I'm confident in saying there's no gardening chore disliked more than weeding! Weeds are a battle you have to fight throughout the gardening season, but getting control of them now will lesson the war later. Grow as a gardener and read through our answers to some common weeding questions.
When should I start weeding? Now! Early weeding is sometimes difficult because the weeds are immature. Young weeds are coming up at the same time as your perennials. If you're not sure what it is, don't pull it out. Come back in a few days and check again.
When are the best days and times to weed? Choosing a good time of day to weed can lesson the burden. Some gardeners weed in the morning or evening, when it's cooler. Others choose to weed in the middle of a cooler day to avoid mosquitos. Pick a time that works for you and try to be consistent. That will help establish a routine. Pick a few days after a rain to weed because the soil will be soft, but not too soft. Don't weed when the soil is wet. You'll compact the soil and inhibit plant growth. If you're going to hoe, wait for your soil to be completely dry.
Which tool should I use? Talk to five gardeners and you'll probably get five different answers. Some of the most common tools are dandelion weeders, hoes, trowels and weeding forks. Garden Tool Company has great pictures and descriptions of a large variety of weeding tools. The key is to find a tool that works for you. And remember you can use a tool in other areas and for other weeds than it's designed for!
How often should I weed? Weeding regularly is key. Some gardeners weed for a few minutes every day. Others weed for a longer time once a week. Pick a schedule that works for you and your landscape and stick to it. Once you skip a time or two, you'll have a lot of cathing up to do!
What about using herbicides? Of course, weeding by simply pulling up the weeds is better for your landscape and your family's health than is using traditional chemicals. If you choose to use chemicals, research your options and read and follow all use and safety instructions! There are natural, organic and non-toxic herbicides available. Doing a quick internet search will provide you with information on these safer options.
How do I prevent weeds? Preventing weeds in the first place is the most important step of weed control. Having full, healthy plants is important as this leaves less soil exposed for weeds to establish themselves. Pulling weeds before they go to seed is also important. Having a good natural or man-made barrier between your garden and lawn is also important. If you use compost, make sure it is free of weed seeds. If it hasn't composted properly, there may still be viable seeds that will sprout. A two inch layer of mulch is important for controlling weeds. As you're weeding or planting take care not to disturb the soil any more than is necessary. Doing so will bring weed seeds to the surface where they will germinate.
Hopefully you've been inspired to add something new to your weed control this year!