One of the best ways to get rid of weeds is to prevent them from taking root in the first place. Weeds can get out of hand pretty quickly, so it’s important to do everything you can to keep them from invading your yard. For flower beds, patios, and walkways, you can apply mulch to the top of your soil. Mulch prevents weeds from getting the sunlight they need to grow, so they can’t start to grow.
Regularly mowing your lawn is essential to keeping your lawn healthy, and it can also prevent weeds from growing and getting stronger. Even if your lawn has been cut recently, you can adjust your lawnmower to a higher setting if you’re noticing weeds appearing. Run your lawnmower over these weedy spots on a setting that’s high enough to leave your grass relatively untouched but low enough that it decapitates the unwanted weeds. If you do this regularly, eventually the weeds will stop coming back and they’ll die off. Keeping your lawn high can also prevent weeds like crabgrass from taking hold.
2. Lay Down Mulch
The battle for weed-free grass is something almost every homeowner will deal with at some point. Weeds like crab grass, dandelions, ivy, clover, bluegrass, and chickweed are some of the most common culprits when it comes to sullying the appearance of a perfectly manicured lawn. While some accept weeds as a fact of life or opt for grass alternatives, others will try whatever they can to get rid of those unwanted plants. Luckily, it’s not quite as hard as you think. Try some of these preemptive tips and suggestions for regular maintenance, and look forward to a lawn that all of your neighbors will envy!
If you don’t fertilize your grass, it’s time to start. Fertilizer is essentially food for your grass, and it provides it with all of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. While it may seem counterintuitive, fertilizer can be a great way to curb a weed problem; the trick is to make sure you’re using the right amount. Too much fertilizer can encourage weed growth and send them into overdrive, whereas not enough fertilizer will make your grass too weak to stand up to weeds. The best defense against most types of weeds is a thick lawn to ensure there’s no room for them to take root.
There are nontoxic products that you can use on your grass that work just as well as herbicides, and the best is corn gluten meal. Corn gluten meal is great for your grass because it contains nitrogen, and it also prevents the seeds from weeds from germinating. You shouldn’t use it if you’ve planted seeds you want to keep, though, as it can have an adverse effect on these as well. It’s best to use corn gluten meal early in the Spring before you see weeds. Applying it to already-established weeds will just be feeding them and can make your problem worse.
The Telescoping Crack Weeder ($9.95) from Lee Valley Tools removes grass and other weeds from crevices in patios and walkways. The L-shaped stainless-steel blade fits between bricks and other pavers to reach and scrape pesky plants. The aluminum handle adjusts from 28 to 45 in., which means you can weed kneeling or standing.
Learn how to kill weeds in your lawn without killing your grass.
Preemergence herbicides kill germinating seeds before seedlings break through the soil. Crabgrass is the primary target. The most common preemergence herbicides are synthetic. Natural, nontoxic preemergence herbicides made from corn gluten are safer, though you might have to apply them for several seasons for them to be fully effective.
Pulling Weeds Permanently: Step 3
Catching perennial weeds early is crucial. Dandelions, for example, develop deep taproots that are hard to pull once they mature. Yank the entire plant, including the root—any root pieces left underground will grow new plants. If new sprouts grow, pull them repeatedly to eventually starve and kill the weed.
Susan Johnston Carlson
You also need to choose between selective and nonselective versions of systemic herbicides. Selective herbicides kill only certain weeds, while nonselective herbicides kill any green, growing plant, whether it’s a weed or not. Most broadleaf herbicides, including products like Weed-Away and Weed Warrior, are systemic and selective to kill broadleaf weeds only. They won’t kill weedy grasses.
Once the weed and roots are out, smooth the soil, work in some compost, and patch the area with lawn seed. Keep the soil evenly moist until the grass is 1 inch high.