Weeds are the bane of all gardeners, plus those who aren’t green thumbs but still focus on having neat, attractive, user-friendly outdoor spaces. Unfortunately, weeds seem to pop up regularly, whether it’s winter or summer or anywhere in between.
If you hate using chemicals in your household and want to find a natural way to rid your yard of annoying weeds, there are steps you can take. Thankfully, multiple actions will limit these nuisances – provided you’re consistent. Read on for some things you can do to say goodbye to as many weeds as possible in 2021.
Learn about Weeds
You’ll put yourself in a position to limit weeds in your garden if you learn the essentials about them. Get acquainted with some of the most common pests that probably end up in your yard, so you know how to identify them and best combat them.
For example, chickweed lives in many places. Spot it by its shiny leaves, sitting across multiple stems. When it flowers, the plant showcases a single white flower on each stem. Another common visitor is crabgrass. Like a crab’s shape, its leaves spread out low along the ground in a tight circle. Another weed worth knowing about is purslane. This one has thick, succulent stems that have a reddish hue to them. It also has star-shaped yellow flowers and green fleshy leaves.
Keep Lawn as Healthy as Possible
The less healthy your lawn is, the more likely it is that weeds will find a way to grow up amongst the grass. As such, take steps to help your lawn stay healthy to combat these kinds of pests. To give your grass a fighting chance, mow it often, though never take off too much of the length of each blade at one time. Stick to around a third or less. Also, rake up leaves often, especially in the fall months when they’re prevalent. Leaves that get wet tend to turn into a mat that suffocates grass.
Another way to keep your lawn happy is to water and feed it as needed. If you’re not sure how to fertilize the grass or don’t have the time, hire a lawn fertilizer service in your local area to do the job for you. It’s also helpful to aerate the lawn a couple of times per year so sunlight, water, food, etc., can get down to where it needs to and give the grass a solid base to work from.
Remove the Pests by Hand
There are plenty of chemical-laden weed sprays on the market, but to get rid of these plants naturally, let your hands do the work. Many pests pull up out of the ground easily enough, especially chickweed, as it has a fine root system. It’s a good idea to crush the stems, too, by stepping on them to help kill off the weed completely and reduce the chance it spreads.
If you have purslane in your yard, pull it out by hand when it’s only young. The longer it has to take root in the soil, the harder it is to remove. Plus, when you do get it out, be careful to retrieve the whole thing. Stem fragments need to go in your bin, not the compost heap, as purslane has a habit of throwing out seeds, even when taken from the ground.
Take Advantage of the Benefits of Mulch
Mulch can be a big help when it comes to restricting weeds. Add mulch to both cover and smother weeds, so they have less ability to grow and multiply. Plus, putting it on garden beds helps to conserve moisture in the ground. In turn, this makes the plants you want to thrive much hardier. On top, mulch breaks down over time and adds fertilizer to soil, further strengthening the right plants.
You’ll find many mulch options on the market or at your house these days. For example, you can use straw, bark, and even grass clippings. You can also use biodegradable materials like broken-up newspaper and cardboard. To keep weeds at bay, layer on two to four inches of mulch.
Plant Ground Covers
If you’re sick of weeds getting out of control in your garden, put in more ground covers. These plants can quickly grow and fill in exposed soil in a garden bed. As a result, weeds have less of an ability to claim the area and less chance of outcompeting the ground covers, providing you choose the right plants for your soil and location. Consider European chamomile, sweet woodruff, woolly thyme, or ruck rose.
Weeds are a nuisance; there’s no denying it. However, you don’t have to go against your sustainable beliefs and douse your yard in chemical sprays. Instead, follow the steps above, tackle the issue bit by bit, and stay on top of the problem.