Green Gardening: How To Get Rid Of Weeds Without Chemicals
While everyone wants a beautiful lawn and a garden free of weeds, filling your property with harmful chemicals is an undesirable side effect. Not only can traditional weed killers harm your plants, but fruits, vegetables and underground water sources can also absorb their chemicals. Protect friends, family and pets from the potentially dangerous side effects of weed killers by trying one of these environmentally friendly options for weed control.
One good way to fight weeds and keep healthy plants in your yard or garden is to maintain healthy soil. Tilling your soil will loosen it and mix up nutrients, creating a healthier habitat for your plants to grow. Tilling can also help bury weed seeds that do exist, pushing them too far into the ground to receive enough light and water to grow. Using a hoe to break up surface soil can also pull out small weeds. Properly fertilizing and aerating the soil will also help improve your plants' odds at healthy growth, a beneficial addition against weeds' ability to grow nearly anywhere.
Mulch And Landscape Fabric
Just like your garden and lawn, weeds needs adequate sun and water to grow. One great way to prevent weed seeds from gaining the nutrients they need is to cover all open area in your garden with mulch or lawn fabric. Acting as a shield between the sun and soil, mulch can not only bury harmful weeds, but add beneficial nutrients to the soil. Organic mulches like bark, dried leaves and grass clippings are a great way to smother weeds and recycle old garden waste.
Landscape fabric can be made of plastic or natural materials like burlap, and is available at nurseries and home improvement stores. It also blocks sun and water from reaching weed seeds, leaving them unable to grow. Landscape fabric works well underneath a thick layer of mulch, adding extra protection against weed growth.
Pull Weeds Immediately
You won't always be able to prevent every weed seed from germinating and sprouting. When you do notice that a weed has grown up in between your plants, pull it immediately. If you catch the weed before is has matured enough to produce seeds, you will dramatically reduce the amount of future weeds in your garden. Also, when you pull the weed, be sure to remove all roots, as some weeds can regrow even after being pulled or cut off at the top.
Though you may not want to use chemicals, some natural remedies can be used to kill weeds. Vinegar, herbicide soap and essential oils, like citrus and clove oil, are effective at killing weeds. Unfortunately, they will kill any plant they are placed on, so be careful to avoid pouring them over your own plants. These are especially effective at killing weeds in cracks along driveways, walkways and stepping stones, where other plants will not be harmed. Several applications may be necessary to completely kill weeds. For vinegar, try to find the most acidic form you can. Average bottles of vinegar are typically under five percent acidity, though certain stores sell variations up to 10 percent. The vinegar will remain in the soil, making it harder for weeds to grow there in the future as well.
Thick Ground Cover
Another, more attractive way to smother weeds is with the use of thick ground cover. Planting and maintaining a thick, healthy lawn is one easy way to crowd out weeds. For areas where you don't want grass, try planting ground cover like aster, sedum, dianthus and coreopsis. Acting like mulch or landscape fabric, the ground cover plants will prevent weeds from gaining enough sun or water to grow.
Another way to cover the ground around plants and help prevent weeds is with the use of hardscapes like river rocks and gravel. Placing stones in various sizes on the ground around your garden will cover the soil not being used by plants, preventing weeds from reaching sun and water. Gravel is sold at many hardware and home improvement stores, while large landscaping rocks can also be found at home improvement stores, or bought from companies specializing in landscaping stone.
Toxic chemicals in common weed killers often do more harm to your lawn and garden than good, and can present unwanted side effects in you and your landscaping. Try one of these natural options for green gardening to improve the development of your plants, prevent or stop weed growth, and keep your family safe and healthy.