Gardener vs. weed: it’s an age-old battle. As the gardener, you have all of nature working against you when it comes to removing weeds.
Luckily, there are a few weed-destroying tricks to move the odds in your favor.
Here are the strategies I use to prevent weeds from sprouting and remove them with prejudice when they appear.
Dandelions hate this… 😉
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Start by lowering the number of weeds that show up in the first place.
1. Weed Barrier
Laying weed barrier can block existing weeds and prevent seeds from sprouting. Cardboard especially does a great job of smothering weeds, and it adds nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.
Try adding an overlapping layer of cardboard, topped with barkdust or gravel.
2. Dense Planting
A weed can’t grow where another plant grows…in theory.
I have seen weeds crowd up against flowers and grow through succulent tiles. But for the most part, the thicker your plants and lawn fill in, the less room there is for weeds to sprout. Get planting!
3. Shade and Drought
Like most plants, weeds usually thrive on sun and water. So increasing the levels of shade and drought in your yard can help lower your weed count.
Large tree canopies and sun shades will make your yard less hospitable to the relentless invasion.
Now we’re getting serious. When weeds do appear, it’s important to remove them as quickly as possible before they spread further.
Try these offensive moves.
4. Eco-Friendly Weed Killer
EcoLogic weed and grass killer is my go-to herbicide, because it’s effective while being safe around kids, pets and you. The main ingredients are plain old rosemary and cinnamon oil.
Use weed killer on a warm, dry day for best results.
5. World’s Best Weed Pulling Tool
Every gardener needs this TACKLIFE weeder tool! Not only does it make it easy to uproot weeds, but it makes it FUN.
That’s coming from someone who usually detests menial chores. Eric and I love using this weeder. Watch it in action.
It’s great for areas where you don’t want to use chemicals.
This trick has done a lot of the heavy lifting in my yard. I had fence-to-fence invasive ivy and used thick plastic sheets to cook it in the sun.
Solarization can work on a smaller scale, too. Just cover the area with dark plastic or tarps, and wait for the sun to cook all those weeds. You’ll know it worked when they are crispy and well done.
Weed Evasion With Hardscaping
Do you really, really hate weeds? Add rocks. Each additional hardscaped feature means one less area to weed.
7. Decorative Gravel
You can add pea gravel around your garden beds like this, create a gravel fire pit area, or try decorative white rock.
Add a thick layer of rocks so that weeds can’t reach the tasty soil and water below. I’ve seen recommendations of 5-6 inches of gravel to fully stop weeds.
This area below used to have a thin layer of gravel and tons of weeds. After adding cardboard, weed barrier and a lot more gravel, the weeds are history.
8. Boulders and Rock Gardens
Complement your plants with boulders and rocks. This will give the yard a mountain lodge vibe and provide a modern backdrop for flowers.
More rocks = less room for weeds.
9. Decks and Patios
Finally, a deck or patio is a sure thing for blocking weeds, and it gives you a comfortable spot to enjoy the yard. Just lay weed barrier under your deck and fill any patio cracks so weeds can’t join the party.
Take that, dandelions!
Keeping up with weeds can feel like an uphill battle, but it gets easier over time. The more you do to prevent and get rid of weeds, the less they can reproduce, and the more you can kick back for once.