Don't get too excited if weeds start decorating your lot--those aren't the happy trees you want painted in the garden. No, unfortunately these types of herb will give you heartache from the start. Unlike the euphoric plant so often described as the "weed," these things are pests of the plant world, or what I like to refer to as green parasites. They will feed off your beautiful garden and destroy everything in sight. Think of the weed as the ultimate garden supervillain--it must be destroyed.
Weed Prevention (all these methods are earth friendly)
- Ploughing: Ploughing is necessary because it turns over the upper layer of soil, allowing weeds and excess crops to decompose, and nutrients to come up to the soil's surface.
- Mechanical Weeding: This method has the benefit of aerating the soil, but it does seem to be less effective than the manual methods; it requires straight row cropping, and often misses harmful weeds--which can damage future crops.
- Crop Rotation: Alternating the growth of different crops on the same land, or crop rotation, is a good long term weed preventative. Growing the same crop in one spot--over a prolonged period of time--allows weeds to adapt to this environment. If the crop types in a plot are rotated, then the constant change will interfere with weed growth.
- Selective Weed Killers : Used to remove target plants without damaging others (e.g. removing weeds from a lawn).
- Non-selective Weed Killers: Targets both broad and narrow leaved--grass--plants. They come in three categories: contact, systematic, and residual.
- Contact : Kills plants with direct contact to plant tissue; may eliminate after repeated use but more of a temporary fix since it does not go down into the roots. Good to use as a quick fix before planting or sowing seeds.
- Systematic : The plant absorbs these types of herbicides which will take two to three weeks to fully infiltrate and destroy them. When using this method, make sure to clear away any flowering weeds so the seeds cannot produce offspring post procedure. This is not the best method for someone who likes a quick fix.
- Residual : Remains in the soil killing the roots and seeds of weeds. This type of herbicide can be harmful to bulbs, grass, shrubs, and other greenery, and should therefore be used carefully. Residuals are usually used in combination with other herbicides.
Weed Control Fabrics
- Mulch Film : This covering, which can be made/bought in either organic or synthetic materials, covers the soil and blocks sunlight. This prevents weed growth and regulates climate.
- Burlap: An all natural fabric that allows plants and seeds to breathe, while protecting them from soil erosion; burlap also regulates temperature and locks in moisture.
- Landscape Fabric/Shield : Landscape fabrics create a barrier to prevent germinating weed seeds from infiltrating landscaped areas (unless they are paired with other methods, these fabrics are superficial remedies).
- Weed Barriers fact: All weed barriers need to be covered with mulch and last about five years.
- There is much more to laying down fabric than simply punching a few holes, so be sure to research the preparation and maintenance beforehand.
Japanese Knotweed: Two Best Roads to freedom
- Big plastic or poly tarps .
- Herbicide stem injection.
Organic Alternatives to Chemicals
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- Weeds in a Home Garden or Lawn
- Use a knife to cut out dandelions, docks, thistles, daisies, plantains and buttercups.
- Dig out as much of the roots as possible to prevent the weeds from returning.
- Cover bare soil with a mixture of compost and new grass seed.
- Do not step on the grass if it is saturated.
- Composting Weeds
- Annual weeds, garden, and kitchen waste are safe to compost.
- Perennial weeds can be regenerative so it is a good idea to segregate them.
- Perennials can be composted by the following methods:
- Make a separate weed heap for large quantities of perennial weeds.
- Cover the heap with black plastic to prevent light exposure.
- Put weeds into a black plastic bag and, if the contents are dry, add water.
- Tie up the bag loosely and leave for 6-12 months until the contents have decomposed and become compost.
- Non-Chemical Weed Killers