Tips for Effective Weed Control

BY
Livvy
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in
Gardening

A weed is a wild unwanted plant that grows in fields or gardens and prevents the plant that you want from growing properly. They mainly grow alongside the main plants and affect the growth of the plants surrounding them by competing for nutrients, water, soil, and space. In cases of smaller plants, some weeds even overpower them from growing. If left unchecked for a long time, they can bring unnecessary trouble to your surroundings and also bring dangerous plant diseases into your garden and attract more pests to the area. Eliminate weeds when you spot them to avoid this. You may need to know some effective tips on controlling or destroying them.

Types of weeds

Generally, three common weed plants are evaluated for their growth attribute. These include

Annual weeds germinate and spread by seed, having an average lifespan of one year. These include both winter and summer types. 

Biennial weeds - complete their life cycle in two years, germinating and forming rosettes their first year and producing flowers and seeds their second year. 

Perennial types – which die down in the winter and re-grow each spring. They can be difficult to dig out and will re-grow from their roots if the tops are removed or burned off.

Cultural weed control

Cultural control is considered highly effective in weed management. The establishment of a competitive and desired vegetation helps prevent or at least slow down the growth of weeds. Close planting in the garden can reduce weed growth by eliminating open space. Cover crops are good for this as well, Adding mulch will prevent light from getting to weed seeds and prevent growth.

 

  • Cover crops- Cover cropping is sowing a crop over another one, it is used between rows and at field edges to enhance weed management and to allow for another crop to grow instead of weeds. Thick cover crop stands often compete well with weeds during the cover crop growth period and can prevent most sprouted weed seeds from completing their life cycle and proliferating. This drastically reduces light, and oxygen transmittance to weed seeds, and as a result, it diminishes weed seed germination rates.

 

Mechanical weed control

Mechanical, or manual, weed control techniques manage weed populations through physical methods that remove, injure, kill, or make the growing conditions unfavorable. Some of these methods cause direct damage to the weeds through complete removal or causing a lethal injury.

 

  • Mowing 

 

Mowing can decelerate the production of seeds and can limit the growth of weeds. Robotic mowers have become progressively popular in recent years as a way to maintain lawns and gardens with the slightest effort.

An eco-friendly automatic lawnmower, such as HYgreen GOMOW, provides professional maintenance without any hassle. Most weeds do not like to be cut so short and regularly. Because automatic mowers operate on a regular schedule, they can help to keep the grass at an even height, which can reduce the potential for weeds to take hold.

 

 

 

  1. Frequent mowing by removing the top portion of the weed prevents tall plants from enlarging flowers or buds to multiply and expand.
  2. The mowing robot composts the lawn like a regular supply of nutrients from mulching leading to an impenetrable and healthier lawn and making it more difficult for external species to settle than on a weaker lawn.

 

However, if your garden is already heavily weeded, you want to get rid of existing weeds first, and you should dig them out using weed removal tools or remove them with weed killer. If your lawn is already doing well, the mower will then make it more difficult for new weeds to grow.

 

  • Mulching- The process of covering the open surface of the ground with a layer of some external material is called mulching. Mulching can be the easiest and most effective way to control annual weeds in the garden. It mainly controls weeds by preventing sunlight from reaching the soil surface.

 

Mulches can be divided into two ways. 

Organic mulching - material can be used to cover the soil such as grass clippings, dry leaves, and straw. 

Inorganic mulching - Inorganic mulches are synthetic and can be divided into black plastic. The process is also called soil solarization. 

Organic mulching

Organic mulches include grass clippings, pine bark, straw, dry leaves, or similar materials. An advantage of fine mulches is that after the crop is harvested, the compost can be worked into the soil to improve drainage, soil structure, and water-holding capacity of the soil. Avoid persistent mulching which can reduce oxygen levels in the soil. Crop roots require oxygen for growth, so limit the mulch layer to a maximum of about 3 inches.

 

  • Soil Solarization- Soil solarization is the execution of increasing soil temperature until it kills weeds. 

 

Solarization is done by covering bare, moist soil with clear plastic or black plastic, to catch high solar radiation and temperature, it kills unenviable plants without the use of chemicals. 

Before placing the plastic on the site to be treated, plow or closely mow any entrenched plants and remove the clippings, then polish the soil surface and water the area well. The plastic must be left in place and maintained intact for 4 to 6 weeks for the control of weeds. Many annual weeds can be controlled using this method. However, doing this also affects the biological, physical, and chemical composition of the soil which may demoralize the growth of other plants.

 

  • Tillage

 

Tillage, also known as cultivation. Turning the soil over or tilling is often used in protecting agricultural crops from weeds. This method is usually applied in sites where soils are severely disturbed. 

Tillage can be performed on a small scale with tools such as small, hand-pushed rotary tillers or on a large scale with tractor-mounted plows. Because of it, the vegetative parts of the weeds are damaged and the root systems are exposed causing desiccation. Generally, the younger weeds can be easily controlled with tillage. But to control more mature perennial weeds, repeated tillage is necessary. By continually destroying new growth and damaging the root system, the weed's food stores are depleted until it can no longer re-sprout. 

 

  • Hand pulling

 

 

 

Hand-pulling works for small gardens and raised beds because it's easier to plan and implement. Hand-hoeing or hand-pulling of weeds is always a part of crop management because cultivation does not remove all of the weeds. This kind of pulling is useful in places that cannot be applied with herbicide. First, use a garden trowel to dig out all the topsoil around the base of the weed. Then pull up the weed without disturbing the roots.

 

  • Weed removal tools

 

Various weed removal tools can be useful in farming, by properly gripping the stem and providing the necessary force to pull its root out. When you can’t remove weeds, the next best thing is to chop off their heads which reduces reseeding and forces them to use up food reserves and exhaust their supply of root buds, thus limiting their spread. Here are some of the best weeding tools for keeping your plants healthy,

1. Hand cultivator- It can pull double duty as a weeder. It’s a great tool to use if you’re weeding a small area and works wonders for weeds that are difficult to pull. If you want to pull multiple weeds simultaneously, this is an excellent weeder to use.

2. Hori Hori Weeding and digging knife- it is a Japanese knife with a short, sharp steel blade on both edges, sometimes you have a weed that you can't quite pull with your hand, and this knife really helps to pry out its stubborn roots.

3. Dandelion weeder- Traditional and effective tool offers an organic, chemical-free option for removing tap-rooted weeds. The V-shaped tip allows roots to be cut off deep underground so the weeds will not reappear.

4. Grubber- Grubber is a traditional and effective weed puller designed specifically to deal with short-rooted weeds. Without polluting your garden by using harmful chemicals in the soil a grubber can do the trick by tacking the weeds.

5. Dutch hoe- A Dutch hoe has a broader blade and skims just below the soil's surface. It’s often used to eliminate weeds with shallow roots. You can skim right below the ground and pull the roots of the weeds with a hacking movement.

6. Cape cod weeder- Use the pointed end of the weeder to drag at ground level and cut the weeds at the roots or dig out the root with its sharp tip

7. Pruning shears- It is mainly used to cut branches, but when you can’t remove stubborn weeds by pulling, the next best thing is to chop off their heads by pruning.

No matter which method you choose, chopping down weeds before they go to seed will help keep them from spreading. 

Chemical weed control

Chemical weed control is essential for commercial operations, and herbicides have been applied both pre and post-emergence of the crop. Because most herbicides are specific for soil types and prevalent weed populations, no one chemical can be used universally. Chemical weed control can help in reducing the weed population in the early stages.

Benefits of the chemical method:

 

  1. Herbicides can be applied for weed control in crop rows and where cultivation is impossible.
  2. Herbicides can control many perennial weeds which cannot be controlled by other methods

 

 

  • Herbicides

 

Herbicides also commonly known as weed killers, are substances used to control undesired plants. Selective herbicides control specific weed species while leaving the desired crop relatively unharmed, while non-selective herbicides can be used to clear waste ground, industrial and construction sites, railways, and railway embankments as they kill all plant material with which they come into contact.

Pre-emergence herbicides mostly kill weeds at the seed impregnation stage and Post-emergence herbicides are applied after the weeds have appeared. Both herbicides may be applied before or after the crop is planted depending on the crop and the herbicide selected.  

 

  • Carefully read and follow all of the label directions when combining and applying herbicides.
  • Remember, some herbicides kill weeds quickly whereas others can take up to a week or more.
  • Some herbicides persist in plants and soils for long periods, while others only remain in plants or soil for a short time.
  • Some pesticides have no effect on crop plants, like there are 2,4-D Ethyl ester, Neem extract, Glyphosate, etc.

 

Natural weed control 

There are natural ways to kill weeds in an eco-friendly way. Any herbicide you choose, whether it's an organic compound or a synthetic one, has its advantages and downside. These weed-killer products work, but they also have certain limitations. If you'd like to skip using harsh chemicals in your garden, first try the most effective homemade ways to kill weeds. 

 

  1. The first option is a mixture of white vinegar, salt, and liquid dish soap. Each of these ingredients has special properties that combine to kill weeds.

 

 

  • A gallon of white vinegar
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap

 

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and treat weeds at the sunniest time of day for the best results.

2. You can use boiling water to kill weeds as well. This is especially effective for areas like the cracks in the pavement, as you can throw the water on and avoid doing damage to anything fragile nearby.

 

  • Heat a pot of water to boiling. Being very careful and wearing oven mitts, immediately carry it outside and pour it directly on the weed, soaking as much of the soil as possible. 
  • Leave the plant undisturbed until the following day. Then, remove the weeds.