Managing weeds in your landscape can be difficult. If you are like so many other homeowners, you prefer eco friendly weed control methods. Overusing chemical based herbicides can impact the ecosystem around you, including groundwater, soil, and beneficial plants. Additionally, many chemicals used in conventional weed control methods can destroy microbes and insects that are beneficial to your soil's health. Luckily, there are several natural weed control methods that are quite effective.
Some weeds, especially the ones that have deep roots, grow well in compacted soil. Compacted soil causes your plants to not be able to receive the moisture, nutrients, and air they need to grow. Aerating your soil can help improve your soil and plant health and minimize weeds in the landscape. Aerators can be rented or purchased at a home improvement store.
You can scald weeds with boiling water. All you need to do is boil a kettle of water on your stove and then carefully pour it over unwanted plants. It may take two to three applications to destroy weeds that have a long tap root; however, it will work with repeated applications. One caveat, make sure you wear close toed shoes and long pants when performing this task. It will protect you from accidentally scalding yourself.
Corn gluten meal is a natural weed control method that prevents seeds from germinating and developing into plants. Although it works great on weed control, it can also prevent vegetable, fruit, and flower seeds from germinating. However, once your plants have developed, this is an effective way to control weeds in your landscape or garden.
Grass clippings are a great way to prevent weeds from sprouting. Gather your grass clippings after you mow and spread them about an inch thick. Avoid going any thicker as too thick of grass will rot and stink. Once the grass clippings have completely dried out, remove them and add them to your compost pile. Replace the grass with freshly cut grasses. Do not use any grass that has been treated with weed killer as it can harm your plants.
Weeds prefer to grow where there is bare soil and they do not need to compete with other plants. If you have any areas that are bare or prone to having weeds, planting a ground cover can help. Ground covers are low growing plants that quickly spread across the soil surface, which makes it difficult for a weed to go through. Ground covers also prevent seeds from receiving the light they need to flourish. Choose a ground cover that will do well in your growing zone. Some of the best ground cover plants include creeping thyme, ice plant, and bugleweed.
Depending on the number of weeds in your landscape, weeding by hand could be an option. Of course, you will need to find the time to pull the weeds by hand. Most gardeners like to wear a pair of gardening gloves for this task and like to use sharp trowels or class to loosen the soil where the weed is located. You must pull the weed along with its root to prevent it from coming back.
Mixing hydrogen peroxide with water is a great spot treatment for weed control. Spray your weeds with the mixture and allow them to remain on your weeds for about fifteen to twenty minutes before rinsing with water.
Did you know that cutting your grass too short can increase the risk of weeds in your landscape? If you are continually battling weeds in your lawn and seem to be losing, it may be time to adjust your mowing height. Taller grass that is two and a half inches to three and a half inches tall prevents weed seeds from getting the light they need to flourish. One caveat: make sure that you cut down weeds before they develop seeds.
Covering the areas around your plants with a couple of inches of mulch is an effective natural weed control method. Mulch prevents seeds from touching the soil. Additionally, mulch prevents seeds and seedlings from getting the sunlight that they need, which prevents them from sprouting. Mulch also helps retain moisture and nourishes the soil as it breaks down. Finally, a fresh layer of mulch increases your home's curb appeal.
If you are planning a new garden or flower bed, you can use newspaper to cover the soil. Place a thick layer of newspapers across the area to prevent sunlight from reaching the seeds, which means they cannot sprout. Begin by removing any weeds in the areas. Then wet the soil and put down a thick layer of newspaper. Wet the newspapers again until they are soaking wet. Finally, cover the newspaper with mulch. This method not only gets rid of weeds but also allows you to recycle newspaper and provides the perfect location for earthworms.
Believe it or not, table salt is a great way to kill weeds. All you need to do is sprinkle a little salt around the base of each weed. It may take several rainfalls or waterings to dilute the salt and allow it to soak deep into the ground so the salt can destroy the weed's roots. Salt will also cause the soil to become uninhabitable for several months; therefore, it is essential that you only apply directly to the weed and do not get it on your other plants or grasses.
Vinegar is a wonderful way to naturally control pesky weeds; however, it cannot differentiate between plants and weeds. Apply vinegar with a brush, spray bottle, or pump sprayer. One of the best ways to avoid contaminating other plants is to apply the vinegar early in the morning on a cloudless day. You want to choose a day when there is no rain in the forecast for a couple of days.
A weed torch is designed to heat the moisture inside a plant's cells. As this moisture heats, it turns to steam causing the cells in the plant to die. The weeds do not have to be charred. You only need to wilt them. When using a weed torch, you must exercise caution as it can set mulch, plastic borders, or landscape fabrics on fire. Finally, do not use a weed torch on poisonous plants like poison ivy as the oils may release into the air and get in your lungs or eyes.
Weeds are the bane of every homeowner's existence. They creep up quickly in the lawn and in the landscape. Luckily, there are many natural methods for controlling and eliminating weeds from the landscape. Use as many of these techniques as you need to help you maintain a weed free landscape.