Get those weeds early!

Spring is here and so are the weeds!  Are you seeing grasses, dandelions, bindweed, and even wild blackberry 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?

The most effective method is manual – yep, pulling them.  To make the job a bit easier:

  • Get them while they’re young – weeds with tender leaves and less developed roots are easier to extract.
  • Pull while the soil is still moist – as soil dries out it tightens its grip on roots.  After rains have stopped, irrigate a day or two before you start pulling.
  • 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.

There are lots of handy tools:

  • 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. There’s a version with a short handle that’s great for tight spaces and raised beds.
  • For difficult spaces, try an old screwdriver to pry out those nasty ones shooting up between pavers or in the cracks of a driveway. 
  • Rechargeable, battery-powered string trimmers can cut grass and weeds quickly. While it doesn’t get the roots, it can stop annual weeds from growing and spreading seeds.

Here are some additional resources:

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