How to Get Rid of Weeds

by | Weed Control

The question of how to get rid of a lawn full of weeds has no shortage of right answers. After all, no one wants to come home to a garden or lawn choked to the brim with weeds that leave no room for other plants.  Dealing with weeds poses all sorts of challenges. Pre-emergent weeds are almost impossible to detect right off the bat. Meanwhile, post-emergent weeds might require a delicate touch lest your solution causes damage to the surrounding plant life and soil composition.  Unless you’re prepared to overhaul your entire garden’s or lawn’s landscape and soil composition, it’s probably best to rely on a combination of different alternative solutions to combat the growing threat.

When is the Best Time for Getting Rid of Weeds? 

The action of getting rid of weeds isn’t just something you perform once and then throw to the wind afterward. Usually, weed control will take a weekly exercise in observing and de-weeding your garden or lawn, which will become more comfortable and less time consuming once you incorporate it into your weekly routine.  Garden and lawn enthusiasts may want to time their pre-emergent weed killer sprays in the early spring before weeds can take root. They should then time their post-emergent sprays around eight weeks later. 

Find Out What Kind of Weeds You’re Dealing With 

Knowing a little more about your enemy can never hurt, especially when you want to ensure that the weeds don’t grow back for a second round, causing more problems in the long run.  When dealing with weeds, you must first classify them by their types, which include the broad leaf, grass-like, and grassy. Once you know which of the three you’re after, you can then identify them via growing characteristics as you would any other plant. The two main categories are annuals and perennials.  Annuals are weeds that grow from the seed to the flowering stage in the span of one growing season before perishing and producing hundreds of seeds that can possibly go on to grow for the next season if not contained.  On the other hand, perennial weeds make a comeback every year and usually develop extensive root systems that get harder to displace the longer they stay in your yard.  Once you’ve established which type of weeds you have, you can then create a strategy for dealing with them.  Perennial weeds need attacking at the root; otherwise, you risk seeing them grow back. You will need to do some skillful maneuvering to the soil around them, but the results will undoubtedly be worth the time and effort.  Annuals are easier to deal with. The trick is in contending with their seeds before they start to set. 

Utilize Simple Household Liquids 

Before you even start spending your hard-earned cash on the more expensive weedkillers, be sure to take a look through your kitchen and see what natural solutions might address the problem first. 

Vinegar 

Vinegar acts as a natural desiccant that kills plant leaves. Usually, it is more effective with younger plants that have immature roots. Vinegar is also not effective against weed types such as thistle or pennyworth. 

Soap

The oil in soap is a great counteracting agent for waxy and hairy weed surfaces, leaving the weeds vulnerable to desiccants. We recommend using soap in combination with other liquid solutions on this list. 

Vodka

Mixing vodka with water and dish soap can make for a potent combination that will end up drying out quite a few weed types. 

Boiling Water 

In a sense, boiling water is yet another heat treatment, acting as a weed remover without the potential incendiary drawbacks of something like flame weeding. We recommend using any excess boiling water from breakfast or other meals to avoid wastage and maximize effectiveness. 

Cover with Newspaper 

Placing newspapers atop weeds can be an effective way of getting rid of the nuisance, as they can block sunlight and oxygen, effectively smothering the outgrowth of weeds right then and there. Make sure to stack them in thick layers and pour water on them to make them stick, while also pouring a little mulch atop them. This method will ensure that the weeds will die off and not grow back. 

Proper Lawn and Garden Maintenance  

Proper maintenance is a good way of keeping a weed overgrowth from spreading. The idea is to regularly cut grass and any outgrowth in your lawn or garden to prevent weeds from flourishing, essentially leaving them no space to rise out. You might want to consider overseeding, wherein you plant grass seed all over your lawn or garden space to prevent weeds from taking over.  Hand-weeding can be tough to implement, especially when you’re not used to it, but it is undoubtedly one of the more rewarding options. When done right, hand-weeding removes the entire growth system of the weed, lessening the chances of regrowth. This solution is more effective with perennials than with annuals.  

Attempt the Soil Aeration Solution 

When weeds have taken over your lawn or garden, compacted soil can be a factor. Weeds will then take advantage of cracks in the earth that other plant roots cannot reach, leading them to choke out competition within your soil because the compacted soil leaves nothing for your plants.  Conducting periodic aeration at least twice a year can be a solution to this. 

Find and Utilize the Best Types of Herbicide 

Herbicides, also known as weedkillers, are most effectively used when you know what type of weeds you’re coming up against. That way, you can choose the best herbicide made for just such a threat.  Pre-emergent herbicides will aim to tackle weeds before they flourish, while post-emergent herbicides will address full-grown weeds. Remember to take extra precautions when applying the weedkiller, as your other plants will also be vulnerable to the toxins in the solution.  We advise you to contact a specialist to recommend the best brands you can use and how to apply them appropriately. Doing so can save you a lot of future stress.  After applying the weedkillers, remember to wait a few days to a week before planting anew. 

Consider Flame Weeding 

Flame weeding may sound a little extreme initially, but it can be an excellent alternative solution to your weed problem. Despite the way it sounds, flame weeding isn’t about whipping out a flamethrower and torching the army of weeds in your garden (as awesome as that might be to watch!). Instead, it entails using the flame as more of a heat treatment to burn the weeds’ tops just enough to kill them. Flame weeders usually use a propane tank that gushes out flame via a wand, utilizing a hose.  Flame weeding has a few obvious drawbacks, mainly the fire safety hazards that come with it and the actual effectiveness of the heat treatment. You always face the risk of accidentally burning down nearby plants that you’ve been cultivating or starting a fire on your property that quickly spins out of control. You can take steps to mitigate this, such as watering in and around the plants you want to remain protected and keeping the surrounding area covered with fireproof materials to prevent spreading flame.  Flame weeding’s effectiveness will vary depending upon the weed type you’re coming up against. Annuals are its specialty, and there’s a good chance of killing those types the first time around. Unfortunately, perennials tend to grow back. So, repeating this process 2 or 3 times more may be necessary. 

Call in the Pros to Take Care of the Job

If yard & lawn care is just not your cup of tea, you can always call in our professional weed-busting team at Yard Smart. We will eradicate those pesky plants in no time! Please contact us today for a consultation.

Matt Higgons

Matt Higgons

It’s been over 40 years since Matt Higgons started his first lawn mowing gig with his closest friend in high school. He used that money to pay for a business degree at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ontario and had big dreams of starting his own company. He never realized that the very business he would dedicate his life to, was the same one that helped him pay for that education.

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