Your garden is planted; flowers, fruits, and veggies are growing, and you’re watering your plants keeping them healthy and strong. Now it’s time for maintenance. One of the largest tasks besides watering, is tackling those pesky weeds. Controlling and getting rid of weeds is important not only for keeping things neat and orderly, but also to keep your plants from coming under attack from weeds competing for space and nutrients in the soil. Here we share a few tips for keeping weeds out of sight and under control.
1.The best way to tackle weeds is prevent them from growing in the first place. If you don’t have a weed problem yet, put down mulch with a good weed preventer like Preen to keep weeds from popping up. A good time to do this in Iowa is spring, right after the final frost date when you can start expecting warmer temps that will allow things to start growing soon. When using Preen, sprinkle it on the bed after you mulch and water will activate the Preen to create a control barrier that prevents weeds from coming up through your mulch. You can even use Preen without mulch, just be careful to not spread it too close to plant roots and foliage and water immediately or rake it into the soil. If you already have weed issues, try and pull or kill all the weeds you can, then put down a preventer and mulch.
2. Remove weeds by the root. The best way to get rid of weeds is by removing them completely, and this means removing their roots system to prevent them from growing back. The easiest way to do this is to remove them when the soil is wet and loose, and the weed is smaller so its roots aren’t as strong. To get rid of large stubborn weeds, use a trowel or even a fork to dig up the root and remove it completely. If you can’t remove it, get rid of as much of it as possible to prevent seeding and keep removing any new growth till it eventually dies.
3.Use a weed killer if necessary. Sometimes there are just too many weeds to pull. If you have an area without any current desirable growth in it, it may be easier to kill all the weeds and start from there. Weed killers will kill any living plants in the bed. Depending on the weed killing product you use, you may be able to start planting the next day or you might have to wait weeks to months depending on the strength and staying power of the product. Always read labels and directions carefully before spraying any area with a weed killer. And watch your step so as to not track any weed killer from the bed and through your lawn which will killer grass where you step!
Just remember, the easiest way to handle weeds is to work towards preventing them in the first place. Remove and kill the weeds there are, and if able, put down a preventer and/or mulch to help keep weeds from popping up.
A few last tips to keep in mind to make your weeding even safer and easier. It’s often times easier to pull weeds after a good rainfall when the soil is soft and the roots come out more easily. If you don’t want to wait for rain, set up a sprinkler to water your garden and pull weeds immediately after its done. If you’re diving into a weedy jungle, wearing gloves and long sleeves is a good idea to help prevent scratches and irritation that can come from a number of weeds and especially prevent poison ivy or oak. if you do run into some poison ivy, make sure to wash your skin immediately to prevent the oil from spreading on your body and remove and wash any clothing and tools that were in contact with the poisonous plants. Poison Ivy is very common in Iowa and found all of the lower 48 states. Poison Oak and Summac are not officially found in Iowa but are found in some border states so it is possibly to run into it in Iowa.
Lastly, all this work can end up being a real hassle. Not everyone is passionate about gardens and garden maintenance, but we are! If you are interested in having us take care of some of your weeding or other garden and flower bed needs let us know!