Garden Maintenance: Weed Control Methods
If you do not pay a great attention to your garden and its maintenance, the garden can get out of control with weeds being the obvious first and the biggest problem to appear. You do not need to use nasty chemicals to keep weeds under control; you may consider some other alternatives.
Plants and Weeds
Crowd out weed infested areas by planting good strong plants. There are many plants that will smother the ground so effectively that weeds simply do not have enough light, or space to grow in. Visit your local garden center to get assistance with plant recommendations.
Mulch is an additional surface layer that suppresses weeds by excluding light. If you do not have any mulch on your garden beds, then you are asking for trouble. Unprotected soil is a haven for weed seeds being blown around in the wind. Weeds also have a tendency to sprout in fine mulches that act like prorogating beds for weed seeds, so it has been proven that 1″ bark fines is one of the best methods of control. Next time you re-mulch the garden consider using a courser 1-2” bark chip. This kind of mulch does not compact too tightly together and makes it difficult for weed seeds to germinate. The other bonus is that water penetrates more freely to the soil below and oxygen which is very important to plant health circulates easier through the mulch.
Newspaper is for severely weed infested gardens pull the mulch back and lay dampened newspaper 6 sheets thick to cover all the weeds and soil, placing it right up to the edge of shrubs making sure there is a generous overlapping of paper so that weeds cannot get to the light. Relay and or top up mulch 75-100mm thick over the top to weight paper down. Sprinkle a little blood and bone over the layer to replace any nitrogen loss as the paper breaks down. Water in well. This should be a regular part of your garden maintenance routine in early spring and fall.
Remove Weed Seed Heads
If you are busy but notice that larger weeds in the garden are starting to seed, walk around with a refuse bag, just cut the seeds/tops off, and leave the weed until you get a chance to remove. Weed cover protects soil and growing roots and improves drainage. They will also prevent more weeds growing and reduce garden maintenance work over time. If you do not remove weed seed heads as soon as you see them you will encourage a new generation of more weeds.
An Herbicide Spray
Look out for the new generation of organic herbicides designed to kill annual and biennial weeds, many are based on pine oil, which rapidly desiccates weeds. Use an herbicide such as a low toxic broadleaf weed killer on couch lawns and apply with a sprayer very carefully, or use a paintbrush and apply products directly onto the weed. There are specialized weed killers on the market for broadleaf buffalo lawns.
Bare patches invite weed invasion. Re-seed as soon as possible with a quality seed mix that will germinate fast and establish quickly. If weeds appear pour boiling hot water over the weed to burn and shrivel them up. Regular garden maintenance and monitoring is the key to keeping weeds under control.