If you have a garden, chances are you will eventually have to deal with weeds. Weeds can take over your garden quickly and can be difficult to get rid of. In this blog post, I will discuss how to clear a garden full of weeds using mainly natural methods.
You will most likely require a combination of weed management methods depending on the area you are tackling, especially if you have different varieties of weeds growing in your garden. The methods suggested below also depend on what is practical for you in terms of time and budget.
Where to start?
If you have a garden full of weeds and are wondering where to start, begin with identifying the type of weed and consider the size of the weed. This will help you determine which management method to use. Weeds that have deep roots, such as dandelion, will need a different method compared to chickweed, which has shallow roots.
If the weeds have shallow roots and occupies only a small area, you may be able to pull it up by hand. Larger, thicker weeds may require machinery and/or hand tools to dig them up.
The best time to eradicate weeds is before they flower and develop seeds. In addition, pulling weeds when they are young is easier than waiting until they are mature. Mature weeds have deeper roots that are harder to remove.
Best way to clear a large area of weeds
Here are ways on how you can clear a garden full of weeds:
- Mowing: A mower is used to cut large areas of grass. There are hand push lawn mowers for suburban gardens and ride-on mowers for sprawling gardens. Mowers are perfect for everyday grass cutting. There are mowers with differently designed cutting mechanisms, so do check around for one that suits your property’s needs.
- Slashing: A slasher is a machine that is also used for grass cutting however slashing is most effective with tall grass, thick weeds, shrubs and saplings. It tends to leave windrows, which have to be raked afterwards.
- Brush cutter: A brush cutter is piece of equipment worn on the body, it can be used to cut tall grass, thick weeds, shrubs and saplings where the mower cannot reach.
- Sheet solarisation: Sheet solarisation is a method that uses the sun’s heat to kill weeds. To do this, you will need to cover the area with a sheet of clear plastic. The heat from the sun will build up under the plastic and kill the weeds. This method works best on hot, sunny days.
- Flame weeding: Flame weeding is a method of weed control that uses heat to kill weeds. It is best suited for small weeds that are growing close to the ground. The flame weeder will need to be close to the ground and moved slowly across the weed bed. To flame weed your garden, you will need to use a flame weeder and protective gear such as goggles and gloves. Always adhere to proper safety precautions when using a flame weeder.
- Hand weeding: Hand-pulling weeds is often the best method for dealing with small numbers of weeds. This can be time-consuming, but it does allow you to target specific weeds and remove them from your garden one at a time.
- Hand tools: There are different hand tools available for weeding. These are useful for individually removing small weeds. There are short handled ones such as the hori hori and weeding fork which are used when close to the ground, or and long handled ones like the Dutch hoe, which are used when standing. There are many hand tools available for different types of weeds, so get one that you can use on the type of weeds you have in your area.
- Herbicides: This should be your very last resort as this can harm beneficial insects. Herbicides are chemicals that kill plants. There are many different types of herbicides, and they vary in their effectiveness against different types of weeds. You will need to read the label carefully to make sure that you are using the right herbicide for your needs. Do follow the directions on the label for best results.
What to do with pulled weeds?
Weeds can re-root easily, so it’s important to make sure that they are completely removed. Once you’ve removed the weeds, dispose of it properly or turn it into a weed tea to feed your garden.
Some common methods for disposing of weeds include burning, pouring hot water over weeds in an area away from your plants and lawn, solarisation in a black plastic bag, hot composting, or throwing them in the trash.
Alternatively, if you would like to repurpose them, you can make a weed tea, even if they contain seeds. Soak the weeds in a bucket of water for a few days and strain it to get the weeds out. Add enough water to cover the weeds. If there are seeds, you can put the weeds in a pillowcase or muslin bag and soak them. Stir the solution every day. After a few days, apply the liquid directly to plants.
If you want it to be more potent, you can cover the bucket and ferment it for 4 weeks until the weeds have started decomposing. Stir it weekly. Be prepared that it will emit a strong smell, so it is best to cover the bucket. When it is ready, dilute the weed tea with water in a 1:10 ratio and water your plants with it.
With these tips, you can clear a garden full of weeds and have a beautiful, weed-free space to enjoy.
Top image by Peter Fazekas. All photos are mine unless indicated otherwise.