You’ve spent the winter season researching what plants you want in your outdoor garden and consulted with a landscaping contractor. You’ve purchased enough mulch and fertilizer to last you the entire gardening season. But upon planting and caring for your garden, you find it littered with a gardener’s worst nightmare: weeds! Here are ways to eliminate those buggers for good.
I take care of my lawn, so why are there weeds?
No matter how much time you spend perfecting your garden, you’re bound to come across some weeds. Here’s why:
- You’re fertilizing too much: Too much fertilizer nurtures weeds. Correct this by reading the directions on the packaging of the fertilizer you buy, and use one that has a high percentage of control-release nitrogen. This provides a slow and steady nutrient supply which will slow (and hopefully eliminate) the growth of weeds.
- You’re watering too much: If you’re watering your garden frequently, it creates a breeding ground for weeds. Adjust your routine so you’re watering infrequently, but giving your garden a good soaking. A good rule of thumb is to picture a tuna can – it’s about 1 inch thick and that’s how much water it needs.
A landscaping expert with lots of experience with greenery and gardening should be able to extend some other reasons as to why weeds are overtaking your garden.
Here are some rules to remember:
- You need to give your plant between 1 inch to 2 inches of water a week.
- Water at 3-5 day intervals (unless it rains since the work is done for you).
- Water at a ratio of 1 gallon of water to 1 gallon pot size.
- This deep watering is a better system than watering little and frequently. Your plants need a good soaking every now and then!
After you’re done watering, wait one hour and push a screwdriver into the soil. If it slides out easily, you’re good. If there’s difficulty, it needs more water!
Our gardening friends on Twitter (@gardenknowhow) says the soil should feel soft and cool after a healthy dose of moisture.
Want to know what a landscaping contractor thinks? We have an extensive director of landscaping specialists who can offer you advice on what to do and what NOT to do.
We understand the frustration in spending hours and money building a beautiful garden, only to have it ruined by pesky greenery that’s an eyesore. The silver lining to this problem is you can create quick and simple remedies using household products. Here are some options:
That’s right – it’s not just for baking! Sprinkle handfuls of baking soda on the places where you see weed growth the most – cracks in the paving, driveways, walkways, and so on. The sodium will target those unwanted dandelions and its friends.
That jug of bleach you keep in your laundry room isn’t just for getting stubborn stains out of white clothes. Pour a but of bleach over the weeds that are sprouting out of hard-to-reach places. Wait a day or two and pull them out. The bleach should prevent weeds from growing back.
Helpful tips: The bleach will evaporate within two days, therefore you’re safe to replant and resoil as you please. However, bleach will kill anything it touches. If you get it on your soil, lawn or plants, wash them off liberally to protect them. And be careful not to get stains on your clothes too!
Salt is another handy tool that can get rid of those weeds for good.
- 1 cup salt
- 2 cups of water
- Bring the mix to a boil
Once that’s done, pour the solution directly onto the weeds to kill them.
Alternatively, you can spread salt directly onto the weeds. Hose down the treated area, or wait for a rainfall to do the work for you.
Yes, we are suggesting you use alcohol to kill your weeds!
- 1 ounce (30 milliliters) vodka
- A few drops of liquid dish soap
- 2 cups of water
Put all ingredients in a spray bottle and give it a healthy shake. Spray directly onto the weeds.
Note: You’ll want to apply the solution midday when the sun is out, or a sunny day in general. Weeds grow in direct sunlight and the alcohol will break it down, causing dehydration in sunlight.
Here’s a rough estimate of how much each item will cost you if they’re not already stocked in your pantry:
|Baking Soda||$4 per box|
|Bleach||$5 for 3.5L|
|Salt||$3 per box|
|Vodka||$26 for 750mL|
The Strong Stuff
If you’re finding that home remedies aren’t doing the trick, there are a few more things you could do. Prepare to get your hands dirty!
Pull them out yourself
Dandelions are probably the most eye-catching weed out there, but resist the temptation to yank them out whenever you feel like it. When the soil is moist, push a sharp digging tool into the soil and angle it downward toward the center of the plant. Loosen the soil around it and with a bit of force, pry the weed upward with the tool underneath the soil and your hands holding the dandelions.
After you’re removed the root, smooth out the soil and patch up the area with lawn seed. Don’t forget to water the spot adequately!
Treat with herbicides
Sometimes, your weeds need a bit of tough love. Use herbicides as a last resort and only when you’ve tried so many other options and your lawn and/or garden is being overtaken by them.
Why do we recommend you use herbicides sparingly? The products can injure or kill anything it comes into contact to!
Follow these tips for buying herbicide:
- Find one that’s labelled as safe for the turf you’re looking to treat.
- Read the directions carefully. It’ll illustrate what conditions you should be using the product. Some are finicky and will only work at a specific time of the year.
- Do you research and spend time asking questions at your local gardening store. There are so many different types of herbicides on the market and you’ll want to make sure you bring home the right kind.
Here’s an overview:
Preemergence herbicides: This product kills weeds before they even start by quickly acting and destroying germinating seeds before they break through the soil.
Postemergence herbicides: This herbicide kills weeds that are actively growing, but may require more than one application.
Don’t be generous when using herbicides! Instead, sprinkle a little bit on the areas that you want to destroy weeds.
Frank Ferragine – a.k.a. Frankie Flowers – demonstrates how to get rid of even the toughest weeds:
An expert in lawn care can help get your garden back to its natural state. Contact one of them today to find out how!
We asked, you answered!
We decided to ask people like yourself about the best tips and tricks to get rid of weeds. Here’s what you had to say!
Brittany Stager, graphic designer and blogger, tweeted us that she used a weed remover and when that doesn’t work, she turns to the ‘Weed B Gon’ spray by Scotts. Both products should be available at your local hardware store.
Alayne Stewart Langford reached out to us on Facebook to share her tip: vinegar in a spray bottle. Try your hand at these two ideas and see what works best!
Now that you’re armed with all the tools you need to get your garden looking its best, get out there! If you want an expert’s opinion, chat with one of our landscaping contractors. They can offer advice and even help maintain your beautiful outdoor spaces.