It kind of seemed like this wet, weird winter was never going to end, didn’t it? Well, aside from a few potential cold snaps, spring has finally sprung, and we’re as excited as anybody to get out and into our gardens. With trees budding and blossoming and perennials beginning to shoot up from the soil, it’s looking like it’s going to be a beautiful spring.
But there’s one thing about the season that isn’t so lovely. Weeds. Boy are they a lot of work. Try as you might, there is no surefire solution to keeping your yard weed-free. In many instances, you don’t necessarily want to. You might not like the look of milkweed, for example, but this plant is a vital food source for those lovely monarch butterflies we all love to see floating about our yards.
Just because a plant is beneficial doesn’t mean you don’t want to control its spread, however. Many weeds are good for bugs, or edible and nutritious (dandelion greens, for instance) but they can easily overtake some of your preferred garden plants.
This handy list is a great guide to taking care of weeds without harsh, potentially hazardous chemicals. We hope it helps you in your first forays outdoors.
1. The good, old-fashioned hard way.
Manual labor might seem like a chore, but with the right tools (they make a lot of great weeding equipment these days), taking care of those stubborn, deep-rooted weeds can be as simple as poke, twist, and lift.
2. Mulch it!
Mulch not only covers up weeds and prevents them from sprouting, it also provides a ton of benefits to the plants you do want, like helping to trap moisture after watering.
3. Boiling water.
A kettle is the easiest way to say sayonara to those pesky greens that grow in sidewalk cracks.
4. Salt the earth!
Salt is easier to place than boiling water but be careful! If you use too much it might make that patch of yard infertile for some time!
5. Housebreak your plants.
No, not really. Newspaper is a great way to block sunlight and starve weeds. Wet it down, top it with mulch, and now you’re really cooking.
6. Make a driveway salad.
Vinegar, especially when combined with boiling water, will send any and all driveway weeds packing.
7. Go nuclear.
Dish soap, salt, and vinegar combined in a spray bottle will outdo even roundup and the dish soap will help keep the concoction stuck to weeds and not anything else.
8. Kill it with fire!
Weed torches are an increasingly popular option, but don’t use them in dry areas prone to brush fires! You’re not exactly burning the weeds away, but causing their cells to explode from the heat.
9. Be a little corny.
Cornmeal is a surprisingly effective way to prevent plants from germinating. Sprinkle it in weed-prone areas but avoid spots where you’ve planted desirable seeds.