There are diverse classes of weeds such as thistle, dandelions, chickweeds, creeping charlie, and more. Sources of weeds in your garden include manure, topsoil, black dirt, or native pets. When you alter the composition of your garden soil, there you are likely to end up with weeds sprouting.
Some seeds like crabgrass can lay dormant for decades. On the other hand, blackjack could sprout in summer. You will need to identify annual, biannual, and perennial classes of weeds. You will need to manage each weed differently, but there are ideal solutions to adopt. Timely management of the weeds can save your garden as weeds compete for nutrients and water with your plants.
Here are the most effective ways for weed control:
1) Frequent Weeding
Frequent weeding is a conventional method of weed control that is low risk. The assumption is that it does not alter the soil composition, facilitating some dormant seeds to sprout. You can either uproot the weeds by hand or use tools such as the fork, hoe, or the pavement weeder.
You should ensure that you uproot the weed and rake it off the ground for effective weeding. Failure to remove the roots, stems, seeds, or leaves may cause the weed to sprout. Additionally, it is ideal to weed in dry conditions to hasten the withering of uprooted weeds. Also, avoid using the weeds for mulching, because that will merely encourage the weeds to start growing again.
Mulching is the application of straw or any other material on the soil and around your garden plants. Although people have conventionally used mulching to conserve the ground moisture, it can also be a weed control effort. However, the use of mulch can introduce bugs such as beetles and ladybugs to your garden. The straw can also contain weed seeds that exacerbate the problem you are trying to mitigate.
You can nonetheless opt to change your mulch as soon as you notice that the color and volume change. Also, ensure that you get your straw from garden sources such as dried grass rather than a wild area. Alternatively, there are synthetic or wooden mulching such as carpentry chips that you can embrace.
3) Manage the Soil pH
When soil acidity increases, the weeds have a competitive advantage over plants that would have flourished, according to Dr. Abul Hashem, the weed science principal research officer at Western Australian Department of Agriculture and Food. The soil scientist further adds that lower pH of 5.5 (high acidity) increases the weed seed bank in the soil. A lower pH level creates an existential weed problem that could be more expensive to mitigate. The theory behind the assertion is that a high acidity does not necessarily favor the growth of weeds. It, however, limits the available soluble aluminum and other soil nutrients, which stunts the growth of plants. Hence, weeds can access moisture and nutrients and outgrow the plants.
Although there are methods such as adding lime to balance the pH, consulting an agricultural officer can help. However, it is critical to examine the best soil condition for your garden plants to avoid creating hostile plant conditions. Alternatively, you can purchase a pH test kit at your local agrochemicals dealer and test the soil in your garden.
4) Using Pre-Emergent Herbicides
There are two types of pre-emergent herbicides: liquid and granular forms. Each type has its pros and cons, although the liquid solution is the most preferred. To select the most appropriate herbicide, you need to have a specific weed target in mind. Granular herbicides are ideal for small gardens, while liquid herbicides are suitable for large garden patches. Hence, you can treat your garden at the opportune time as the weed sprouts. Most weeds germinate at the onset of summer. If the seasons don’t vary in your growing area, such as in Southern Florida, you can apply the herbicide before planting.
The three common types of pre-emergent herbicides are prodiamine, oxyzaline, and dithiopyr. You can use dithiopyr on invasive grasses and vines. Oxyzaline is for vines such as lilies and foxtail weeds, while prodiamine eliminates invasive grasses like crabgrass and dandelions. You should read the product specification keenly and consult experts to avoid applying an ineffective herbicide. One of the specifications that many people miss is the application of water to make the herbicides integrate with the soil. Failure to moisturize the soil may leave the solution on the periphery of the soil, and weed may sprout. The application should also be even, and the ground should be bare.
5) Water Your Plants on Their Base
When you moisturize bare soil, weed will likely grow to take advantage of the available soluble minerals. Watering the base of the plants on your garden, such as lettuce, creates an artificial drought, which prevents any weed seed residues from germinating.
As you irrigate your plants, you should avoid overwatering, which could lead to the leaching of nutrients. Furthermore, the dry soil particles could absorb the excess water, aiding weeds’ germination. For a simple irrigation management plan, you can consider drip irrigation as it is easier to control.
6) Apply The Right Quantity of Fertilizer at The Appropriate Time
The fertilizer you apply in your garden should contain controlled-release nitrogen such as urea form or sulfur-coated urea. An appropriate fertilizer releases the correct nutrients to your plant leading to optimal growth. Depending on the type of plant, dense foliage blocks sunlight from reaching the ground, preventing weeds from growing. Therefore, you will find out that as your plants mature, the weeds become less.
The key to successful gardening is to apply the fertilizer at the base of the plant or as specified. Application at the initial growth stage is also ideal.
A Good Weed Control Strategy Pays Off
When you routinely prevent weeds, your garden is likely to be free of perennial weeds such as deadnettle and chickweed, because the seeds cannot survive in unfavorable conditions for long. The ideas are not exhaustive; other methods such as fallowing and planting a cover plant can yield good results. If you need more help with your weed control strategy, why not give Cortada Landscape a call today? We can help you come up with the perfect weed control plan for your lawn!