Weeds are so called because they invade the garden, at the expense of the garden’s flowers, the vegetable garden’s plantations, and even the fruit trees’ young seedlings. In fact, they consume and require, just like any other plant, water, minerals and light. Weeds include several different species, such as Bermuda grass, horsetail or dandelion. The best weeding techniques are not necessarily the most expensive.

The choice of means to get rid of weeds depends on the garden’s properties: the surface area to be weeded, the type of invasive weeds, and the plants near the weeds, which are simultaneously exposed to the herbicide used. At first, always start with the most environmentally friendly methods such as hand weeding or biological tricks, then, if that does not prove to be sufficient, use other techniques such as the mechanical method. It is only as a last alternative, and when confronted to the ineffectiveness of the previous methods, that one must resort to chemical weed killers or herbicides.

Periodic hand weeding

Weeds can prove to be very hardy. Those known as annuals recur every season. Perennial weeds have resistant roots that enable them to survive any hardship, even in winter, so they must be removed by uprooting them completely without cutting. To do this, use a Dutch hoe for small areas (planters, pots …) or a Dego hoe for medium surfaces. Weeding, also known as hoeing, is carried out at the arrival of spring and during the whole summer. It must be done regularly. It is advised to proceed to hoeing when the weather is both hot and dry, making the weeds more vulnerable. Then, burn all the weeds to be sure not to scatter the seeds.

There are other clever and eco-friendly techniques to prevent the development of weeds. One can, for example, plant flowers that produce “anti-weed substances,” such as pot marigold, mexican marigold or carnations. You can set them along your flowerbeds or vegetable gardens. The potato is also effective, especially its cooking water. Use the water on the garden paths and the pavements’ cracks.

Mechanical weeding methods

These are techniques, outside “natural” means, that do not involve chemicals. We must first mention soil mulching. This method consists of burying weeds or laying something on the ground that will prevent them from growing. It typically uses an organic mulch, which may also be used as fertilizer, or black polyethylene. All that remains to do then is to set heavy rocks on top of it to fix it to the ground, or bury its edges. The mulch has the advantage of keeping the soil moist while warming it up.

The thermal technique is also used to get rid of weeds. The thermal shock is then induced by a flame, infrared rays or beams of steam. Thermal weed control is mainly applied to weeds that invade hard surfaces such as paving slabs or garden paths. Although this technique is safe for the surface, it must be done respecting a number of safety precautions explained in the leaflet material.

Chemical herbicides

This method should be chosen as a last resort given these products’ potential toxicity, in regard not only to other plants, but to domestic pets and man as well. Handling the product must be done with caution and the gardener must wear a mask, goggles, gloves, boots … The products can act on the leaves or through the ground. These products are sold in the form of condensed liquids that need to be mixed with water, or granules to be scattered on the ground. Chemicals acting on the leaves are called “defoliants.” This product is spread by means of a sprayer. Some of these products may also attack perennial plants. But there are herbicides that respect the grasses and are ideally suited to the lawn; these weed killers are called “selective”. “Total” herbicides are those which are absorbed by the roots. Their duration of action usually lasts several months. This is the case of simazine and dichlobenil.

Among herbicides, we can mention sethoxydim, particularly effective against Bermuda grass and grasses. There is also amitrol, which acts by contact with the leaves. It is recommended for use with herbicides that enter the ground. The amitrol is primarily used for weeding hard surfaces, while ammonium sulphate is a specific herbicide for woody stems species. It spreads to all parts of the plant. Glyphosate mainly attacks perennials. And finally, 2,4-D is also used for the lawn, and it systemically acts on weeds.

Related posts:

  1. Different ways to fight off weeds
  2. Using herbicides and insecticides to achieve the desired outcome
  3. Preserving and maintaining dried flowers

Published in Garden maintenance by Alexander on 06 Jul 2011