One of the questions we hear the most from gardeners is “how do I keep weeds out of my garden?” No one likes pulling weeds and would rather spend their time enjoying their garden rather than maintaining it!
There are some simple steps you can take to minimize the impact of weeds, take care of them safely if they show up, but most importantly to keep them out in the first place. Not every yard is the same, though, so a consultation with a gardening expert from Hidden Creek Landscaping would be a good place to start.
What are some good ways to take care of weeds in my garden?
A quick surf of the internet will return many tips and many pieces of advice on how to best control weeds in your garden. But which are the right ones, the ones that will do the job right? We’ll examine a few here.
Are homemade weed killer sprays effective?
Recipes for homemade weed killers abound on the internet. Many begin with a vinegar base and then add in all kinds of things like lemon juice, dishwashing detergent, borax, salt, bleach, and so on. They may market themselves as natural or organic, often as an alternative to chemical solutions.
Unfortunately, like most folk remedies, they aren’t a sure bet. While they may kill off some weeds by making them wither and turn brown, they don’t get rid of the weeds for good. More likely than not, they’ll be back in a week or two.
It’s also important to remember that the health of your soil is paramount to great gardening, and saturating it with salt and vinegar may not be the best idea
How about commercial weed killers? Are they safe?
There are many commercial weed killers out there that heavily market their effectiveness. Many gardeners shy away from them because of fear that they may contaminate the soil. However, they can be effective if used properly.
It’s often best to consider them a last resort for weeds that can’t be dug out or for invasive species. It’s critical that you follow all directions and not overuse them, since adding any chemical to your soil will change the balance.
Ok, so how do I prevent weeds in my garden in the first place?
This is the real question that should be asked! If you can succeed at preventing weeds in the first place, you are well on the way to avoiding the question of whether or not to use herbicides as weed control.
The problem most gardeners face is that all the work they do to properly prepare their soil means that the great work they’ve done to help their flowers flourish works just as well on weeds. A good step is to mitigate the ways weed seeds get into your garden to start with.
Does mulch matter?
One of the easiest ways to prevent weeds from getting into your garden is by using good, shredded wood mulch. Shredded mulch has greater density than wood chips, so do a better job of keeping the weeds out of your soil.
Placing a thick layer of mulch around your plants also reduces the amount of sunlight that reaches the weed seeds in the soil. One good tip along the same lines is to put down a thick layer of newspapers around the plants that you then put the mulch on top of.
What about landscape fabric?
While landscape fabric has its uses, weed prevention in the garden isn’t one of them. While it keeps down any existing weeds that you place it on top of, it creates a clean palette for new weeds up above.
The dirt, debris, and leaves that accumulate on top of the fabric are just what new weeds are looking for. Plus, the roots of the weeds will grow down into the fabric, making them more difficult to remove. In general, landscape fabric is best used to mitigate weeds along paths and walkways, but are poor preventers of weeds in the long run.
Are there any good tricks to keep weeds out of vegetable gardens?
A good trick to keep weeds out of your vegetable gardens is to use grass and leaf clippings to keep them in check. They perform a similar function as mulch by keeping sunlight away from seeds in the soil. It’s also a great way to get rid of your yard waste!
Grass and leaf clippings provide much-needed nutrients to the soil. Using landscape edging around your garden beds will help keep grass and weeds from infiltrating the vegetable garden.
How do I know what the best strategies are for my garden?
We are here to help! Give us a call at Hidden Creek Landscaping for some expert advice. We’ve been helping homeowners keep their weeds at bay for years, and are considered one of the region’s top residential landscaping companies. We’d love to help you make your garden the best on the block!