Tips for Weeding your Garden

Tips for Weeding your Garden

Summer is here and still your garden has weeds? Every year we go through the same daunting (seemingly never ending) task of weeding our lawn and garden. Here are some tips to help stop weeds in their tracks, allowing you to spend more time enjoying these summer months!

Dig only when needed

There are weeds all over your garden, there’s no avoiding it. But not all hope is lost; only the seeds in the top two inches or so of soil get enough sunlight to properly germinate and grow. Digging around in the soil will only bring buried weed seeds closer to the surface, so only dig when absolutely necessary and immediately cover up the exposed area with plants or mulch. If you are removing weeds in your lawn, you can use a sharp, narrow blade to slice through weed roots instead of digging around.

Mulch is your friend

Mulch provides many benefits for your garden. It keeps the soil cool and moist to help plants grow, and it deprives weeds of a light source. You should always replenish the mulch you lay out, keeping it about two inches thick. For extra weed-stopping power, lay down a biodegradable light-blocking source like cardboard or weed block fabric and spread the mulch over that. If you do lay down a biodegradable fabric, know that as soon as enough organic material accumulates in the mulch, weed seeds dropped by birds can sprout. Pull these out early, before their roots can grow down and through the weed barrier.

Weed when wet

It’s easier to pull weeds out when the soil is wet. After it rains, throw on some gardening gloves, grab a seating pad, and a tarp for optimal weeding. If you’re not going to get much rain for a while, you can always use a watering can and water the soil as you go, but that can be tedious. For dry soil, use a hoe with a sharp edge to slice weeds off just under the surface. For dry mulch beds, use an old steak knife to cut weeds off at their roots and immediately cover the exposed area.

Off with their heads!

If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t remove a weed by the root, don’t worry. Just chop off their heads! Cutting off the heads of annual weeds will buy you some time before the weed’s seeds spread. By removing the heads of perennial weeds you can reduce reseeding and force the weed to use their food reserve, severely limiting their supply of root buds which will stunt their spread.

Pack it in

If you want to choke out invading weeds, space your plants close together. The closer your plants are to each other, the less sunlight will get in between them to the weeds below, and no sun means stunted weed growth. Typically you can safely take off about 25% from a plant’s recommended spacing. However, keep in mind that most spacing recommendations assume your plants will not be touching each other when they mature. If your plants are prone to foliar disease, stick to the recommended spacing.