Weed control is one of the most essential skills for any gardener to know. While some gardeners resort to chemical pesticides or propane torches to kill weeds, there are simpler and more affordable methods that can be effective. Here are five tips for controlling weeds in your garden.
Keep Digging to a Minimum
Weed seeds that are more than a couple of inches deep in the soil are very unlikely to get enough light to germinate. This means that every time you dig, till, or otherwise disturb your garden soil, you are possibly bringing new weeds to the surface that would have otherwise remained dormant.
One easy way to reduce how often you disturb the soil is by changing the way you manually remove weeds. Instead of digging weeds up, you can push a sharp knife or a pair of garden shears through the soil to cut their roots. This will effectively kill the weed while minimizing the number of new seeds that are brought to the surface.
The way that a garden is watered can have a greater effect on weed growth than many gardeners realize. Many types of weeds are adapted to growing in drier soil than desirable varieties of plants. If you water your garden frequently but shallowly, you could be creating an ideal environment for these weeds to grow.
Watering your garden with two inches of water once a week is an effective plan for creating strong, deep roots in most types of flowers and vegetables. In addition to helping your plants grow healthier, weed seeds will be less capable of competing for nutrients in the soil.
Crowd Out Weeds
It will be harder for weeds to overrun your garden if they do not have enough room to sprout. Planting your plants in close files will choke out weeds by giving them less space to grow and will also fight the germination of new weed seeds by casting thicker shadows.
Just because the warm season has ended does not mean that weeds will not continue trying to invade your lawn. You can plant cover crops such as ryegrass or oats to take over the job of safeguarding your garden from weed growth until the next growing season comes around again.
Use Organic Mulch
A thick, well-maintained layer of mulch can fight weed growth by blocking sunlight and holding moisture in the soil. For ideal results, you should replace the mulch immediately after you water your garden every week. You will also need to add a new patch of mulch any time you add a new plant or dig up a rogue weed.
Organic mulch can be especially effective for controlling weed growth. This is because it often brings crickets, beetles, and other insects to your garden that feed on weeds seeds that are hiding in your garden soil without harming the plants that you would want to keep.
Choose the Right Fertilizer
The theme of minimum interaction applies just as much to fertilizing your garden as it does to digging and watering. Controlled-release nitrogen fertilizers are the best type to use when you are trying to control weeds in your garden. These fertilizers release nutrients over a longer period of time than standard fertilizers, so you will only be required to fertilize once or twice a year to keep your garden healthy.
Weed control can easily be integrated into your normal gardening routine if you start planning before the growing season begins. Use these tips when you are ready to start planting again so you can have the healthy, weed-free garden you have always wanted.
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