Winter rains are here, bringing with it a carpet of green blanketing our surroundings. Nature’s irrigation is encouraging many plants to grow, especially the ones you don’t want – the weeds in your garden.
You know the saying – a weed is simply any plant in a place you don’t want it. Are you seeing grasses, dandelions, bindweed, and others popping up in your lawn, flower beds, vegetable gardens or other exposed spaces? Even in teeny spaces between bricks on your patio? What’s a gardener to do with such a bounty of weeds?
While the easiest and fastest answer may be to whip out the weed killer, it’s not good for you or the environment. You CAN have immediate results while protecting people, pets, wildlife, and the environment from potentially toxic weed killers aka herbicides.
Commit to 10-to 15-minute increments of weed pulling a couple times a week, maybe snagging some family to do the same. Some simple steps:
- Get them while they’re young – weeds with tender leaves and less developed roots are easier to remove.
- Pull while the soil is still moist – as soil dries, it tightens its grip on roots.
- Yank them out before they develop seeds – if you’ve got tall weeds and can’t pull them, use a string trimmer to cut them down before they flower.
- Get the whole thing, roots, and all – grab the weed close to the ground and pull up, twisting the plant slightly as you remove it. Leaving even a portion of the roots is enough for them to regrow, especially those with deep taproots like dandelions.
- Use tools for difficult spaces – an old screwdriver can help pry out those nasty ones shooting up between pavers or in the cracks of a driveway. For areas blanketed with tiny weeds, try a stirrup hoe, also known as a hula hoe. Push and pull the hoe just under the soil surface to loosen weeds for easy removal.