When I'm trying to create a nice garden, I don't envision a horde of weeds, like a miniature Amazon jungle, growing wherever and whenever they want. I want to see the flowers that I've planted, perfect in their symmetry, but completely opposite to what mother nature intended!
There's plenty of ways to get rid of weeds. Companies have been producing weed-killer for a long time but I've been seeking a natural alternative lately because I don't want to inadvertently damage my garden, my flowers or my soil.
Here's a list of my favorite methods on how to kill weeds naturally!
Also known as "mulching" – you can place organic matter such as compost, bark or wood chips over the weeds as well as everyday items like a newspaper that will eventually break down into the soil. This is one of my favorite methods if I'm going to be using that patch of land for flowers as the soil fertility will benefit greatly from this.
You could alternatively use a weed barrier. Following the guide in this article can really help when you're trying to kill /prevent weeds in the midst of the rest of your beautiful garden.
Mulching works by denying sunlight to the weeds. The whole plant will eventually die and prevent further seeds from sprouting up.
When mulching, be careful that you don't go overboard. Once you realize the benefits of mulching, it can be all too easy to make "mulch mounds" or "mulch volcanoes", especially when protecting the base of trees.
This will do more harm than good, though and can cause all sorts of problems like disease and too much moisture for trees and bushes.
In general, you should make sure that your mulch is no more than 2"-3" high. If you notice weeds are growing through the mulch, it's ok to add more to cover the weeds. Eventually, you'll find that you've killed off all the underlying weeds and as long as you don't start raking the area, no more weed seeds should sprout in that area.
This short YouTube video will give you an excellent idea of what your finished mulch should look like.
Getting a pot or kettle, filling it full of water and then heating it up until the water boils can provide you with another natural and very effective way of getting rid of weeds.
This is also one method that practically anyone will have immediate access to, and it works surprisingly well at killing plants.
You'll be able to see results almost instantaneously, as you can see in this YouTube video.
You should pour the water carefully and deliberately, making sure you're not pouring out too much water in one go. It only takes a small amount to kill the weed. This will also save you from too many repeated trips back to the kitchen for more water!
It's important to remember that not all roots will be killed, which means the weeds can eventually grow back. If you combine boiling water with a layer of mulch, it's a very potent and natural way of killing and preventing growth in the long term.
My last tip for boiling water is please remember to wear oven gloves or similar safety gear for your hands as boiling water hurts a lot! Also, remember not to wear flip flops or open-toed sandals!
There's plenty of gardeners who swear by alcohol as their preferred weed killer. Not all alcoholic beverages are as good as others for killing plants. Some people believe drinks like beers can promote growth due to the sugar and carbohydrates involved but the science behind it doesn't really add up.
If you have a stash of vodka or some other beverage that has a high percentage of ethanol, however, then this amount of alcohol will certainly kill weeds, as well as any other plants unlucky enough to come into contact with it.
Ethanol in quantities as small as 5% will inhibit plant growth – and it's actually a very useful way of keeping your plants smaller, for longer, so that they keep their aesthetic attractiveness and don't require as much trimming.
The higher the dosage of ethanol you give to plants, the strong the effects are (just like people!) and once you're using a solution with 25% ethanol or more, this is enough to kill plants.
This method requires you to have some large plastic sheets handy. In the simplest terms, you're going to use the power of the sun to make the conditions so hot that the weeds die out. It's a slower method than many of the others, but you can be more accurate and selective as to which parts of your garden you're targeting.
The first thing you'll need to do is to prepare the ground. You'll need the top few inches of ground to be loose and without any obstructions like large rocks in the way.
You can use everyday gardening tools for this step of the method.
Once you've prepared the ground, cover the area you want to solarize with the plastic sheet. A thinner sheet will generate heat faster but is more prone to being torn whereas the opposite is true with thicker sheets.
If your plastic sheet is somewhere around 6mm thick then you're in the right ballpark area.
Over a period of a few months, you can expect the weeds to die, as well as the soil becoming more fertile. This is because solarization speeds up the breakdown of organic material.
Reading this article will help explain the benefits of solarization in detail.
It's still something I do today when there's just a small clump of weeds to get rid of. It's actually a very fast method of getting rid of individual weeds and if you do it the right way then they won't grow back.
Before you rush out to tackle the weeds toe to toe, here are some helpful hints to make the job simpler.
You'll find it's a lot easier to pull the weeds out if the soil is wet so you can either wait for it to rain or water the garden yourself.
Digging around the weed so you can locate its roots is also easier when the ground is wet.
It's a lot easier to get rid of weeds that have infiltrated your flower garden if you remove them by hand, although I wouldn't recommend it for a large garden or if you have a very large weed problem.
If you combine this method with mulching or smothering then you end up with a very effective way of dealing with weeds.
Gardening isn't just about placing plants and watering them. If you truly want a garden to be jealous of, there's a lot of hard work involved and weeding makes up a big chunk of that work!
Finding ways to get rid of weeds that don't involve harmful chemicals is important to me because I want my garden to stay natural and to stay healthy.
Several of the methods I've explained above can also improve the fertility of your soil and help you get the most out of your garden!
If you enjoyed this article let me know in the comments below. You can also spread the word by sharing it online. If you have any other natural ways to get rid of weeds, please let me know!
Hello, I’m Laura Bennett. I love nature especially when it comes to flowers and different kinds of plants. I started a very small garden behind my house and I named it Humid Garden. So, I created this blog to provide aspiring and inspiring thoughts about gardening for gardeners and anyone who has the intention of keeping a garden.