Feed Your Plants Not Your Weeds
Written by Chris Mendelssohn
Weed Seeds are Everywhere
Did you know that weed seeds are actually all over your landscape? Only those exposed to enough light have a chance to grow into a menacing group of weeds. It is important to keep those seeds hidden from sunlight as much as possible. How? Pull the weeds that you see and cover the empty area back with mulch or soil. For lawns, cut the roots of weeds with a sharp knife instead of pulling, which creates holes in your yard. This will starve those annoying lawn weeds such as dandelions.
Now that you know about the dormant weed seeds, it is important to mulch your landscape. Not only does it provide beauty for your landscape it is a cover for the seeds, it keeps your soil cool and moist. This fosters healthy plant growth by keeping the nutrients it needs from applied fertilizers. It causes water retention which allows you to cut back on irrigation. However mulch can contain weed seeds and isn’t completely weed-growing proof. That is why it is important to mulch often to keep it about 2 inches thick and install tough landscape fabric underneath. This will drastically reduce your weed population.
Pull or Hoe Weeds?
Right after rainfall, it is best to pull weeds and if done regularly this should be easy. The younger the weeds, the easier they are removed. If it is dry, it is best to hoe the weeds and cut as many weed roots as possible. This will make them die quickly and allow you to pull them easily. Remember to fill up the empty spaces with mulch.
If in Doubt, Cut Off Their Heads
For those hard bindweeds, ragweed, poke and other perennial weeds, you can cut off their heads. It reduces reseeding and forces them to use up their own food supply which limits their expansion. It is a short-term solution but worth it to prevent their spread. See our list of common weeds to keep an eye out for them.
Place Plants Close Together
Why do you need to place plants close together? It essentially “suffocates” the weed seeds and prevents them from growing. Follow the recommended spacing instructions for each plant, but you can reduce the amount of space by about 25%.
Use Pre- and Post-Emergent Herbicicdes
Use pre- and post-emergent herbicides to get rid of those hard-to-kill weeds. We suggest pre-emergent pesticides (before the weed seeds germinate) such as BEST® 16-6-8 with Dimension or their Dimensions 270G. For post-emergent pesticides (after weeds germinate), we suggest RoundUp® QuickPro® or ProMax® (caution: they kill both plants and weeds). You can also use One-Shot made by Best. It has the pre-emergent and post-emergent in one bag. You can find these types of pesticides at your local Hydro-Scape. If you have a specific problem with crabgrass in your landscape, check out our article on how to stop crabgrass.
Feed Your Plants not Your Weeds
This is obvious. However now that it is apparent weed seeds are throughout your yard, it is much easier to accidently germinate those seeds. Drip irrigation is one of the best tools against an overgrowth of weeds. Why? It irrigates at the source (plant roots) and not everywhere else where seeds may lie. Another way to feed your plants and not your weeds is utilizing organic soil amendments and fertilizers. For some reason, as it is still yet unknown, weeds tend to decrease when your soil is healthy and well-fed. Check out our selection of organic fertilizers and soil amendments you can add to your landscape or next landscape project. Visit your local Hydro-Scape to get the tools you need to start feeding your plants and not your weeds.