Top 5 Weed Control Tips

Weeds can make a gardener go crazy. Just as your plants start to grow, so do those pesky weeds. You think you have them handled and then the next day, they're back. While invasive plants will always be a challenge in the gardening process, the following tips might help you maintain your sanity while gardening this season. 

1. Mulching your garden not only prevents weeds but has a number of additional benefits. Mulch acts as a roof for your garden, it keeps the sunlight off of the soil and prevents soil level growth. It is best to mulch walkways and around established plants. Many gardeners will also temporarily mulch their garden in the colder months or between the time they till and when they plant. The mulch is then removed for planting and possibly replaced once plants are established. This temporary barrier eliminates the need to weed your garden immediately before planting.

2. Cultivate as needed. Cultivators are designed to be easily maneuvered in tight spaces. Simply cultivate around your plants and in your rows to disrupt the growing cycle of the weeds and bring the roots to the surface to dry out and die. Cultivators work best for this task because they have shallow tilling depths that do not bring additional weed seeds to the surface.

3. Till early but not too often. Tilling a few weeks before you plan to plant can bring the existing weed seeds to the surface and allow them to sprout before you garden is planted, then you can either pick the weeds individually or use a herbicide of your choice without worrying about damaging your plants. For the remainder of the year, try to limit your tilling to only when necessary in order to avoid surfacing buried weed seeds.

4. Crowd them out. Just as mulch prevents sunlight from reaching the soil for weeds to germinate, planting your crops tightly together can squash out many weeds that may otherwise assume the space. Of course this method is difficult to master because you are attempting to pack your garden without negatively effecting your crop. 

5. Take their top off. Removing the head of weeds before they go to seed is an effective way of reducing weeds as well as the number of weed seeds in the soil. For smaller gardens, this task can be done with hand tools but for larger gardens with large walking paths it may be most efficient to use a mower. The Earthquake String mower excels in jobs like this because of it's extra large wheels that allow it to float over soft soils.