How to handle weed growth

Weeds are a formidable and unwelcome foe to homeowners. Laying landscape fabric may block light from hitting weed seeds. (Digital composite by Selena Hautamaki)

Homeowners who take pride in their lawns and gardens know just how problematic weeds can be. Weeds can make otherwise well-manicured and thriving lawns and gardens appear unhealthy and ill-kempt. But homeowners don’t have to sit back and accept weeds as an inevitable byproduct of warm weather. The following are a handful of ways homeowners can handle weed growth so all their hard work is not masked by unwelcome weeds.

• Pull weeds after watering. It might seem odd to water weeds, but watering weeds can actually make it easier to pull them out so they never return. When you pull weeds from soggy soil, you can more easily pull weeds’ entire root system from the ground. That means you aren’t just pulling the stems and leaves, but the entire weed from the ground.

• Lay mulch. Mulch can benefit a garden in many ways, not the least of which is helping to prevent the growth of weeds. Mulch prevents sunlight from reaching weed seeds, helping to prevent the growth of weeds before they even appear to cause you headaches. In addition, mulch helps soil retain moisture, which benefits plants as summer temperatures rise.

• Lay landscape fabric. Homeowners who want to do more than mulch can lay landscape fabric in their gardens as well. Landscape fabric will work in much the same way as mulch, blocking sunlight from reaching weed seeds and therefore preventing the weed seeds from germinating. When laying landscape fabric, simply cut holes in the fabric where the plants will be, lay the fabric down and then cover the fabric with mulch.

• Plant strategically. How you plant also can help defeat weeds before they ever appear. Speak with your landscaper or a local lawn and garden professional before planting, asking if it’s possible to plant particular plants close together to prevent weed growth. Plants that are planted in close proximity to one another will block sunlight from reaching the soil, which will make it more difficult for weed seeds to germinate.

Weeds are a formidable and unwelcome foe to homeowners who take pride in their lawns and gardens. But there are several ways to combat existing weed infestations and prevent their return in the future.


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