Understanding how to get rid of weeds and keep them at bay can feel like a daunting task. If you have a garden, a lawn or sometimes even container plants, you’ll have weeds. And while you’ll never be able to completely prevent weeds, like the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here are some steps you can take to discourage weed germination and growth.
- Weeds are prolific seed producers, so one of the most important things to do when it comes to controlling weeds is to remove them before they go to seed. A single weed can produce tens of thousands of seeds.
- Dispose of pulled weeds – don’t leave them on the ground where they can reproduce.
- Mow your lawn regularly to keep lawn weeds from going to seed.
- Be sure that any mulch, soil, compost or manure you obtain are free of weed seeds. Mulch that townships offer for free can sometimes contain weed seeds.
- Check any new plants that you’ve purchased for weeds. You’ll sometimes find small weeds at the very base of potted plants you may purchase at a garden center.
- Water at the base of your plants, not the entire garden, so you’re not watering existing weed seeds.
- After weeding a garden bed, apply a 2”-3” layer of mulch around plantings. Emerging weeds will have a hard time pushing through the mulch and will be less well-rooted and easier to remove if they do appear.
- If you have a vegetable garden or larger area, consider growing cover crops between your plantings. Cover crops such as clover, oats and winter rye (ideal for growing with tomatoes) crowd out weeds, offer micronutrient diversity to the soil, and encourage beneficial weed seed-eating insects such as beetles and crickets.
- Bare soil is an open invitation to weed growth. Cover it with mulch, groundcovers, cover crops – anything to help discourage weed germination and growth.