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Eight Ways to Get Rid of Weeds in Your Yard and Garden


"What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not been discovered."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every gardener fights a bittersweet battle with weeds. The fact that they're there means that spring has sprung and your garden will come alive. Yet in just days they can overtake even the most well-tended yard.

Keep your garden weed-free and kid-safe by using natural methods instead of herbicides to control weeds.

Interestingly, though we often think of weeds as specific plants, such as dandelions or thistle, the definition of a weed is any plant growing where it's not wanted.

Though commercial herbicides are an effective way to kill unwanted weeds in your yard, they bring up many safety concerns for the environment and your family, particularly if you have children or pets that could accidentally ingest the toxins.

For instance, 60 percent of herbicides are carcinogenic, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. So as the safety concerns of herbicides become more apparent, increasing numbers of people are looking for natural ways to remove weeds from their yard.

The following methods are not only extremely effective at killing weeds, they're entirely safe for you and your family.

  1. Boiling water: Simply pour a pot of boiling water over the weeds. It may take a few treatments for the entire root to be scalded. This method works especially well for weeds in sidewalk and driveway cracks.

  2. Pull them out by hand: If your garden is small, you can dig weeds out one-by-one, making sure to get the entire root. To make this easier, weed right after a rain.

  3. Vinegar: Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and generously spray the weeds. The acid will kill the plants. Be careful, however, to keep the vinegar on weeds only, as it will kill other plants as well.

Though it can be time-consuming, pulling weeds out by hand is one of the most effective methods of weed control.

  1. Apply mulch: A layer of mulch that's one to three inches thick will help to prevent weeds.

  2. Use a stirrup hoe on small weeds. This hoe (which looks like a stirrup from a horse's saddle) cuts weeds just below the soil's surface but doesn't disturb dormant weed seeds.

  3. Plant competing plants, such as groundcovers. These will help to keep weeds from establishing themselves.

  4. For lawn weeds, use corn gluten. This natural substance keeps weeds from growing, and will add beneficial nitrogen to your lawn. Do not add corn gluten to new grass seed, however, as it will kill it. Only apply it to grass that has been growing for at least six weeks.

  5. Prevent weeds using barriers. Newspaper, paper bags or specially designed weed-barrier mats can be arranged around your plants, then covered with mulch. The barrier will prevent weeds from popping up.

Of course, you can always choose to simply let weeds grow. Many "weeds," such as clover or violets, are very attractive. You may want to designate a portion of your garden as a "weed" zone, and then watch as beautiful native flowers and grasses show up!

Recommended Reading

15 Easy Landscaping Tips to Add Appeal and Value to Your Home

The Dangers of 6 Common Lawn and Garden Tools


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