8 Tips for Dandelion and Weed Prevention and Control
Dealing with weeds isn’t anyone’s favorite gardening task, but if you take the right steps for prevention, weeds are much easier to control. If you’re taking preventative measures, you should only have to use weed killer in extreme cases. These formulas can be hard on your soil and nearby garden plants, so try natural weed control methods before resorting to heavy-duty strategies.
Here Are a Few Ways to Prevent and Control Weeds Effectively
The best weed killer is proper prevention! Weeds are stubborn, and if you deal with them improperly, you might make the problem worse instead of solving it. These eight tips for weed control will make it easier to tackle those pesky plants so they don’t keep hoarding nutrients from the soil and taking away from your existing plants.
Hand Pull on Rainy Days and Hoe on Dry Days
Pulling by hand is one of the simplest ways to get rid of weeds. If you pull them when the soil is moist, it will be much easier to remove them in one piece. Wait until after a rainfall or a few hours after thoroughly watering the garden. If the soil is bone dry, a hoe will be much more effective at pulling up the entire plant—hoe early in the morning before you’ve watered your plants.
Make Sure You Remove the Entire Root
Many weeds can grow back if just a tiny bit of the root remains in the soil. With dandelions, they can actually split into two separate plants from one little piece of root, so suddenly, you’re dealing with two instead of one! Try your best to keep those long taproots intact while you remove them.
Spread Mulch in the Garden
Mulch helps control weed seeds by covering the soil surface so they won’t have the required sunlight to germinate. It also acts as a natural weed barrier—there won’t be anywhere for them to take root if the soil has chunky bark or wood chips covering it!
Pull Weeds Before They Go to Seed
If you let them spread their seeds, your problem will be considerably worse down the road. Try to remove weeds before they go to seed, and if you find some that have started sprouting seeds, put them in the garbage, not the compost bin.
Use Pre-Emergent Herbicide
Pre-emergent formulas are less harsh than your typical weed killers. Spread them across the lawn in early spring, around the time when you dethatch and aerate your lawn. Preventative formulas will prevent the seeds from germinating, but they will also inhibit the growth of new grass seed, so you should wait a few weeks after applying a pre-emergent to reseed your lawn.
Don’t Cut Your Lawn Too Short
Grass that is cut too short won’t be as healthy or resistant to pests, diseases, and, of course, those dreaded weeds. Don’t cut your grass any shorter than 2.5”—keep it lush and thick so its roots can grow stronger; that way, it will be much harder for invasive plants to spread their roots.
Weed Killer: A Little Goes a Long Way
If you do need to use weed killer, don’t go overboard. Follow the directions on the package, and use it on a dry day with little to no wind. You’ll want to prevent spreading the formula and accidentally damaging any of your surrounding plants.
Know What You’re Dealing With
It will be easier to determine the right method of weed control if you know what kind of plant is plaguing your lawn or garden. While common varieties like dandelions and thistles are easy to spot, some may be unknown to you. If you’re having trouble getting rid of invasive plants in your yard, we encourage you to take a picture on your phone and bring it into the garden center! We’ll be happy to help you identify it and come up with a plan to get rid of it.
Have any questions about weed control in Lehigh Valley? Visit Lehigh Valley Home & Garden, and we can get you set up with all the tools and supplies you need to keep those annoying invasive plants out of your yard.