You love your garden. The flowers, the colors, maybe you enjoy your subsistence veggies, too—but what happens when your favorite flora gets choked out by domineering weeds?
Many veteran gardeners still reach for that bottle of RoundUp and delight in the death of all things dandelion, but new, gentler methods have been discovered to rid your beds and entire yard of weeds. These methods are predominantly natural and offer a more organic way to [a plant] from unwanted growth.
Natural is Better
We should start by asking ourselves, “What is a weed?”
[a plant] defines a weed as “[a plant] that tends to overgrow or choke out more desirable plants.” This puts the identification of weeds at your discretion, and dealing with them should be highly targeted.
Fortunately for you and your yard, several chemical-free options won’t impact your intentional growth or introduce poisonous compounds to future salad ingredients.
- Cornmeal: Sprinkling the areas directly around weeds with cornmeal can stop the germination of their seeds. This is fairly simple, requires no complicated mixing or applications, and can be effective when used correctly. Remember that corn gluten meal doesn’t discriminate between good and bad seeds. It’s not the best option for fledgling vegetable gardens but does well in established beds.
- Newspaper: If you have old newspapers lying around, you have all the tools to keep your raised and dedicated flower beds weed-free. This method works on the most basic principle—the deprivation of oxygen and sunlight. Once the wanted plants have sprouted, lay the newspaper on weeds and areas where nothing should grow. Wet it down and cover it neatly with mulch. Simple, effective, and a great way to recycle!
- Vinegar: When you hear “desiccation,” you may think about your favorite vampire dramas. The idea is the same when it comes to vinegar and weeds. The acetic acid in 5% vinegar sucks the moisture out of young plants.
You can create a way to target the weeds by removing the bottom of a two-liter or soda bottle and placing it over the desired area. Spray the vinegar directly into this to protect the surrounding plants. Use soap or degreaser on older or waxy plants before applying vinegar to make them more vulnerable to the process.
- Boiling Water: This is a great tactic for those who struggle with pesky driveway weeds or the ones that pop up between the cracks on your walkway. Boil some water and pour it over the weeds you want dead. Using it in isolated areas stops the runoff from killing nearby intentional plants.
Show the Bees Some Love
Don’t be too hasty to kill off dandelions and other pollen sources in the middle of your yard. Bees, the pollinators, and the reason you have a garden in the first place feed off many of these early-blooming weeds. As long as they’re far enough from your home for comfort, these flowers can help dwindling bee populations get a jump start on the season.
Use a combination of these techniques for stubborn weeds and enjoy a garden and yard that’s both beautiful and environmentally friendly!
If all else fails, contact a local [plant] and ask about their chemical-free options.