Weeds are simply unwanted vegetation. In fact, every plant can be a weed if it is not wanted. There are many products on the market to fight weeds. We advise using them sparingly and only for spot treatment, where hand management is not suitable. The health risk of herbicides to humans and wildlife isn’t clear. Although most of the chemicals evaporate after a few days, herbicides kill beneficial spores and fungi in the ground, making the soil more susceptible to weeds. Many lawn herbicides are designed to disintegrate in sunlight. When they are tracked into our homes, on shoes or by pets, they persist for a very long time and may have more pronounced negative effects on humans and pets. We recommend the use of herbicides only when other strategies have failed.
Hand weeding is the only way to deal with weeds in a flower bed. The best time to weed is after a good rain. Perennial weeds need to be removed when young, the soil is still soft and the plants easy to pull. Annuals can be weeded later, after growth but before flowering and seeding.
Weeding is an important practice for landscapers who want to offer more sustainable practices. The frequent visits that were necessary for conventional lawn maintenance can be replaced with weed management. Weed management requires more time but can be done less frequently. Landscapers can make economic use of their time when they schedule weeding around wetter days, when the ground is unsuitable for mowing.
Pick Your Battle
You can’t fight them all. Start with the nastiest weeds or the most invasive. Go first for those with the least beneficial value to insects.
Rather than weeding a little here or there, try to eradicate one weed at the time as thoroughly as you possibly can.
Try to appreciate beneficial and less aggressive weeds. Look at them a little differently and you might even start to like them.
The best way to avoid weeds is to plant densely, or use ground covers, so the weeds have no room to develop.
Hot water, burning or horticultural vinegar can be used to clean driveways and hardscape from weeds.
Cover weed-prone areas temporarily with a layer of mulch, or more ideally, compost, which will smother the weeds.
Cut annuals before they develope seeds and pull perennials with persistent roots after rainfall, when the soil is soft.
No Landscape Fabric
Landscape fabric creates a temporary solution which, after a few years, seriously aggravates the original weed problem.