vinegar also works effectively under sufficient sun, so apply this on a less cloudy day.
- Cardboard or newspapers
If you are thinking of disposing of your old cardboard or newspaper, think again, as these things can be an effective media for killing weeds. Some gardeners even think that cardboard or newspaper is the best method for weed killer. To do this, read on the steps to do:
- Prepare newspaper or cardboards you are going to use. Large and wide cardboards are the most advised since they cover a large area of the soil. Flatten the boards.
- Wet the soil where the targeted weeds are growing on. Do deep watering to keep sufficient amount of water just beneath the soil.
- Lay the flattened cardboards or thick layers of newspapers down on the wet area. A thick layer of this cardboard or newspaper will prevent sunlight from reaching the existing weeds or its seeds so that they won’t sprout.
- If you are using newspapers, wet the layer and add mulch on its surface to fully block the sunlight. Do regular watering every time the layer dries out. This is going to kill weeds growing beneath the layer as well as prevent the seeds from sprouting.
- If you are using cardboards, wet the board regularly and dispose of it when the existing weeds beneath it have died. Add mulch to the soil after the cardboards are removed.
- This method is not only beneficial for killing weeds, but also for inviting earthworms, which is beneficial for soil ecosystem to come into the treated soil.
Despite the weirdness, it may seem, killing weeds using salt can be effective when done with cautions. Salt kills weeds by disrupting plant’s internal water balance, which in the end, dehydrates the plants. However, a large concentration of salt used for killing weeds may cause imbalance substances in the soil, which cause it to be uninhabitable. Hence, only use a small pinch of salt in targeted area for killing weeds. Avoid sprinkling salt over the grass and non-weed plantations. Here are the salt recipe and method for killing weeds:
- Mix water and salt—any kind, with a 3:1 proportion.
- Pour the mixture to the targeted weeds by avoiding grass and plants you want to protect.
- After applying a salt solution to the weed-infested area, water nearby plants well to mitigate any damage from the solution.
- Once the solution kills the weeds, stop the application and drench the previously-treated spot with water to dilute any left salt.
- Wait for a couple of days—3 days to a week—before you reuse the treated area for planting.
Cornmeal is another organic solution for weed killing. It will keep weed seeds from sprouting and growing into plants. However, cornmeal does affect any kinds of seeds, so avoid sprinkling it when you still have newly-spread vegetable seeds, to avoid them from dying.
More natural weed killers
Aside from those organic ingredients, there are some more natural ways for getting rid of weeds. These weed killing methods can be done using some conventional methods and low-toxic chemical ingredients. Despite its safe properties to the lawn, natural weed killers should be applied in cautions, so that those are well-targeted and well-purposed.
- Hand pulling
This is the most conventional yet effective method of killing weeds, especially if you have a small garden. Hand pulling helps you to control weed population and enables you to have a closer look at the possibility of bug infestation in the garden. If done regularly, this natural weed killing method can leave your garden well-looked and healthy.
- Using dish soap
Dish soap will kill weeds quite instantly. To do this, fill a spray bottle with water and add few drops of dish soap into it. Spray it on targeted weeds to kill them.
- Using alcohol
Alcohol is also a natural weed killer. Alcohol solution will burn weeds to die and thus, leave your garden weed-free. To do this, follow these steps:
- Prepare a bottle of rubbing alcohol and water.
- Mix 3 cups of water with 4 tablespoons of alcohol.
- Spray targeted weeds with the mixture, avoiding nearby plants.
Lawn weed control
The best way of getting rid of weeds would be controlling them from excessively grow at all. There is lawn weed control for you to perform in order to prevent weeds from taking over the entire lawn.
- Spreading mulch
Mulch is a natural weed control which is not only protecting the soil from growing weeds and parasite plants but also giving it additional nutrients from broken down mulch seeds. As a weed controller, mulch works by inhibiting direct sunlight which triggers weed seeds from sprouting. Without sufficient sunlight, these seeds are not sprouting and thus, will eventually die beneath the soil. As a garden natural fertilizer, mulch provides a moist area of the soil, which will attract earthworms, which is a beneficial creature for the lawn.
- Using calcium
Crabgrass is an annual weed which reproduces fast and may spread all over the lawn very quickly. When crabgrass grows excessively in your lawn, this is a true indication that the lawn is a lack of calcium. Hence, spreading calcium-containing substances over the garden soil will help to control this parasitic annual weed. To do this, apply calcium lime and sulfur or gypsum to reduce it in volume and to make it rot over time. Crushed egg shells also work as a beneficial calcium natural agent. Thus, instead of tossing these shells into the trash, crush it and keep it refrigerated to be used with the lawn in the future. These shells will break into calcium, giving your lawn additional nutrients while killing potential weed seeds and bugs.
- Discover weeds benefits
Many of us assume certain kinds of unwanted plants as weeds. In fact, these plants might have undiscovered traits which are beneficial. Some weeds found in the garden are edible, while some others can be used as medicines. Trying to find out how to put potential weeds in use can be a very good method of weed control.
- Build barriers
Building barriers between your plantations and the areas which are potential to weeds is a good method of controlling weed growth. These barriers can be made from bricks or concrete which are not only affordable but also have less pore and rooms for weeds to grow. You can also cover your vegetation with a plastic bucket with a removed end. This will prevent weeds from overgrowing and feed on your plant’s nutrients.
Cultivating the lawn regularly also help to remove the roots of the weeds from the soil, which will leave them dry out and die. Use your hand hoe to do this in small areas in the garden. Be cautious not to hoe non-weed plant roots. Cultivating your lawn also spread beneficial nutrients beneath the soil, which the roots can easily absorb in the future.
- Keep the grass healthy and long
Healthy grass is an effective weed natural barrier. This will prevent weeds from taking over the spaces and thus, nutrients, leaving them to die eventually even without chemicals or other substances.