Weed control can sometimes be a frustrating effort. This can be particularly true for Atlanta gardeners who benefit from our pro-growth plant environment. There are, however, effective weed control methods that can help the gardener win the battle against the invaders. Some may require purchasing specialized tools, while others are more hands-on. In many cases, controlling weeds starts with what you do in the garden. For example:
- Do not disturb-Weeds are everywhere in the garden, but they only grow if they obtain enough light. Cultivating or digging makes them more visible to light, so you should only dig when necessary. Also, be sure to promptly re-cover the soil with mulch or plants.
- Mulch – A two-inch layer of mulch will help block the light weeds need for growth. The mulch should not be too chunky and should be replenished regularly. More help in preventing light from getting to weeds can be accomplished by laying out landscaping fabric or newspaper and then adding soil and mulch on top.
- Spacing – Keep your plants spaced correctly in your garden. Most nurseries will provide instructions on how far apart plants should be placed so that the individual plants will be barely touching when they reach maturity. Planting them closely will eliminate weed-friendly gaps where light can get through.
- Watering – During dry spells, deprive weeds of water by using soaker or drip hoses placed only near the plants you want to keep watered.
- Weeding – Pulling out weeds by hand or by using a regular dinner fork is most effective after a soaking rain. To get out the deeper roots of dandelions or other tap-rooted weeds, use a fishtail weeder, which is available at any hardware store. This tool should have a permanent place in every gardener’s tool box. In dry weather, use a hoe to chop the tops off weeds just below the soil line. This alone will cause them to weaken and perish.
Other tools that could be useful to gardeners include:
- Garden bandit – This rugged hoop with a handle allows weeding near plants without harming them. It is available for about $15 at home and garden stores.
- Fulcrum weeder – Also known as a ball weeder, this tool has a fork at the tip aided by a wooden ball or steel strap behind the head to provide leverage for pulling tough, fibrous weeds. It can be purchased at home and garden stores for about $10.
- Fid – This is a tapered metal trough with a wooden handle, similar to an apple corer. It allows for the removal of weeds with tubers or tap roots. This Swedish tool is hard to find, but comparable ones are priced at about $20.
- Crack weeder – A curved metal bar with a wooden handle allows you to get to the weeds deposited in between cracks in the sidewalk or the spaces between pavers. It can be found at home and garden stores or online for about $6.
There are plenty of other tools available for more specialized uses. Browse your local garden store and ask the staff to be sure your particular weed problem truly requires the investment in a tool or just an investment in time and muscle. No time for pulling weeds out of your lawn or flowerbeds? Contact our weed experts today for fast, effective solutions to lawn or garden weed problems.