How To Keep Weeds Out Of Your Landscaping

Weeds. When it comes to landscaping, “weeds” may as well be one of those forbidden four-letter words. Nobody wants them. Nobody likes them. But they are relentless. No matter how many you pull out, there are always more on the way. Is there anything you can do?

The good news is that there are several strategies that you can use to defend your property against those pesky weeds. Keep in mind that some of these tips may be dependent on the climate that you live in. Most of the following tips come from a landscaping expert in Idaho Falls, Idaho, but should be helpful no matter where you are.

Mulch Matters

Mulch does a world of good for your plants. Not only will it keep the soil cool and moist, but it also prevents sunlight from getting to the weeds below. It is important to select a quality mulch. If you do, you might end up with something that is a good host for insects that will eat weed seeds. On the other hand, some mulches can be laced with weed seeds. Do your research before laying the mulch.

All you need for your mulch is a depth of about two inches. Making it much deeper than that will prevent oxygen from getting into the soil. It also helps to use a light covering on the surface of the soil. A layer of cardboard or newspaper is a great way to limit the number of weeds trying to reach the surface.

Proper Spacing

With every type of plant, there is a recommended amount of space to leave in between them. The issue here is that the space between the plants is a prime location for weeds to appear. However, you can limit the space those weeds have by decreasing the space between your plants by about 15-20 percent. The one caution to keep in mind is that this is not a good idea for plants that are susceptible to foliar disease.

Good Timing

Pair of hands in gloves working to get weeds out

Pulling weeds sucks no matter when you do it. That’s a straight-up fact. But there are certain times that are more effective for removing weeds in your landscape. Weeding is the easiest when the soil is damp and soft. You will be much more likely to yank the entire weed out and not leave roots behind that will grow back.

It also helps to be properly equipped with good gloves and a comfortable sitting pad when the soil is damp. Grab a fork to help twist out some of the less cooperative ones and you should be good to go.

When weeding in dry ground, you can try slicing the weeds just below the surface of the soil and they should shrivel up and die. Use a sharp edge for more effectiveness. An old steak knife is a great tool for this tactic.

Off With Their Heads

When completely removing the weeds is not possible, the next best option is to simply slice off their heads. Doing this will give you some time before the seed rain starts. This will help to limit the weeds from spreading in the future — which means less weeding in your future. The reason this works is that it forces the weeds to use their food reserves and exhaust their supply of root buds so they don’t spread too much.

Your best weapons for this are pruning loppers or a string trimmer that is equipped with a blade attachment. Either way, the key is to chop them down before they are able to go to seed. This will stop the spreading and save you a lot of headaches down the road.

Don’t Wake The Weeds

You may not realize it, but your whole landscape is filled with weeds. Generally, we only think about the top of the soil when we are thinking about weeds. That’s just the area that is getting the necessary light to begin the germination process for the weeds that are there. There are more weeds buried further down that can move to the surface if you start digging and moving soil around. This is something to keep in mind anytime you are working on your landscape. The less the soil is disturbed, the fewer weeds you’ll likely encounter in the future. Once you have finished working (or playing) in the dirt, cover up that area with plants or mulch.

When you are dealing with weeds in your lawn, it can help to use a tool like a knife to cut the roots of the dandelions or other weeds that are in the grass. This way, you can eliminate the source of food for the weeds and avoid trying to dig them out.

Proper Watering

Plants need water. Some of them need a lot. But it can be easy to put out more water than they’ll use. And then guess who is there to soak up the leftovers. You guessed it. Those pesky weeds. But it is possible to prevent that from happening.

You can do this with drip or soaker hoses. Put the hoses underneath the mulch to effectively water your plants while leaving the weeds in a drought. This can cut your weed germination by 50 percent or more!

Start Right Now

Spring is the optimal time to give your lawn a boost with fertilizer and get a leg up in the battle against the weeds. The sooner you can have this done the better your property will be equipped to handle the summer heat that is just around the corner.

Fertilizing your lawn creates a healthy beautiful lush green lawn. The result is a healthy lawn that resists harmful diseases and insects. Fertilizer treatments can vary depending on location. Usually, 3 to 5 applications are needed per year, these treatments supply all the nutrients needed to maintain a vigorous turf, Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, Iron, and Sulfur.

It is recommended that you follow a fertilization schedule of 3-5 times per year, starting with the first one in mid-late April. Then another application in June and again in September. If you feel like more application is necessary, adjust accordingly and space them out evenly.