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Weeding Out Those Pesky Plants

 

“A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.” -Doug Larson

“Criticizing another's garden doesn't keep the weeds out of your own” -Proverbial Quote

The speed at which weeds can spread through your lawn and garden is enough to make you run to the nearest gardening store for a heavy-duty herbicide packed with chemicals. But wait! This may seem like a quick-fix at first, but you are only making your lawn or garden weaker over time. Train your lawn and garden to fight weeds on their own, and you will have beautiful plants that are healthy and safe for your children and pets to enjoy. Here are some hints on working with nature to keep weeds at bay:

Planting: When you first draft a plan of your garden or landscape, be sure to grow plants close together. This way they will consume the nutrients, water, and sun that they need, leaving nothing for the weeds to thrive on.

Mulching: Remember, weeds are plants and have the same needs as other plants in order to grow. Mulching keeps light from reaching the weed underneath, which in turn prevents it from producing chlorophyll. The plants that may break through are shallowly rooted and easy to pull out. There are all kinds of materials for mulch. A few ideas:

  • Straw
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves
  • Wood chips

Smart Mowing: Mowing your lawn at a high setting is good for the grass for a number of reasons, including weed control. If the grass is taller than the weeds and their seeds, it shades them from getting sunlight, working in the same way mulch does. And remember: go ahead and be lazy! Don’t worry about raking the grass clippings: instead, leave them where they lay and you will have a layer of composting mulch for more protection.

Corn Gluten Meal: Used as an organic herbicide, Corn Gluten Meal contains natural chemicals called peptides that inhibit root formation at the time of germination. This chemical dries out seeds as soon as they open to sprout. The best time to use Corn Gluten Meal is in early spring and late fall. Another bonus is that it simultaneously nourishes established plants, as it contains 9% nitrogen.

And finally, be patient and persistent. After a few growing seasons, you will get the knack for fighting weeds naturally. Not only will the hard work feel good, but you will enjoy a weed-free garden sooner than you may realize!