We all have them – weeds. It’s how we handle those weeds that’s the problem. It is probably safe to say that weeding is a necessary drudgery. Most gardeners hate weeding, myself included, but we hate weeds more.
If you don’t get them before they go to seed, the problem just multiplies. Using herbicides saves you from some of the back-breaking work, but consider the toxins you are putting on your soil, and the potential of drift on your prized plants. Chemical methods may seem ok, but they are dangerous and often complex to mix and apply.
Mistakes While Weeding
Avoiding weed management mistakes can minimize weeds and make the job easier. Fortunately, there are 5 weeding mistakes to avoid that will help you control these unwanted plants.
Not using weed barrier fabric. It isn’t very expensive, lasts for years and you can still plant in it if you cut a hole in the fabric. They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and landscape fabric proves the point. Starting a new bed without it is one of the most common weed management mistakes. Many weed seeds can’t germinate on it, perennial weeds can’t sprout through it, and best of all, water and nutrients can still seep through to plant roots.
Waiting too long to weed. Don’t wait to weed! This has to be one of the classic mistakes while weeding. If you wait until there is a huge crop, many will have gone to seed and started a whole new batch. Some weed seeds can remain viable in soil for decades. So if you are the type who likes to put things off, reconsider. Weeding frequently is crucial to preventing even more of these pests.
Not using the proper tools. Many gardeners simply hoe around their plants. One of the most basic mistakes with weed control, this dislodges the upper part of the plant but might leave roots in the soil. Aggressive weed species will simply sprout from any part left behind. Dig deeply and get all the plant material out. Don’t hand pull, either (unless the ground is wet), as this usually leaves roots behind, another of the classic mistakes with weed control. A spade or hori hori are great for smaller weed patches. Using a kneeling pad will help keep back pain at bay. There are also tools for standing to weed. These have long handles and allow you to stay erect while getting rid of pesky weeds.
Forgoing the mulch. There are both organic and artificial mulches. Whichever you choose, using mulch helps smother weeds and gives seeds less places to take hold. Mulches also block sunlight, which many weed seeds need to germinate. Any weeds that manage to sprout will come easily out of the soil since it is loose and moist underneath.
Using sprinklers or hand watering the garden. Use drip lines or soaker hoses to water your wanted plants. This will deprive weeds of water, an essential need. Broadcast watering is one of the key weeding mistakes to avoid. Drip systems are easy to install yourself and are customizable, even if you add more plants to the area. Soaker hoses are great around tree root zones, up veggie beds, and winding among bushes. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to install and move as needed.