Saturday, September 26, 2009

How to Control Weeds

Taraxacum officinale

The most effective way to inhibit weeds is to plant something in their place. Weeds will grow on any open ground. But most weed seeds will not sprout on densely shaded ground. The best plants to shade the ground are groundcovers, shrubs & spreading perennials. Weeds are less of a problem in shade. But seeds will still sprout on lightly shaded open ground.

I don’t want to discourage you. But there will always be weeds. You must be vigilant: Pull weeds before they set seed! Weeds come from seeds. Plastic, rocks, gravel & bark will not keep weeds away forever. Weeds mostly seed in from above. Bark & other mulch will help to keep weeds under control for a time, while other plants have a chance to get established. Be sure you can distinguish weeds from the groundcovers you have planted.

To get rid of weeds that already exist, you should probably just pull them out. It will help if you loosen the soil with a garden fork, hoe or hook. Don’t be fooled into thinking that is the end of the weeds. There are undoubtedly still seeds in the ground. Keep watching for new weed sprouts.

Weeds with long, fleshy roots (like dandelion & bindweed) will grow back, if part of the root is left in the ground. This is also true for blackberry. It can be very difficult to get all of the roots of a blackberry vine. If it grows back, keep cutting it off at ground level. I don’t think that herbicide is any more effective than cutting.

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