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Weeding the garden goes a long way in keeping things nice and neat in your beds or containers.
But, weeding isn’t just for aesthetics.
In this piece, we discuss everything you need to know about weeding the garden including why it’s so important, the best weeding methods and time to weed and much more.
How Important Is Weeding the Garden?
Regularly weeding impacts much more than the mere appearance of your garden. It also affects such factors as the amount of moisture, nutrients, and sunlight received by your garden plants.
When weeds pop up and go unchecked they are stealing vital essence from the plants you’re growing. If they aren’t dealt with in a timely fashion, the garden plants they’re encroaching upon begin to decline.
To say the very least, having too many weeds in the garden can result in unhealthy struggling plants that provide the poorest of yields.
Keeping the garden weeded is a necessity for those who wish to grow the healthiest and happiest plants possible. Furthermore, properly weeded gardens are so much more enjoyable to look at.
What Types of Weeds Grow in Gardens and How Do I Remove Them?
Depending on what part of the world you live in, and what sort of plants you’re growing, the types of weeds that appear in your garden varies.
The most common garden weeds include:
- Bittercress (also known as hairy bittercress) – Cardamine hirsuta
- Bindweed – Convolvulus arvensis
- Broadleaf Plantain (also known as Greater Plantain) – Plantago major
- Broad-Leaved Dock – Rumex obtusifolius
- Common Daisy – Bellis perennis
- Creeping (Slender) Speedwell – Veronica filiformis
- Common Self-Heal – Prunella vulgaris
- Common Horsetail – Equisetum arvense
- Creeping Buttercup – Ranunculus repens
- Creeping Woodsorrel – Genus Oxalis
- Cat’s Ear – Hypochaeris radicata
- Cleavers (also known as Goosegrass or Stickyweed) – Galium aparine
- Dandelion – Taraxacum officinale
- Ground Elder (also known as Bishop’s Weed or Goutweed) – Aegopodium podagraria
- Groundsel – Senecio vulgaris
- Lesser Celandine – Ficaria verna
- Stinging Nettle – Urtica dioica
- Marestail – Erigeron canadensis
- Milkweed (also known as Petty Spurge) – Genus Euphorbia peplus
- Herb Robert – Geranium robertianum
- Purple Dead-Nettle (also known as red dead-nettle) – Lamium purpureum
- Rosebay Willowherb (also known as Fireweed) – Chamaenerion angustifolium
- St. Benedict’s Herb (also known as Colewort) – Geum urbanum
- White Clover – Trifolium repens
- Red Clover – Trifolium pratense
For the most part, common garden weeds can be broken down into three categories; low, high, and taproot type weeds:
Low weeds and how to remove them
Weeds that grow close to the ground and don’t get very tall are called low weeds. Henbit, plantain, and wild violet are among the most common low weeds found in yards and gardens.
To remove low weeds:
- Find where the main stem of the weed is coming through the soil
- Use your hands and a garden tool to expose the roots of the weed
- Pull directly up on the weed while holding the stem firmly
- Clean up any plant matter left behind (including leaves)
High weeds and how to remove them
Weeds that grow taller than low weeds are known as high weeds. A few of the most common high weeds found in yards and gardens include certain types of thistle, dayflower, and quickweed.
To remove high weeds:
- Locate the bottom of the main
- Use a garden tool to dig under the roots
- Pull up with one hand and continue digging with the other
- Make sure to remove all roots and plant matter possible to prevent regrowth
Taproot weeds and how to remove them
By far the most dreaded among common garden weeds are taproots. Dandelions are a prime example of a taproot weed. Like all taproots, dandelions have a large singular root that shoots much deeper into the ground than most common weeds.
To remove taproot weeds:
- Clear other weeds from around the taproot weed you wish to remove
- Insert a garden tool into the ground beside the taproot weed
- Gently but firmly rock the garden tool back and forth between yourself and the taproot weed
- Use the garden tool and your hands to pop the taproot weed from the ground
- Check the ground for bits of root or plant matter and remove it with the weed
How Many Methods for Weeding the Garden Exist?
There are numerous methods for weeding agriculture fields and gardens. However, many of the large-scale weeding methods aren’t practical for the ordinary yard gardener.
When it comes to weeding commercial-sized crops, powered cultivation using cultivators, burning, using high heat to induce lethal wilting, and pesticides are the goto methods.
In smaller gardens, hand cultivation, with or without hoes, mulch, and herbicides are the norm. That said, if you want to keep your garden organic, chemical control (pesticides and herbicides) isn’t an option.
What Is The Best Time to Weed the Garden?
The best time to weed your garden depends on several factors:
- Weed species
- Time of day
- Time available to you for weeding
- Weeding method used
Generally speaking, taking all of the above into account, there is no one best time to weed the garden.
If you’re an early riser, weeding the garden before the sun gets too hot is a great time to get the job done. Likewise, if the morning isn’t your time to shine, noon is another excellent time to weed the garden.
In fact, many gardeners prefer weeding at noon due to how quickly the sun zaps and dries out the weeds which are being pulled.
After the rain is also a great time to weed your garden due to how soft the soil becomes and how easy the weeds come out.
All things considered, as long as your garden is getting the proper amount of water, the best time to water is whenever you decide it is.
Tips for Weeding the Garden
Once you get the hang of weeding your garden you’ll become more and more efficient at it. But, in the meantime, here are a few tips for weeding your garden:
1. Always remove roots
Completely removing the roots of common weeds is the best way to destroy them for good. When fragments of roots are left behind by gardeners while weeding, there is a high probability that the weed will eventually regenerate itself.
2. Avoid disturbing dormant weed seeds
Weeds that can be removed without digging around in the soil absolutely should be. Furthermore, weeds that require digging should be dug out with the utmost care.
Whenever we dig into our garden we are unearthing dormant weed seeds. These seeds will begin to germinate when disturbed and redistributed into the top couple of inches of soil.
3. Use mulch in your garden
Mulch is one of the greatest aids to gardeners who hate weeding. Not only does mulch help to block out much-needed light from weeds that are trying to develop, but it also traps water in the ground and keeps the roots of your garden plants moist.
In addition, mulch is known to attract numerous beneficial insects like crickets.
4. Use proper tools and technique
Using proper tools and technique goes a long way while weeding the garden. Trowels, forks, and knives are among the most common and beneficial tools wielded by gardeners for weeding.
Knowing how to use each tool, and when to use different weeding methods, will help you avoid copious amounts of unnecessary weeding (or a garden entirely overrun by weeds).
5. When it’s dry, hoe
When the garden’s soil is dry and/or hard, it’s time to break out the hoe and get to whacking. Aim for where the stems of the weeds enter the ground with each strike. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
6. When it’s wet, pull
After a good rain or your regular watering sessions, pulling weeds is easier than ever. Most weeds come out with barely a tug after receiving a decent amount of water.
If you notice weeds that you plan to remove immediately (especially taproots like dandelions), go ahead and hit them with enough water that the soil around them is softer and looser than normal.
5. Plant crops smarter
Believe it or not, simply planting crops in a smart and efficient manner can help to ward off weeds.
By placing plants twenty to thirty percent closer to each other than the regularly recommended spatial distances a much larger portion of the sun’s light is blocked from reach dormant seeds and perennial weeds.
6. Water plants, not weeds
Watering plants is obviously one of the surest ways to make them grow. Unfortunately the same is true for dormant weed seeds and the perennial weed roots lurking beneath the soil in your garden.
Improving your watering technique is one way to cut back on unintentionally watering weeds. Instaling a drip-irrigation system also drastically cuts back on how much water weeds receive.
A Final Word About Weeding Gardens
Gardening is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding ways to get in touch with nature. But, before all those delicious fruits and vegetables are ready, there’s plenty of weeding to take care of.
And, unfortunately, weeding is an aspect of gardening that never goes away completely. Even with grade-a soil, compost, and mulch in your garden, the occasional weed will still appear.
The good thing is that if you love gardening, it’ll take more than a few pesky weeds to discourage you from growing your own food.
Do you have a tip for weeding the garden? We’d love for you to share with our audience, in the comments section below!
Suggested Reading: Easy Organic Pest Control Methods for Gardens
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