How to Prevent Weeds Appearing in Your Garden

How to Prevent Weeds Appearing in Your Garden

Considering how hard weeds are to remove, surely the best way to treat weeds is to prevent them from appearing in the first place? I mean who really has the time or will go and pull them all out anyway?

For sure don’t, and I imagine you don’t either.

So, to relieve you of those duties I’ve laid out a few weed prevention methods for you to use below. Hopefully you will find them useful.

Take Away All The Grass

Tiller Garden Soil Cultivator/Rotavator Now I don’t mean tear up your entire lawn but when you are making a new garden bed make sure to remove all the existing grass, weeds and roots from the soil.

If you plan on tilling the soil, which is probably a good idea as you can remove other things that could sprout weed growth, then make sure you don’t use high-powered tillers. If the weeds are left underground, they could stay dormant for years so the less you disturb them and your soil, the more likely they will not come of anything.

Use Newspaper and Mulch to Kill Grass and Weeds Naturally

As mulch degrades it improves the soil’s structure and passes on nutrients to it, both of which help combat the growth of weeds. Just make sure you use organic mulch, synthetic does nothing to improve the quality of or help rebuild the soil long term, so avoid using it.

prevent weeds garden

If you want to kill the grass and weeds in your garden naturally, in preparation for a new flower bed, you will need to add mulch by following this process:

  1. Wet layers of newspaper to ensure they don’t blow away when you lie them across your lawn bed.
  2. Pull out all grass, roots and weeds found in your lawn bed.
  3. Spread about 10 layers of your newspaper across the entire area (the sheets need to overlap).
  4. Cover the newspaper with about 10cm of mulch.

The aim of this process is to kill the remaining grass and weeds by blocking out its access to any air and light.

A good organic mulch will also encourage beetles, crickets and other insects that actually eat weed seeds, and this will help you control the problem safely and naturally.

For beds, you could also use a weed barrier fabric/membrane. Lay this cloth down and cut holes where you want to position plants. I have include the best selling weed membrane below.

Last update on 2020-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Although it will not enrich your soil, pebbles, bark and other forms of decorative materials will block the sun and slow the germination of weeds.

Do not Leave Barren Spaces

Large open areas of soil are an invitation to weeds. Prevent this by planting closer together or with the use of ground covers. This will fill up the empty spaces leaving little to no room for weeds to grow.

Water Carefully

Micro-Drip System While your plants need watering when conditions are dry, you do not want to encourage weed growth by giving them water. The most effective way to do this is by using drip irrigation. This will allow you to target the specific plants that need water.

As the water will only penetrate just below the surface it will prevent growth of deep-rooted weed varieties and other nuisance weeds.

Apply a Herbicide

Pre-emergent herbicides are fantastic as they prevent the weeds from germinating without killing any of your plants or grass. The only thing is that it’s difficult to judge when to apply them. Obviously this needs to be applied before the seeds germinate which is very difficult to do because it all happens underground.

There are a few different ways to figure this but from what I’ve experienced the best way is advanced planning.

This is keeping a record of the date when you first notice weeds in your garden and then subtracting three weeks to arrive at a certain date. This date is when you will apply the pre-emergent herbicide the next spring.

I know this will not bring you any benefit right now, but it will save you a lot of time and hassle over the following years.

The top selling herbicide is listed below.

Last update on 2020-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Keep Your Lawn in Shape

As you may have seen me saying in other articles, or maybe you already know this, the absolute best way to prevent weeds from popping up in your lawn is to keep it in the healthiest and best condition possible. This means mowing it regularly, keeping it properly watered, applying fertiliser (organic) when needed, aerating to give the roots access to air and water, and scarifying to remove any layers of thatch/moss.

Keeping the grass at the correct height is critical for lush healthy growth that will reduce the emergence of weeds. The first rule is to try to never cut more than a third of the lawn height in one go.

Different grasses should be mown to different heights so know what grass your lawn is made up of and understand the correct cutting height.

A thick, dense and healthy lawn is a weeds’ worst enemy and carrying out these methods consistently throughout the seasons is the only way you will be able to achieve one yourself.

Repair Any Lawn Damaged Areas

Lawn CareIf your lawn has areas that are suffering and damaged it is important to repair it before weeds have a chance to take over. Depending on the damage, you will need to aerate it, seed it and give it a good watering, if necessary. Mow this area a bit higher for a while and prevent any traffic over the affected areas.

To see a list of my best aerators, scarifiers and rakers with reviews click on the link below.

Best Lawn Scarifier Reviews

If the damage is severe it may be better to lay turf for faster results.

What To Do When You Have Weeds

If unfortunately, weeds are already spreading in your garden, there are still many solutions. You can try Chemical-Free Weed Killing methods, those methods won’t hurt your soil, pets, and children.

Other natural products you can use include citrus juice, alcohol and baking soda. You can also use boiling salted water on paving or the edges of the lawn where you do not want it to spread.

Vinegar also works well but look for one with a higher acetic acid level than the average supermarket vinegar, somewhere around 10 to 20-percent. These methods are best for paving and spot treatment as most will kill plants or grass around them.

Have a Weeding Schedule

Painful as it sounds, getting rid of weeds takes time and effort. Manually removing weeds, if done correctly and regularly, is the safest and most effective way to deal with the problem.  It will probably take more than one season of diligent effort to get weeds under control. This will be an ongoing process, but it will get better over time.

It is easiest to weed after rain as the ground is softer. You can use a small garden fork or even a kitchen fork on small shallow rooted weeds. Those with a deeper root system need to be removed below the soil line with a fishtail weeder. 

Last update on 2020-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Prevent Weeds from Seeding

If time is an issue, the best thing you can do is to remove the seed heads before or as they develop. While this will not kill the weed it will slow down the spread and make the problem easier to deal with.

Dispose of Weeds Correctly

The weeds you remove will invariably have some seeds on them. By not disposing of them correctly you can make the weed problem even worse. They can be disposed of at a garden refuse recycling centre or incinerated.

If you are going to add them to the compost heap, which you can do, you need to make sure it gets very hot and stays that way for some time. This will require careful preparation and regular mixing. You could take small amounts of the compost and place it into plastic bags. Leave these in the sun for a few days to ensure the weeds are completely dead.

Best of luck fighting off the weeds in your garden. I hope these tips will reduce your workload compared to usual, and that overall your workload gets less and less each year.

Also why not head to the EasyLawnMowing website where you will find best garden tools available on the market with full reviews, lots of useful articles and much more….

4 thoughts on “How to Prevent Weeds Appearing in Your Garden

  1. Very interesting! I never thought about all the steps. We use to live in a house where the lawn… well, it wasn’t the best looking. We didn’t pay attention to weeds, or fertilizer. I have no clue there was a syntactic mulch, good to know! Is any specific brand you will recommend for mulch or fertilizer?

    1. To be honest Javier my knowledge of the different fertilisers and their quality isn’t the best, and this is probably different for everyone and the area they live. What I would do is go into your local garden shop and ask the employees for their advice, I’m sure they’ll be more than able to help you out.

  2. Very good article. I have to admit that I learnt a fair bit of new information from it.

    That said, you did make me smile when you wrote, “I just hope these tips give you less work to do than usual.” I know that having a nice lawn is a long term game, but the initial effort seems pretty daunting!

    I think maybe these tips are for when you have a large lawn. Unfortunately, all my lawns have been small and barely worth the effort. But maybe I’ll follow SOME of your tips, because I would like to get rid of the weeds, even if they’re just spoiling a small area.

    1. Yeah I see your point Al and I think I would feel the same way but I’m sure some of my tips will prove useful nonetheless.

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