When it comes to weeds, it pays to work smart. Pulling weeds is one of the most tedious and persistent chores of gardening. Spending time on your hands and knees eliminating these little pests is not just unpleasant; it also takes away from time that could be spent gardening. Most find the unsavory practice of pulling weeds to be the only alternative to using toxic herbicides that can affect nearby plants, animals, and ground water. However, there are safe, free, and easy habits one can develop that will prevent weed growth. If followed, these tips can cut down on the time you spend pulling weeds and get you back to the kind of gardening you enjoy.
Our first weed prevention tip: Do less. Most soil is packed with dormant weeds. Chances are, your yard is no exception. The only thing preventing these weeds from germinating is their lack of sunlight. When you disturb soil by digging, raking, and tilling, you bring dormant seeds to the surface and enable their growth. To minimize this effect, aim to disturb soil as little as possible. By practicing efficient gardening techniques and only disturbing soil in small, focused areas you can prevent weed growth while saving time and energy.
Another effective preventative measure is mulching. When you mulch, you put a layer of material over your soil. This layer can help you conserve water, return nutrients to the soil, and hinder weed growth. Mulching inhibits weed growth by increasing the barrier between dormant weeds and the outside world. Mulch can come in many forms; grass clippings, chopped up leaves, or wood chips all work very well. For more effective weed fighting, put a layer of black and white newspaper one to two sheets thick underneath your mulch. This yard is a perfect example of how one can incorporate mulch into their landscape design to give it a beautiful finished look.
Lastly: water plants, not weeds. This seemingly obvious piece of advice is often overlooked. By focusing your spray and only watering where it is necessary, you deprive weeds of the water they need to grow. By doing this, you can also conserve water.
Follow these three easy tips, and you’ll have a weed-free yard without straining your back, using chemicals, or spending money.