Gardening tips for managing weeds

If you like gardening, you have probably had to deal with some weeds. While there are various ways to get rid of these pesky plants, not all weeding methods are effective.

Audrey Kalil, from North Dakota State University, explained that weeds are extremely efficient at competing for nutrients, sunlight, and water that your plants also require. This efficiency is the major cause of the problems that weeds may spread in your garden or field.

Here are some tips that may help you get rid of weeds:

  1. Make sure your plants are cultivated in the environment that is best for them so they can effectively crowd any weeds that may sprout.
  2. Never let weeds go to seed.
  3. Pull weeds early. Make sure you remove their roots as well to prevent new weeds from sprouting once you’re done weeding. (Related: 5 Natural Ways to Kill Garden Weeds.)
  4. Prevent weed growth using mulches or landscape fabric.

Kalil added that the best way to eliminate weeds in your garden is to learn more about them. Try to identify the weed and read up on their growth habit (e.g. summer vs. winter annual, rhizome or seed reproducing, etc.). Once you’ve established these facts, start creating a management plan so you can eliminate any weeds that can spread in your carefully cultivated lawn or garden.

Natural ways to get rid of weeds

If you’re having trouble with weeds in your yard or homestead, the natural methods listed below might help:

  • Boiling water – Scald weeds with boiling water to prevent them from coming back. Take a kettle off of the stove and use it to pour a stream of water on the crown of each unwanted plant. Do this carefully so you don’t scald yourself. It may take two to three applications of hot water to get rid of tough perennial weeds with long tap roots. Get some hot pads, wear long pants, and put on some close-toed shoes so you don’t hurt yourself.
  • Cornmeal – Sprinkle some corn gluten meal in your garden to prevent weed seeds from germinating. Do take note that corn gluten meal will prevent all seeds from growing. Don’t use cornmeal on your vegetable garden, at least until your plants are established and you’re done planting seeds.
  • Newspaper – You can smother weeds and prevent new ones from growing by covering them with old newspapers. Lay down a thick layer of newspaper to keep sunlight from reaching weed seeds, which will prevent them from sprouting. Before you lay down the newspaper, wet the soil ?rst. Once the newspaper is laid down, wet it again thoroughly before you cover it with mulch. Doing this can even encourage earthworms to stay.
  • Salt – Put a pinch of table salt at the base of each plant to kill weeds. It will kill weeds, and the salt will eventually diluted after it rains several times. Keep in mind that this will make the soil uninhabitable for a couple of months, so only apply a small amount where needed. Don’t get any salt on your grass or other plants.
  • Vinegar – Apply vinegar on weeds using a brush, pump sprayer, or a spray bottle. However, like other natural herbicides, vinegar won’t differentiate between weeds and other plants. Apply vinegar early in the morning since there’s little wind that might contaminate nearby plants. Since vinegar’s killing properties are activated by the sun, spray it on a cloudless day. This will also ensure that rain won’t wash it off before it works.

You can learn more about homesteading and other natural ways to eliminate weeds at

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