Young woman tending to her backyard flowerbed in autumn

Weeds are every gardener’s worst nightmare. They grow and spread quickly, taking over your yard or garden and stealing precious nutrients from your plants. If you are trying to find a way to prevent these pests from gaining the upper hand and calling your yard or garden home, follow these techniques to reduce weeds:

1. Keeping Weed Seeds Dormant

Weeds reproduce faster than rabbits and don’t require much to keep them healthy. This makes them extremely difficult to get rid of once they have started invading. Fortunately, weed seeds have one weakness that can make them easier to manage: they need almost direct sunlight. Weed seeds are picky in their position for germination, and as a result, need to be in the top inch or two of soil to get enough light to start growing. With this in mind, instead of constantly digging to get at the roots of your weeds, simply dig and cultivate your garden when it is absolutely necessary. When you do have to dig, immediately fill in the disturbed areas with more plants and mulch to cover up the dormant seeds. Eventually, the seeds will die out and even benefit your plants by adding nutrients to the soil. 

If you are dealing with weed seeds in your yard, you can lessen your soil disturbance by using a sharp knife or a narrow blade to slice through the roots of lawn weeds to sever them from their food source, rather than digging them out. This will allow you to kill two birds with one stone, destroying the weeds and leaving their seeds to decay. 

2. Use Organic Mulch

Organic mulch attracts some useful critters, such as crickets, to help you defend your garden from weed seeds. These insects feed on weed seeds, which helps remove the threat of the weeds ever sprouting in the first place. Make sure to replenish your mulch in order to keep the depth to 2 inches. Don’t put too much soil in your garden, though, as any more than 2 inches can result in your soil being deprived of oxygen, which can negatively affect your plants. 

For added protection, you can block sunlight from reaching the weed seeds by covering the soil’s surface with a light-blocking cover, such as a sheet of cardboard or newspaper. Just make sure to spread about 2 inches of mulch over the top of the cover. 

3. Weed at Optimal Times

The best time to weed is after a nice rainstorm. The soil will be wet, and the weed’s roots will be easier to pull out. A pro-hack that you can do is take an old fork from your kitchen and use it to twist off the tendrils of henbit and chickweed like spaghetti. It keeps the soil from being too disturbed and ensures that you get all of the roots out, thus preventing the weeds from growing back. If you are facing a dry season, you can cut the weeds out just below the soil line. This will cause the weed to shrivel up and die, as the roots can no longer get the proper sunlight needed to keep the weed healthy. 

4. Prevent the Seeding Process

One of the best techniques to help you reduce and prevent weeds in your garden is stopping the seeding process. If you do not have time to completely remove the weeds, you can chop off their heads. By doing this, you give yourself some extra time to remove the weeds entirely by setting the weed’s seeding process back a few weeks. The weeds are forced to use their valuable energy and resources to regrow rather than produce seeds. 

If you’re looking to get some new landscaping that gives you early defenses against weeds, contact Landscape By Design. With native plants and additional features such as arbors, we’ll help you get a yard that’s both beautiful and able to withstand the weeds and heat of the area.