Gardening Indoors With My Kids

Winning The War On Weeds

Weeds are the bane of every homeowner. Whether they're popping up on your lawn, in the cracks on your sidewalk or driveway, or in your garden, these unwelcome intruders just never seem to take the hint. Dealing with weeds can feel like a never-ending war filled with pyrrhic victories and endless labor that somehow never amounts to any real progress. Fortunately, dealing with weeds doesn't need to be a forever war.

The Great Weed Killer Debate

Many gardeners and homeowners prefer to avoid chemical weed killers, but there's no reason to shy away from this relatively simple solution. While dousing your lawn or garden in herbicide is rarely the right way to go, proper application of weed killer can help you to reduce the amount of work that it takes to deal with weeds in your garden or your lawn. The key is to use weed spray alongside other methods of weed control as part of a larger weed killing strategy.

Start by Making It Hard for Weeds

Before beginning to plan your strategy for killing weeds, it's best to begin by making it hard for weeds to take hold and thrive in the first place. How to approach this will depend on where you are having weed problems to begin with. If you're primarily dealing with weeds on your lawn, then the key is to keep your lawn healthy and lush. Easier said than done, right? While maintaining a beautiful lawn is an art all on its own, keeping your groundcover thick and healthy will allow the grass to outcompete weeds, reducing the total amount of weeding required.

For gardens, it can be more of a challenge to prevent weeds. Proper tilling before planting helps, as can solid mulch or straw cover. These steps will reduce the presence of weeds, but it's likely that some will still make their way through. While landscaping fabric can be a useful option, it is often not significantly more effective than simply using cover such as mulch.

Deal with Large Weeds by Hand

For very large weeds, the best approach is to simply remove them by hand. Weeds which have grown large enough that they can be firmly grasped at the bottom can be pulled out by the roots, guaranteeing that they do not return. Check your garden or lawn regularly for large weeds such as these since weeds that have grown especially large are probably about to go to seed. Allowing weeds to get to this point can make dealing with them difficult, even if you are aggressively spraying. Letting your weeds grow a bit can be useful, however, since larger weeds are easier to remove by hand or kill with targeted spray applications.

Use Weed Spray Correctly

Finally, deal with weeds that remain in your garden by properly applying weed killer. The key to the effective use of weed killer is to understand its limitations and the correct time and condition to use it. Weed killer is most effective when weeds are actively growing and above the surface. If many weeds are still seedlings or too low to notice, then weed spraying is unlikely to effectively solve your problem. The best times are late spring or early summer and late summer or very early fall. Late application is often effective since it can eliminate weeds which have taken hold over the summer.

In addition to choosing the correct time, be sure that conditions are appropriate as well. Never spray weed killer if you expect rain within the next 6-12 hours. The runoff can be harmful to your lawn or garden and you can potentially reduce its effectiveness at killing weeds as well. Likewise, try to avoid extremely dry conditions or direct sunlight as the heat can cause the weed killer to evaporate before it can be effective.

Ultimately, it is important to remember that effective weed control is about developing a complete strategy. Make weed spraying a part of your overall approach to weed elimination and you are sure to stay one step ahead of your lawn's greatest enemy. To learn more, visit websites like